Hello, my friends. As we prepare to make our own unique journeys towards a better future, there’s still one piece of the past that I must presently take care of before I join the masses for a rocking good time. With a legacy franchise putting out another mini-series, I’ve decided to close out 2021 by reviewing this “non-heinous” tale called…
Published from September to December 2020, this four-issue story about the rocking boys of San Dimas was written by Evan Dorkin. He’s very familiar with the property since I mentioned him during my three-part Bill & Ted comics retrospective as the guy who wrote 11 out of the 12 overall issues of Marvel’s “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Comic Book”. Joining him for this outing is artist & letterer Roger Langridge, while franchise co-creator Ed Solomon was brought in as a consultant. So, what kind of venture did our prophesized musical saviors of the future find themselves in after their “Bogus Journey”, but before they were ultimately forced to “Face The Music”? Let’s tune up and rock out.
We open in the year 2700 as Rufus arrives via Time Booth to meet up with “The Three Most Important People In The World”. They tell him of “some ominous news from the past” and that it involves Bill & Ted. Following a quick recap of the first two films (with some altered details, more on that later), they then say that despite both of those past ventures ending on a positive note, they sadly admit how “time has a tendency to slip away from us”. Rufus is then escorted by a group of scientists as Professor Quavermass informs him that they haven’t yet nailed down the particular event that’s causing this new hiccup with the overall time stream. From there, he gets presented with their invention called the Little Turntable, which acts as their “vital-phone recording system” and scans throughout the entire space-time continuum. Quavermass then says that the machine should help them figure out how severe the problem should be before she theorizes that this may have something to do with the one song that Bill & Ted ultimately use to unite both the world & all of reality. Despite their current situation, Rufus says that he’s confident that our familiar dudes will ultimately come up with the song.
We then head over to San Dimas in the year 2000 as Bill & Ted are struggling to write their prophesized & unifying song. After all, it’s been nine years since they won the Battle of the Bands contest and despite the fame that came with it, they still haven’t been able to come up with their destined song. From there, they’re met upon by their wives Joanna & Elizabeth, as well as their daughters Thea & Billie, due to them hearing them shouting. Bill & Ted assure them that they’re simply frustrated that they haven’t been able to come up with any ideas for their song, to which Elizabeth says that they deserve a break since they’ve been working for two days. As she opens a window to let some fresh air in, the wind then blows away the stack of crumpled paper (which contained their unsuccessful song lyrics) to reveal Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted. After Bill & Ted help their robotic counterparts up, they then tells their wives that they’re in need of some more paper and “oversized black squeaky markers”. Elizabeth starts to mention how they need to talk about their financial state, but Bill & Ted say that they’re aware and they apologize for being too distracted with trying to create their prophesized song. Suddenly, they hear a loud noise coming from their garage. As they head over to find out what’s going on, Station suddenly flies out, hits the house wall and splits into two smaller versions of himself. They’re soon met upon by Thea & Billie and learn that he’s been having his own “experimental setback” before they help him out. Bill & Ted then let Station know that he’ll be able to complete whatever he’s currently working.
Later, the Prestons, the Logans, Robo-Bill, Robo-Ted and Station meet up with the Grim Reaper who’s been working on his daring bass solo. However, Bill and company remind him that they didn’t approve of said action as they all overwhelmingly vote against it. Death complains how everyone else in the band gets to have a solo before Joanna & Elizabeth remind him that he already has his own bass solo. However, he complains that it’s too short before Ted tells him that he can’t have one that’s insanely long. He and Bill then mention how they’re unable to maintain this conversation, since they have to work on their “fateful song”. However, Joanna reminds them that they’re supposed to pick up some food for dinner. As such, the guys decide to get some chicken over at Cluck-E-Chick, with the Grim Reaper even willing to go with them. After they place their massive order, they arrive at the pick-up window and ask the cashier what his favorite band is. He mentions several others, even when Bill tries to limit the geography towards a local setting. When Preston asks him about Wyld Stallyns, the cashier says that they were initially OK, but he doesn’t think too highly of them nowadays, which disheartens Bill, Ted & Death.
