It picks up literally five seconds after the ending of the film, which was the San Dimas Battle of the Bands. The plot checks in with Bill, Ted, and the various supporting cast members of Bogus Journey, including the Princesses, Death, Infant Bill and Ted, and many more.
Sadly, Bill and Ted can’t record a follow-up to their first big song, and then time traveling shenanigans ensue. Bill and Ted #1 is written by Brian Lynch (Angel After the Fall) with art from Jerry and Penelope Gaylord (Loki: Ragnarok and Roll) and colors by Whitney Cogar (Bravest Warriors). There is also a six page backup story by Ryan North (Adventure Time) and Ian McGinty (Bravest Warriors).
If you haven’t seen the Bill and Ted movies, can you follow what’s happening in this comic?
First, I have a confession. From the reports of others (and the Tomatometer), I heard not the best things about Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey and unfortunately haven’t seen it. Unfortunately, Bill and Ted #1 builds heavily on events and characters from this film, and this is where most of the initial plot and jokes come from.
However, writer Brian Lynch does get some things right, like Bill and Ted’s unique speech pattern and framing the story in the series’ familiar tropes that are time travel and rock music. He doesn’t overuse “excellent”, “dude”, or “bogus” and just makes them speak with the duo’s mix of complex and stupid word use. However, some of the references and in-jokes about the side-character will be lost on people who haven’t seen Bogus Journey, especially as far as their antagonist
So, the characters sound like Bill and Ted, but they do look like them?
For the most part, the art and colors redeem the slow-starting, in joke heavy start of this comic. (Once, the time travel and guest cameos happen, the story does pick up.) Jerry and Penelope Gaylord give each character a specific look and keep the group shots (especially towards the beginning) uncluttered with plenty of room for Lynch’s mix of jokes and exposition.
Whitney Cogar uses a real potpourri of colors to show Bill and Ted’s wacky, chaotic rock-star lifestyle. She brightens the color in the future as the Gaylords also take the characters down memory lane with a twist. And they also add a nice bit of image-based humor as different characters start to adopt Bill and Ted’s look and mannerisms.
How is the backup story?
I would argue that Ryan North and Ian McGinty’s six page backup feature is superior to the main story. It’s a done-in-one story with a lot of Internet and computer related humor as well as jokes at Bill and Ted’s expense. (There are no Bogus Journey characters in sight.)
Using little things like body and mouth movement, Ian McGinty adapts his animation-inspired art style to a comic based on a live action film. This style is actually a plus when it comes to the robotic and computer aspects of the comic. North and McGinty pile on the verbal and visual gags and even introduce a snarky, modern character who isn’t amused by Bill and Ted’s antics.
Should I get this comic?
If you’re a huge Bill and Ted fan, have actually seen Bogus Journey, and have been praying to Neo for a third film, knock yourself out. However, paying full price for a good six page comic and an okay eighteen page one might not be in everyone’s best interests, and it might be a better use of your time/money to wait for the trade and see how the future plotline plays out.