Collecting together the first 12 issues of the Back To The Future comic book series Back To The Future: The Heavy Collection tells a sprawling tale that fills in some of the gaps from the films that you weren’t even aware were there.
The book mainly follows Doc Brown in 1893 after the events of Back To The Future 3 after Marty is sent back to the future, but before Doc and his family develop the Time Train. Whilst Doc works on building the Time Train he tells his sons stories about his adventures in the future, giving the readers a series on ‘one-shot’ type stories with a loose connected narrative.
They give a lot of background detail to both the Doc and Marty, showing us how they first met, how the Doc got the Delorean, and Doc’s journey to develop time travel during the decades. Whilst the stories involving Marty and his parents are interesting enough, the best of these shorter stories is the one where Doc Brown has the US government visit him asking him to develop time travel for them in order to prevent the Cuban Missile crisis. It’s fun to see the Doc put into a difficult situation like this, where he comes to realise the bigger impact that his developing time travel could have on the world. It’s interesting to see Doc Brown trying to figure out how to make the technology work and the missteps along the way, especially as he is doing so knowing that he will one day succeed because of his encounter with Marty in the 1950s.
However, the book really picks up once the Doc tries to make the maiden voyage in the Time Train, where the story drops the ‘one-shot’ model for a more traditional comic book adventure where the Doc ends up travelling all across the future in an effort to find the parts he needs to finalise the train.
This particular story acts as both a gap filler for events we’ve already seen, taking place for the Doc before the last scene of Back To The Future 3, and a sequel for Marty and Jennifer as it takes place after the film for them. This is part of the beauty of the Back To The Future comic series, it goes out of the way to explain things like how Doc Brown was able to get the hover tech for the Time Train, when did he have the opportunity to collect Einstein, and what was powering his time machine. The story answers all of these questions, yet never feels like it’s ticking things off a list just to fill in gaps; it comes naturally and feels like a series of events that would actually happen to the characters.
READ MORE: Life Is Strange #1 – Comic Review
Most of this comes from the fact that the stories are all co-written by Bob Gale, one of the original creators of the Back To The Future films. A lot of comics based on film franchises are written by fans who love the movies, yet they often feel more like fan fiction than a continuation of the source material. But this is never the case with the Back To The Future books. They fit the franchise perfectly because they’re written by the person who wrote them back in the day. They’re a companion piece, a continuation, and a celebration of the Back To The Future films all in one.