What can be said about Back to the Future that hasn’t been said for the past thirty years? Yes, it’s a great family favorite that has surpassed its life expectancy and is still as entertaining today as it was thirty years ago and yes, we still love the sequels! Did we get our hoverboards and holographic Michael Jacksons as promised in the BttF sequel? Well, sort of. But you know what we didn’t get that I’m sure all franchise fans have been hankering for? An answer to how in the world big bully Biff became such a world-dominating powerhouse just by betting on a few horses. Wait, you never wondered, you just assumed there was thirty years of alternate plotline between 1955 and 1985 that just wasn’t important enough to get its own movie? Why am I asking so many hypothetical questions instead of getting to the damn point? Because life is chaos and nothing matters! But also, thanks to IDW Comics, there is an answer to what Biff has been up to in those three decades and it’s a whole lot of no good. A fun romp into the backwoods of the main storyline, readers can finally have a main character they don’t want to root for yet still can’t help but want to see succeed.
Biff to the Future starts up in the middle of Back to the Future 2 when the 2015 Biff lands sixty years in the past with an (oddly thin) sports guide that boasts all the winning scores for every sports event ever since the fifties. Young Biff, in classic Biff manner, scoffs at the old man and his golden book, but is soon put in his place when it’s proved that it really does tell sports outcomes. Here, the story breaks away from the movie and we are introduced to Young Biff’s life, including his bitter little grandma that he has been living with. Forced to drive the woman around as she gambles her Sunday away, Biff decides to give his luck a turn by betting on some football games and wouldn’t you know, the book was correct again. Little does he know that a grifter has been watching him from the shadows who has some nefarious plans of his own and he won’t let anything stand in his way. But then again, he’s never met a match like Biff before. When these two meet, blood will be spilled.
One of the interesting things about Biff to the Future is that there is no attempt to make Biff sympathetic. Even after seeing his life with his grandmother and that he’s a twice failed high school senior, he’s, well, still an asshole. If it’s a missed opportunity by the authors to humanize Biff or a deliberate choice to remind the audience that he’s still a bag of dicks is up for debate, but it definitely a very accurate representation of how he was remembered in the movies. He’s still that bully that tortured the McFly family for three generations but now we get to see how far he would go to get what he wants. He even keeps calling everyone a butthead, classic Biff! Speaking of butthead, there are plenty of cute throwbacks to the trilogy in the comic book, such as the manure jokes and how much his family hate it and his perchance to yell Marty’s mom’s name two times when speaking to her. Though there aren’t enough mis-remembered insults to really drive the vision home, it’s still pretty solid. Writers Bob Gale and Derek Fridolfs seem really committed to bringing the classic feel of the movies to the comic and come off as actual fans instead of writers forced to write a script (of course, it helps that Gale is an original script writer).
Alan Robinson’s art is much like the writing, well researched and really portraying the feel of the source material. He captured Biff’s habits perfectly, right down to his cocky grin and habit of grabbing people by the neck when talking to them. The side characters blend seamlessly into the fifties-inspired backgrounds and provide great opportunities for some back and forth with Biff. If you ever felt like Biff wasn’t hated enough when played by Thomas F. Wilson, you can be sure to hate him even more with Robinson wielding the pen.
With Biff to the Future #1 on stands now, you, yes you, can now have the opportunity to see how our great future leader Biff started from humble origins and with a series of smart investments and smarter bets, has managed to become our glorious, full-haired trailblazer of 1980’s America! Just don’t expect to respect him for it.