Back in 1989, when no one knew that four of George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words would someday be seen on cable TV all the time and the other three would make regular appearances on HBO and Showtime, before Keanu Reeves had ever thought about being Neo in The Matrix, there was a little film called Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. To put it mildly, it was insane. Two teenagers in a terrible garage band called Wyld Stallyns wound up traveling through time and space to (wait for it) put together a history report. Because if they didn’t pass their history report, the future of the world was at stake. Of course it was. As I remember it, the movie was a hit. It certainly became a favorite at every slumber party I went to through middle and high school because seriously, how could you not like a movie that called “Socrates” “So-Crates”?. Predictably, there was a sequel, but I only ever saw bits and pieces of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. Until today, I never really regretted that.
But today, ladies and gents, I read Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return from BOOM! Studios, and there were enough characters in it that I didn’t know that I was saddened by the poor life choices I had made that kept me separated from Bogus Journey. Oh, I knew Rufus of course (and had a fair number of George Carlin feels seeing him represented so faithfully on the pages of this comic), and I even caught the references to Death and Station because of the number of times I had flipped past Bogus Journey on one channel or another over the years. But there were other characters that I didn’t know, like Robot Bill & Ted. Or De Nomolos. And suddenly I was right down the nostalgia rabbit hole, which I suspect has been BOOM!s intent all along with their 80s movie series comics like Escape From New York and Big Trouble in Little China. Love the movie, love the comic, right?
In the case of Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return, that’s exactly right. I remembered why I liked these two lovable losers who become the leaders of our futures in the first place. They’re hapless, but entertaining. They’re bumbling, but they mean well. And they always manage to work the time stream in their favor, which is mind-boggling and always fun. With two different stories in this issue and two different styles, the respective artistic teams have managed to capture the exuberance of the films on paper. The art and colors of both comics feel like some of the cartoons you might catch on Saturday mornings in the 80s and 90s, although “The Bogus Virus” has a less polished, rougher feel to it (not a criticism, just a stylistic observation). The writing for both stories is fun and light; I look forward to seeing where the main story arc is going and appreciate the spam email joke that’s the center of the “Bogus Virus” strip. That’s where both stories succeed, by the way. In the end, it doesn’t matter if you’ve seen all the movies, or even if you’re old enough to remember the 80s and Valley dudes. There’s something about Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan that welcomes everyone, friend and stranger alike. BOOM! Studios has given the Wyld Stallyns a most triumphant return, indeed. I’m giving this one 4 out of 5 Lightning Bolts.
BILL & TED’S MOST TRIUMPHANT RETURN #1
Writer: Bryan Lynch
Pencils: Jerry Gaylord
Inks: Jerry & Penelope Gaylord
Colors: Whitney Cogar
Letterers: Jim Campbell
Bill & Ted and the Bogus Virus Writer: Ryan North
Bill & Ted and the Bogus Virus Illustrator: Ian McGinty
Bill & Ted and the Bogus Virus Colors & Letters: Fred Stressing
Cover Artists: Felipe Smith, Rob Guillory, Goni Montes, Trevor Hairsine & Jordan Boyd, Chuck BB, Joe Eisma, Braden Lamb
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: March 11, 2015