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Launching a title from an existing property can be a tricky thing. The creator has to play to our nostalgia for the characters and the world they inhabit, but also has to face that our affection for the title could create insurmountable expectations. The very nostalgia that draws us in can be destroyed by the slightest thing.
Writing Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return, Brian Lynch recognizes this and keeps the tone faithful to the movies, with much of the dialogue feeling like it could have been spoken by Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter. Whitney Cogar’s colors help his enormously, making the comic feel it came straight out in the early nineties.
Hooking straight into that nostalgia, the story picks up seconds after Bogus Journey ended, with Wyld Stallyns having just accepted an over-sized check for winning the Battle of the Bands. With De Nomolos (the villain of the film) being taken back to the future to face justice, Bill and Ted’s elation is short lived as they realize they must now follow their most excellent first song with a truly righteous second (nicely mirroring the challenge faced by the comic’s creative team).
Reassurance from Rufus that they will, indeed, be the great band they’re destined to be does little to give them confidence or guidance, so it’s back into the time travelling telephone booth and they jump to the future to get some tips on what their second song should sound like. It’s this jump into the future that sets the story in motion for subsequent issues, and it looks like Lynch is going to have some fun messing with Back to the Future parallels and further riffing on our nostalgia.
A second story, Bill & Ted and the Bogus Virus, is illustrated in a more playful style by Ian McGinty, not only differentiates the story but, with the characters looking like Lil’ Bill and Lil’ Ted, neatly placing it as back story to the main story. When the robot Bill & Ted open something from the future called an ’email’ from a distant robo-relative in Nigeria and are infected with a virus, they travel forward to 2015 in search of someone with the technical skills to fix them. They don’t find someone, but they do find Erica who nicely offsets the boy’s naive optimism with modern sensibilities, as well as helping the robots.
Bill & Ted sets us up for what looks to be a fun ride through time and early 90’s references. This is one of those titles that could have so easily jumped the shark, but the creators have been most excellent to us and delivered a comic that’s fun, faithful and in no way bogus.
‘Bill & Ted’s Triumphant Return #1’ earns 7 / 10.