Back To The Future issue 24 carries on where the last issue left off, with Marty McFly and Professor Marcus Irving having just witnessed the arrest of Marty’s uncle Joey in 1972. Having taken part in the burglary of Doc Brown’s mother’s home, Marty blames himself for the arrest of Joey as he and Professor Irving escape in the back of a hippies van.
This blame forms the main thrust for a lot of this issue, with Marty holding himself responsible for his uncle being arrested; which he knows will ultimately lead to his uncle ending up in prison. What’s interesting about this, is the idea that as events unfold for Marty and Professor Irving in the past, we see that they are directly shaping events in their present. Joey only gets caught because he took the fall for Marty, the stolen painting is missing a piece because Professor Irving tore it.
Whilst in the previous comics, and films, whenever a character went back in time they’d invariably alter the timeline by their presence and then have to try and put things back to normal as best they can, here it appears that they were always meant to be part of events. This is a completely different type of time travel scenario, one that Back To The Future hasn’t explored before.
Would Joey have been arrested if Marty wasn’t there with him? Maybe. Would the painting have been ripped if Professor Irving hadn’t done it? Probably not. Yet, somehow, the characters find themselves unable to entertain the idea that maybe they were supposed to interact with these past events.
When Doc Brown from the present arrives in the DeLorean to take his friends back home these questions fall to the backburner as Marty and Irving discover part of a map on the back of their torn section of painting, a map that will lead to the money that Joey and Biff were after. Returning to the future with this missing piece of the painting Marty and Professor Irving are confronted by Biff and Joey.
There are a lot of moments in the Back To The Future films where characters inability to realise that people they know look exactly like people they met in their past is overlooked for the sake of storytelling, but surely Biff and Joey have to pick up on something strange going on when two people who look like guys from their past turn up with a missing item that was last seen in the possession of these other people. Plus, Joey went to jail for Marty, I’m guessing that’s the kind of memory that sticks out pretty strongly.
How these events will play out in the coming issues is anyone’s guess, and whether or not Marty is able to somehow go back again and stop his uncle from going to prison, this is sure to be a memorable conclusion to the story arc.
Back to the Future #24 is now available through IDW Publishing.