Later, the whole family has their dinner as Elizabeth tries to cheer our guys up on the fact that the cashier knew their band’s name, at the very least. From there, she finally lets them know that they must lay off these kind of food orders for a while due to their financial situation. Bill & Ted remind their wives that they won $25,000 from the Battle of the Bands contest and that despite some hurdles with their record company, they still made some money from their first album. However, Joanna & Elizabeth inform them that they’ve already blown through that money and that they’re currently in debt. Even though they tried to tell their husbands about it, they were far too pre-occupied with creating their prophesized song. Not only that, but it’s been way too long since they’ve played at a single concert or even made a decent hit song. From there, Thea & Billie catch a news program on TV and manage to attract their parents’ attention towards it. In the newscast, the reporter mentions that it’s been five years since Wyld Stallyns performed their last concert at the Grand Canyon. Since then, their last two singles barely made any dent in the music charts and there hasn’t been any new shows from them. With this shocking realization, Bill & Ted decide to bring the band out of their semi-hiatus. Eventually, they manage to get a venue to perform at, despite it only being half-full. Bill & Ted decide to open the concert by playing a song that they’ve hardly made progress on and immediately expect the audience to applaud them for it, but the crowd remains silent before the Grim Reaper decides to play a long bass solo. Ultimately, the concert turns into a bust as the band gets booed off the stage.
Later on at home, Ted reveals that he and Bill managed to make $40 from some bottle returns, but Joanna essentially tells them that it’s not going to help them too much. Fortunately, Bill & Ted tell their wives that they’ll turn things around for the better before they each proceed to kiss each other. Meanwhile, Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted see this from the backyard before they wander off. Robo-Bill then mentions how they’re feeling empty within, to which Robo-Ted agrees in that unlike their human counterparts, they don’t have anyone to have a meaningful relationship with. As such, the two robotic buddies decide that they’ll get some “robot babes”.
Following a quick scene where the two Stations observe the star-filled nighttime sky from the roof (while also getting a little depressed), we then shift over to Joanna & Elizabeth as they look over their overwhelming number of bills. They do briefly consider using the Time Booth in order to return to their original time period, but they decide against it since they’ve gotten used to all of the various things that they’ve enjoyed about the modern age. Suddenly, they’re approached by Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted who inform them that Station has disappeared. Afterwards, the Grim Reaper comes in as he’s berated by Thea & Billie. Thea explains that they beat him in Mario Tennis and thus, they want to him to carry out his promise and bring back Kurt Cobain from the dead. However, Death says that he’s restricted by the resurrection policy, since he’s already in enough trouble with his “boss”. Ultimately, Bill & Ted defuse the harrowing situations with an announcement. Because the citizens of San Dimas has gotten too used to them and would rather see other forms of local attractions, they’ve decided that Wyld Stallyns will be embarking on a world tour, much to the shock of their family. Back with the two Stations, they have another experimental failure in the garage. Out in space however, several pings and pongs are reverberating through the cosmos. Not only that, but Issue 1 ends with all of this getting picked up in 2700 by the Little Turntable as Professor Quavermass is shocked by this turn of events.
