Back to the Future: How Needles Got Here (#12) – John Barber, Bob Gale

3 out of 5
“We don’t deserve a…”

That’s a very flattering quote, and, along with getting interested in John Barber’s writing as of late, it’s part of why I decided to check the series out.

Twelve issues on and we’re still flaunting that quote – I first see it on issue 8 – and while, as stated, it’s pretty dern flattering, it also suggests something equally grabbing (or just grabbing) hasn’t been offered since.  Definitive proof?  Of course not.  My entire life is lazy conjecture.  Dot dot dot, hence I am always right.

Anyhow, I have no particular love for the BttF series beyond enjoying it; I had no need for the DVD / bluray releases when they happened, and you could quote the movie and it would go over my head.  That is to say: I don’t think nostalgia would be a factor in getting me going on this, and I wonder if that particular factor was what, in part, motivated that quote.  And now that that’s worn off…

Last arc had Barber and Gale stepping out into truly fresh territory with an original time travel tale.  And it was okay.  Maybe a little short, conceptually, but a worthwhile fun expansion to the time travel hijinks.  Before setting off on the next, likely tonally similar, arc, it makes sense to do another nostalgia backfill, and thus: An issue focused on Needles.  The history here is that Needles is essentially another antagonist in the franchise, though functioning more as an annoyance than the roadblock status of Biff.  And that’s how Barber and Gale have framed him in the comic as well: as an annoyance.

We flash back to high school days and learn that Needles was always this way, or at least from when Marty met him and onward, and we get a pretty humorous tour of how quickly  Doug Needles will turn on anyone (e.g. Marty) in order to avoid looking bad.  But that’s about it.  There’s a split second of character work to mention a divorce… but its quickly paved over so we can make sure to continue being annoyed by Needles and not sympathize with him.

Emma Vieceli’s art gets the job done, with sort of an Archie comics perfunctory nature to it: Cleary framed, capture your dialogue and move on.  The colors (Jose Luis Rio) are very bright and cheery, though, which keeps the pages from looking drab.

So all in all: Another harmless, time-passing (hyuck) story.