We’re now in a position where all the films in the franchise take place entirely in the past. The last installment came out in 1989, yet fans have constantly demanded more. Luckily for us, Bob Gale and IDW have teamed up to give us a four issue mini-series set in the world of Hill Valley.
Bob Gale has been very outspoken about not returning to the franchise, as he explains in a note at the end of issue #1, he felt that anything more would just be repetitious, so he decided that the only way to expand on the universe would be to not focus on time travel. Instead, he opted to reveal more about the characters we fell in love with, all those years ago.
The Back to the Future comic is essentially the Untold Tales that fill in the narrative gaps from the films. The stories are set before and/or during the trilogy.
Issue #1 takes place after Marty leaves 1885, but before Doc takes his family to see him. Whilst building his time travel train, Doc explains to Clara and the kids, how he and Marty first met.
Doc and Marty first met, in 1982-three years prior to the events in the first film.
The issue is a lot of fun, as it riffs on the familiar tropes we saw throughout the trilogy. Writer John Barber is clearly a fan. Brent Schoonover’s pencilling is very cartoonish and basic, but it all works so well.
In The Troop a team with super powers rises from a nightmare parade of violence, with memorable action sequences and flashes of sexual activity along the way.
Author Noel Clarke was part of the the main cast of Doctor Who’s 2005 return to television. Since then he’s written an episode of Torchwood and a couple of independent films, all of which show his knack for dark material. He told the Hollywood Reporter that he wanted to push boundaries with this comic. Where he does that is in his depiction of real life abusive human behaviour, which exists in the backgrounds that these super-humans come from. The Troop are not so much a fearless team of super heroes as a damaged pile of kids united by a shady character who comes off as a bit of a creep.
We’re in an early period for digital comics as they differentiate themselves from the heavy lines and solid fills of the past. In this book, artist Joseph Cassara paints with loads of photographic colour and texture. In one panel he simulates shallow depth-of-field, where the background has those discs you get from expensive cameras when points of light in the background are blurred.
It can be a little noisy but structure does win out over chaos, particularly in the action sequences. Movement in illustration is tied to the way shapes strike across the page and Cassara works this well. In a rainy forest chase he does this by putting his virtual camera high in the trees and in another, he grabs a snapshot from a flying belt’s hang time before a dangerous dad brings it down.
Issue 1 of The Troop is a bit of a contest between abuse violence and revenge violence but Noel Clarke is setting up something that is intentionally not shiny. This is a tale where everything soft is burnt away – that can lend the truly poignant bits great impact later on. Now it’s up to Clarke and Cassara to deliver on the promise shown so far.
Listen to our interview with Noel Clarke here.
Issue #1 is out 9th December 2015
Next month sees the relase of the ‘All-New, All-Different’ Amazing Spider-Man #1, below is a preview. Click on the images to enlarge.
A few months ago Marvel teased that Native American heroe Red Wolf, would be returning for his own range of comic. Today, they announced that is indeed true.
Nathan Edmondson will be writing the series, with Dalibor Talajić on art duties and Jeffrey Veregge will be doing covers.
Veregge said this about the comic:
“There’s not a character like Red Wolf out there right now. As a Native, I’m really excited to see that he can do things, he can figure out things and stand with Captain America, and hold his own in this universe. That’s what’s awesome about it: You have all these characters of different nationalities and ethnicities, but it’s not all about their culture. It’s about them being a hero.”
Red Wolf was introduced in 1970 as William Talltrees, in Avengers #80. He was the first Native American character in comic history.
BBC Books have announced details of a new Doctor Who book released next month. I have to say, I’m very intrigued.
The Time Lord Letters is a unique collection of over one hundred letters, notes, and jottings both by and to the Doctor – correspondence by turns entertaining and inspiring, funny and flippant, brilliant and incredible.
From the Doctor’s plea to the Time Lords to help end the War Games to an extract from the written defence he submitted at his subsequent trial; from his application for the post of Caretaker at Coal Hill School to his apology to the Queen for missing dinner; from telepathic messages to the High Council on Gallifrey to his famous letter to Santa Claus – like the Doctor himself, the mood can change in an instant.
The Time Lord Letters captures the best and most dramatic moments of an impossible life. You’ll never see the Doctor in quite the same way again.
Doctor Who: Time Lord Letters is out Sept 24, 2015 and costs £20.00.