Issue 2 begins one week later as Quavermass presents Rufus with a second turntable that she and her team have built. As the machine begins to operate, her assistant informs her that it’s already receiving a massive influx of prior data. Just as he’s about to describe what else they’re receiving, the whole team gets rocked by an energetic explosion. Rufus asks Professor Quavermass what that was, to which she says that she hopes that it’s not a “blast from the past”, specifically something that our main dudes have done to gravely affect their own timeline. Back in the present, Bill & Ted lay out their World Tour plans to their family, specifically the European side of things. However, their Medieval wives aren’t too happy as Elizabeth says that they were supposed to book this tour together and that their men informed them that they were busy working on their prophesized song. Bill & Ted explain that they hope to get the much-needed inspiration for said song while they’re on their musical travels. When the Grim Reaper asks them how much this tour will cost them, Bill assures him that they carefully planned it all out before Ted mentions that their wives informed them about their finances being in “arrears”, to which our main men burst out in laughter over its pronunciation. Afterwards, they then tell Joanna and Elizabeth that this was their way of proving that they could handle this kind of crisis by themselves, since they’re eternally grateful for them not just as wives & mothers, but as bandmates as well. They then assures their lovely ladies that as long as they stick together, they’ll ultimately create their destined song as they proceed to share an embrace. Later, the band has completely packed up their music equipment and are ready for their tour. Unfortunately, they’re unable to bring Thea & Billie along with them as Bill & Ted mention that they’ll be left under the watchful eyes of Police Capt. Jonathan Logan and his wife Missy. From there, they climb into their van, wave good-bye to their robot selves & the two Stations and proceed to head out towards the airport. Shortly afterwards, Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted thank the two Stations for reattaching their hands. From there, they ask for a favor. They mention how unlike their human counterparts, they don’t have special mates to call their own. As such, they express their desire for the creation of some “most excellent robot wives”. Thankfully, the two Stations agree and Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted celebrate with a literally explosive high-five.
Following a series of connecting international flights, the band finally arrives at England where they get picked up by their tour driver named Zahir. He escorts them to his mini-bus, where the wives are concerned about its condition. Zahir assures the band that despite its shape, it’s still holding up fairly well, especially when he demonstrates its condition by kicking one of its tires. From there, everyone hopes in and drives off, unaware that a hubcap had finally fallen off. Zahir then asks the band where their hotel is, but Bill says they don’t have a reservation and that their first concert is tonight. Death and the wives are shocked by this revelation, especially since they haven’t remotely recovered from their jetlag. Ted says that it was the only place and time that they could get, to which Bill adds onto the fact that they all slept on their flight.
Later that night, Wyld Stallyns’ concert is mere minutes from beginning over at the Swan Song Theatre. Unfortunately, Bill & Ted are suffering from severe jetlag. After the Grim Reaper wakes them up, the band proceed to make their way to the stage for their performance. However, Preston & Logan are still exhausted as their constant yawning spreads onto their bandmates before it reaches the audience and they get booed off the stage as a result. Later, they rest up at a hostel while Joanna & Elizabeth provide some medical attention towards their husbands due to them getting pelted by the patrons’ numerous bottles. Bill then wonders why their popularity has dwindled over the years, to which the wives say that he and Ted have been stressing themselves so hard over trying to create their prophesized song that they haven’t been working on making regular songs for their band.
Following their chat, we shift to the next morning as the band and Zahir are having breakfast at a diner. They then catch a newscast for an upcoming European event called the Freezing Norseman Festival, to which Bill mentions that they’re their going to perform there. Back in the newscast, the reporter talks about the heavy metal band that’s going to headline the event: Vile Empire. The band’s front man named Vile Emperor a.k.a. “His Darkness Horribleness” then talks about the kind of metal music that his group specializes in, specifically “Evil Metal”, before he waves off the criticism that’s befallen upon the group. Following the newscast, the band hits the road again to continue their tour. Unfortunately, every single concert ends in some form of failure with the group getting pelted with various kinds of alcoholic containers and getting booed off the stage. Later, they’re on the road again as Ted expresses how this whole ordeal has made him less inspired to create their prophesized song. Even when Elizabeth tries to cheer him up by saying that they’ve been getting assaulted by fewer thrown bottles, Bill mentions that it’s due to them getting smaller crowds within lesser-populated areas. Zahir then tells the group to stay positive, since they’re still going to perform at the Freezing Norseman Festival. Despite the emotional upswing, it’s eventually cut down when the mini bus breaks down within the mountains. While the guys try to fix the vehicle, Elizabeth wonders why this music festival is located in the middle of a freezing landscape, to which Joanna says that it’s most likely “a metal thing” that’s done out of Penance before she wishes that they were back in their own home. Back in San Dimas, we have a quick scene where the two Stations have created robot versions of Elizabeth and Joanna for Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted before ending this moment with another explosive high five that the mechanized ladies love.
