Having grown up in the late ’90s, Bill and Ted was a kind of rite of passage as far as understanding what creative filmmaking can be. Take a ridiculous set of main characters, both of which would usually be stupid sidekicks in movies, and make them time travel, go to Hell, and meet aliens in Heaven who can help them save the world. The new, and likely final, movie is hit and miss for some, but it brings nostalgic vibes I think many can connect with. That extends to this new comic book prequel, Bill and Ted Are Doomed, and it connects to youth in more ways than one.
This isn’t the first Bill and Ted comic, and likely won’t be the last, because the characters are so easy to enjoy. Two smiling dudes who want to hang out, play guitar and go on adventures — what’s not to love? Artist Roger Langridge and writer Evan Dorkin have crafted a nearly perfect easy-going and light Bill and Ted story this week. Langridge’s art is very clean, bright, and warm. The look will appeal to readers young and old. There is a lot of content in this book with the characters going on lots of mini-adventures having to, for example, grab some fried chicken or throw a quick gig together to see if they have a big fanbase. Langridge makes it all look appealing, captures the fun of every character on the page, and keeps the story moving nicely.
I suspect kids will love its fun and cartoony nature while adults who grew up with the movies will love the movie-accurate look of the characters. It’s quite cool to see the stripped-down look to the characters in Langridge’s style that still maintains the personality of Station to Death himself.
The narrative fits accurately as a prequel to the new movie, too. There are clear references that lead to the third film like Death being obsessed with long bass solos as well as the main characters’ inability to craft the song to save Earth. I suspect things will get a lot more interesting given the cliffhanger, but as a first issue, it sets all the pieces in motion for Bill and Ted’s first big attempt to save the Earth with the perfect song.
The biggest appeal is likely the welcome return of characters. This book was a fun time, but not one I found laugh-out-loud funny or addictively compelling. For a laid back romp, it’s just fine, but I wasn’t bowled over either. Not every comic has to be an all-out thrill ride, but I was expecting a bit more from the book than it offered. Your mileage may vary, especially if you’re a huge fan of the series.
Bill and Ted Are Doomed is a perfectly fun, bubbly, and visually endearing Bill and Ted comic. Superfans will need it, fans of the movies will respect how accurate it is to the source material and how it ties into the narrative, but if you’re not already a fan of the series, you can pass on this one. I’m holding out on reading more though since the story in second issues can make a series totally excellent.