Lifetime reader of comics and fan of Planet of the Apes. When the two combine I can barely contain myself. Image, Boom and Titan comics fight for shelf space with Doctor Who DVDs.
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The final issue of Bill And Ted Go To Hell from Boom Studios! lands this week and our contributor, Darryll Robson, takes a look inside.
After last month’s jaw dropping cliff hanger, how are San Dimas’ coolest dudes going to set the heavens and the Earth back to rights?
On the steps to God’s throne, currently occupied by the power mad Napoleon, Bill and Ted’s existences are being threatened by the adult versions of their own sons. During the aging process Napoleon has bred hatred into the two boys so that all they can think about when faced with their fathers is “kill, kill, kill”. Any hope of standing up to Gods replacement is lost when they realise that Napoleon not only has the throne but also the powers of God.
It’s time to turn tail and run some more.
Elsewhere in Heaven, the rest of the time travelling companions are also running. Running from their own nightmares. Abraham Lincoln and Station make it back to the remains of the Phone Booth at the same time as John Wilkes Booth turns up to recreate history but this time with a flaming sword. Lincoln steps up for a fight while the many parts of Station go to work rebuilding the time travelling machine.
Billy, Genghis, Joan and the real De Nomolos are slowly been overrun by their fears and nightmares. In fact the only two who seem to have the upper hand are the extraordinary princesses Elizabeth and Joanna. Throughout their adventures they’ve learnt to stand up for them themselves and not get pushed around. So, when faced with the two potential medieval husbands, they fight back without a thought for losing. This means that when Lincoln and Rufus turn up to rescue them, their help isn’t needed, the wannabe husbands have already been beaten.
In turn each of the magnificent historical characters face down their fears and discover who they are, deep down. This is the very definition of character development.
Meanwhile Bill and Ted still have to stand against their kin and defeat Napoleon. However, because they are who they are, they don’t resort to violence instead they appeal to the better nature of their foes. They pull on the heart strings of their wayward children. They let love conquer all. It sounds twee and schmaltzy but it works.
And finally, Death gets to challenge Napoleon to a winner takes all contest. It may be obvious who is going to win but with a comic like Bill and Ted, it’s less about what actually happens and more about the way in which it happens.
All live happily ever after (except Napoleon) and the Wyld Stallyns family get to rock for another day.
Compared to the previous Bill and Ted comic, the ending for this miniseries is amazing. It has everything that you could want from a Bill and Ted story. It’s fast paced, ridiculous in places and is soaked in over the top sentimentality. Perfect for a final issue of a feel good comic.
There are no boundaries broken with the narrative because, as mentioned above, the outcome was obvious from the beginning. However the brilliance is in the story telling not necessarily the story itself. What Brian Joines does so well in these pages is drive the narrative by the characters. What happens is going to happen but how it happens is lyrical and emotionally exciting. The Princesses standing up for themselves and not needing rescuing is a welcome change to the usual heroine in distress cliché. And De Nomolos accepting his new found happiness and using that to fight against his fears; what a brilliant moment.
From the start of this mini-series Joines has focused the narrative on character. Each of the time travellers has their moment in the lime light and the story feeds their growth. Joines must really love the Grim reaper because this is the one character who soaks up the page count and has the longest road to travel. It’s a well-rounded, thoughtful representation of the character.
Bachan continues to portray the cast of characters with energy and emotion. He smoothly shifts the reader’s attention between action scenes and sentimentalism so that the comic flows effortlessly. Despite the speech heavy scenes there are no moments in the comic that the reader feels weighed down by exposition. This is partly down to the choses that Bachan makes when filling the panels. Complex, busy panels are saved for action scenes while the speech heavy panels are simplified as much as possible.
This series has been a joy to read and the ending is exactly what the readers will expect and want. Bill and Ted may hail from the late 80’s but their adventures are timeless and full of optimism which is in short supply these days.
Darryll Robson is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Occasionally he might use his Twitter account: @DarryllRobson
A nostalgic blast from the past with a feel good factor that will melt the coldest of hearts. Entertainment through and through.