Back to the Future: Tales from the Time Train #1

Writers: Bob Gale & John Barber
Artist: Megan Levens
Colorist: Charlie Kirchoff
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Publisher: IDW Publishing

Review by Greg Brothers

IDW Publishing has become known for all the different properties that they have come to own. With many of those franchises, they have created series that either expand on or tell original stories. I am an enthusiastic fan of the original Back to the Future. The second and the third part of the franchise were okay, but they did not have the same magic that the original did. Over the years I have tried various Back to the Future comics, all with varying degrees of enjoyment.

Back to the Future: Tales from the Time Train #1 starts with Emmett and Clara Brown in an alternative version of the future. As it turns out, while they are in the future, they are actually at a place that gives virtual tours of the future so that you can escape things like the Butterfly effect. After a bit of a mishap, the family goes to visit their old friend Marty McFly. From there, it is off to the original planned location. It is here that we are reminded just how unpredictable time travel can be.

For being a first issue, there is a lot of stuff that is going on here that feels unnecessary. It reminds me of one of those Simpsons episodes where the first 10 minutes are spent focusing on something that have nothing to do with the main plot. The trip to the fake future and the visit to Marty in 1986 seem to have nothing to do with the end of the first issue. In addition to that, there are several references to series that I have never read. Those references, while being enjoyable to someone who has followed every Back to the Future comic, becomes a roadblock for new readers.

The art is simple, and it’s easy to recognize the various characters that are represented. While the art is passable, there is nothing exciting about it. The future that is envisioned has a very steampunk vibe to it, which, while looking nice, is very predictable. The panel layout is also extremely basic with little movement from one panel to the other.

Verdict: Skip it.

I have to say that I was just bored reading Back to the Future: Tales from the Time Train #1. The storytelling was uninspired and did nothing to hook the reader. By the time the reveal at the end of the issue arrives, I was so disconnected I just wanted the book to end. Do not waste your money, and let’s hope that the next series will be one that is worth your time and money.

Gregory Brothers
Ohio born and raised. Avid comicbook fan who is always trying to find time to get through my ever growing read pile. When not working on that I Teach, coach youth sports, and cheer on my hometown Cincinnati teams, and Buckeyes. Can also be heard talking comics and pop-culture on The Comics Agenda Podcast.

Leave a Reply