Boom! continues its streak of lost and forgotten property adaptations with this week’s “Bill and Ted’s Most Triumphant Return” #1. Fans of the original material will be happy to see and hear how closely Brian Lynch hews to the characters in the films. The plot, taking place moments after “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey,” is an instant reminder of everything that came before it, though it wanders a little. Though the effort is there, the comic book has very little in the way of introduction for anyone unfamiliar with the original films, as the script operates on the assumption that the reader has already seen them both and understands the world. It’s an odd choice for a comic sequel being released 24 years after the previous installment.
Lynch definitely understands the characters in this series and has an affinity for the material. Bill and Ted both sound like the kind-hearted valley goofs they were as portrayed by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves. The script addresses the pressure of how to follow up one’s own unexpectedly large success. Bill and Ted are now the founding elements of a future utopia based on Wyld Stallyn’s worldwide broadcast, achieving far beyond their original desires of having a sweet rock band. It creates a pressure to replicate that success that Bill and Ted have a hard time embracing. It’s an interesting question, where one goes after success, and Lynch has fun poking the characters with their dilemma. He works quickly to get them from the end of the films and into the plot here, kicking the mission statement of the miniseries into gear by end of the issue. The dialogue is fun and appropriately goofy with characters delivering full-on plot points in a tongue-in-cheek manner.
The lead characters’ obliviousness is a highlight and the art from Jerry and Penelope Gaylord is cartoony and light. The Gaylords keep the characters close to the original models while still giving themselves some artistic license, and the unlimited visual budget of the medium allows them the chance to dig into some entertaining visual gags. It suits the script well and has great energy, reminiscent of the “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures” cartoon series. Ryan North and Ian McGinty provide a short backup story where the duo take their robot counterparts to a future that more closely resembles our own in an attempt to remove an email virus from the robots sent to the past to try to destroy the pair. It’s a brief backup story that has fun with the idea that Bill and Ted, as a franchise, have been out of the limelight long enough that they wouldn’t really comprehend a lot of the technology that today’s audience takes totally for granted.
Everything in the book is fun and light but it’s a bit confusing as to who, exactly, is the audience for the material. Fans of the stories will be able to dive right in, though — with Boom!’s status as a smaller publisher — they may not even realize it exists. New readers would have a bit of a learning curve in these pages as the script hits the ground running, not taking a whole lot of time to introduce readers to the world. The first few pages of the comic have an enormous cast of characters running around from wildly different backgrounds and could make for an overwhelming experience. With that aside, “Bill and Ted’s Most Triumphant Return” is quite a bit of fun and should continue to be for the remaining issues in the series.