Luke Owen reviews Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return #1…
Following the time-traveling historic epic of Excellent Adventure and the turbulent life and death of Bogus Journey, Bill and Ted must now fulfill their destiny as the inspiration for galactic harmony! How can someone hate the Wyld Stallyns as much as the evil Chuck De Nomolos? With the power of time travel, Bill and Ted set their sights on turning a young 27th-century Nomolos’ non-non-heinous attitude into something most outstanding and metal!
Greetings, my most excellent readers! This most-bodacious comic book based around the totally-excellent duo of Bill & Ted is a must-read for fans of their most-non-heinous work. It totally captures the spirit of the excellent Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and its not-overly-bogus sequel Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, though it’s not a total home run, dude. Written by word-dude Brian Lynch and art-dude Jerry Gaylord with inks and colours by babes Penelope Gaylord and Whitney Cogar, Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return is not 100% triumphant, but it’s certainly not non-non-non-non-non-bogus.
With the news that Bill & Ted 3 might be closer than we think (according to original star Alex Winter, anyway), it seems like a good time to dust off the ol’ air guitar and bring Bill & Ted out of retirement for another run around. The duo have a lasting appeal due to their good nature and excellent verbiage and there is enough in their character and story to allow for more tales to be told. Boom! Studios did this recently with Big Trouble in Little China and Planet of the Apes and it worked out rather well, but does Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return cut the mustard?
In some ways, yes. The story follows on from the epic events of the San Dimas Battle of the Bands were Wyld Stallyns beat acts like Primus with their hit song God Gave Rock and Roll To You (which sounded a lot like KISS) and Bill & Ted now have the pressure of writing a follow up track. The second song is always the hardest and our excellent duo now know the true meaning of this. But rather than try to work out for themselves what they want to write, they use The Booth to get them into the future to find out first hand what their second, third and fourth songs were about.
It’s an interesting concept and is not too dissimilar to what Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves have told us Bill & Ted 3 will be about should the film ever get made. It allows for some good Bill & Ted humour, it gives us an excuse to travel through time and it plays into their characters perfectly. Sure, they went through time to learn how to play guitar – but they never learned how to write songs. And why? Because their a couple of dingbats. It’s perfect storytelling. This first issue also contains some good nods to the previous movies which is fun for the fans, but they’re not shoved down your throat like Marvel’s new Star Wars comics.
However while the story is good, Brian Lynch’s script isn’t always on point. When reading the comic, you of course hear the voices of Winters and Reeves (as well as George Carlin and Martian twins Station) through the dialogue, but it feels more like someone doing a Bill & Ted impersonation. If you thought my opening paragraph was overly forced in trying to imitate the speaking-style of Bill & Ted, then you get the idea. It’s not bad and could have been a heck of a lot worse, but it’s forced and unnatural. Ironically, the short comic story attached to it, Ryan North’s Bill & Ted and the Bogus Virus, completely nails the characters dialogue perfectly. In fact, while the main comic is great, the short attached is better in many ways.
But you shouldn’t read this as a negative review, not at all. A lot of comics based around popular franchises from the 1980s (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters etc.) can often get bogged down with fan service and miss out on the important factor: the story. Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return doesn’t ignore this and for that reason, it’s totally excellent. The artwork from Jerry Gaylord is great fun and you’ll have so much fun reading it, you’ll wish that Bill & Ted 3 is even closer to being a reality than it already is.
In short, Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return is non-non-non-non-non-non-non-heinous.
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.