Who would have thought that Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Theodore “Ted” Logan would still be partying hard as characters into the 21st century? Two films with a third potentially on the way, one forgotten-but-worth-it cartoon, three bodacious comic series and now a fourth most excellent outing!
Bill & Ted as a franchise has been going strong in comics since the Eisner Award-winning Marvel Comics ’90s continuation of the duo’s Bogus Journey from Evan Dorkin, yet BOOM! Studios has not let the quality drop in that time. From their most triumphant return to them going to hell, Bill and Ted have had the grandest adventures through time but now comes their greatest trek throughout the stars.
During the 5th anniversary party of their history paper that changed the future, Bill, Ted and Rufus are kidnapped by the total alien babe, Sheena, and reunited with…THEIR MOMS?! Yeah, apparently while their kids were traveling through time in a phone booth — which may in fact be as outdated as a police call box at this point — their moms were bombing around the galaxy being badasses.
That whole plot, in addition to them exploring the universe rather than the timelines is the real buying point for this trade. In their films and the comics, we have seen great romps with Bill and Ted using their metal-stoner zen to carry them through, their fathers’ have been fairly established fixtures in their lives but there has been very little mentioning of their moms, not including Bill’s stepmom who I think has less than a dozen lines throughout the entirety of the franchise before being ousted. So them not only showing up, but actually exploring and being a dynamic duo like their kids is just brilliant to read without losing any of the hilarity that a heartfelt reunion could potentially squash.
Brian Joines has a natural knack for comedy, given his other work like 7 Guys of Justice or Krampus!, and this is his second Bill & Ted story so there’s no doubt he captures the tone very well. Something common that happens in a lot of scripts where there’s a heavy amount of non-contemporary dialogue, be it in a Victorian setting where there’s a ton of “wut wut, old chap!” or the outdated slang of yesteryear — oh god, does that make this a period piece?!- – it gets overused and a bit suspect on how its used, like a freshman who just learned what a thesaurus was. Here, however, Joines really captures the voice of the characters, being able to drop an “egregious” into what would otherwise be a standard “duuude” sort of line that just makes the whole thing click into being brilliant fun.
On the art side of things, Bachan pairs well with the bombastic pace and comedic stylings with an animated look that calls back to the Bill & Ted cartoon. Now having said that, Bachan also keeps the characters grounded in reality outside of the wild times to best convey the expression and emotion of a scene. All of that works even more with the vibrant colors by Alex Guimaraes. When traveling through space in sometimes flat locales, the brightness works with a sharp, and often times stunning, contrast.
Are there some downsides? Yes. As stated at the beginning, this is yet another story on the stack of exploits from Bill & Ted meaning that the reveal of their moms can fail to resonate with newcomers to the folds. That isn’t to say that the story is not reader-friendly since it never gets buried in their past exploits except as a basic setup for the anniversary party at the very beginning. Similarly, the humor and dialogue could be off-putting if you’re not into the whole airhead-stoner-rocker genre — yeah, it’s a genre! This and the Wayne’s World movies – but again, it’s not hammered into the ground so it isn’t too bad to not allow it to grow on any fresh audiences.
With all that said, this is a fun roller coaster of a title that really lives up to the easy-to-make “most excellent” turn of phrase!
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