Back with Wyld Stallyns, they’ve fixed the mini van, but have found themselves lost within the mountains due to Zahir accidentally losing the map while attempting to catch some snowflakes on his tongue. Joanna then looks at her watch and notices that they’re supposed to go on very soon, but the band thankfully arrives at the festival. As the stage hand guides the group towards the main stage, they’re met upon by Vile Empire as Vile Emperor expresses his disapproval towards them. Eventually, the group takes the stage as Bill & Ted tries to get the crowd exited for their upcoming performance. However, the audience isn’t exactly thrilled before Vile Emperor crashes the would-be performance and accuses our main men for being a representation of “False Metal”. From there, Issue 2 ends with him convincing the crowd that they must right this perceived wrong and execute Bill & Ted.
Issue 3 opens sometime later in 2700 as Rufus, Professor Quavermass, her assistants and “The Three Most Important People In The World” observe Bill & Ted across various outcomes. Rufus explains that they’re currently receiving not just from their own past, but from various points in “time, space and other dimensions”, all of which seem to show the rocking duo failing to complete their prophesized mission. After Quavermass says that it’ll take a long time for them to make a bigger turntable in order for them to make complete sense out of everything they’re collecting, Rufus then says that it’s possible that our main men will have written their destined song by then. From there, we shift back to the present as Bill & Ted find themselves in lethal danger from not only the band Vile Empire, but the entire crowd of heavy metal fans. From there, the group’s front man Vile Emperor demands to know who booked Wyld Stallyns for this music festival, right before his bandmates present him with the stage hand who did so. He explains that he had to find a replacement after another group called Goatstrangler was arrested for pilfering tires. Not only that, but Wyld Stallyns called him and that he automatically thought that they were a heavy metal band because of the Grim Reaper’s look. After the guy gets thrown into the crowd, Bill & Ted call out “His Darkness Horribleness” for his action before they address the patrons in the fact that they came here to unite them in their music. However, this doesn’t affect them at all as Vile Emperor tells his fellow bandmate named Hellpounder (a.k.a. Kevin) to attack Wyld Stallyns. From there, our main group is forced to run for their lives.
Death manages to fend off some of the opposing patrons, but Hellpounder catches up and grabs him before throwing him onto Bill & Ted. As Kevin and a few rabid heavy metal fans bare down on them, Zahir provides a timely save as he drives into the muscular fiend before the group climbs in and drives off. However, Vile Emperor, his bandmates & a couple of rabid heavy metal fans manage to reach several snowmobiles and follow after them. A chase ensues as the opposing fiends are rapidly gaining on our bodacious music group. As they approach the main gate, Zahir gets a crazy idea and rams into a supporting post, causing the structure to collapse and even slow down the opposing metal heads. However, our main group is unable to escape as they reach a mountainous incline and the mini-bus is weighed down too much for them to properly flee. With Vile Empire & the vicious fans recovering and resuming their pursuit, Zahir says that they have to lighten their load. As such, Bill & Ted make the hard call and dump out the band’s musical instruments. Despite their efforts, the opposing group and their rabid followers are closing in on them. Bill & Ted realize what must be done as they grab the Grim Reaper and jump out of the mini-van, allowing Zahir and their wives to finally escape. Afterwards, our three dudes are then forced to run for their lives.
Back in San Dimas, Thea & Billie are hanging out at the Logan household as they observe the main room while talking about how unlikely it seems that their fellow relatives will believe the otherworldly adventures that their fathers went on. From there, they decide to play some video games while also watching TV. Suddenly, they receive a newscast about the ruckus that’s gone down at the Freezing Norseman Festival. As such, Thea & Billie agree that they must head home in order to receive some proper help. Back at their house, the two Stations have recently created a pair of robotic children for Robo-Bill, Robo-Ted & their mechanized wives. Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted then try to ask for one last favor in the creation of their own houses, but the exhausted Stations can’t take it anymore as they flee into their private lab.
Back with Bill, Ted & Death, they continue to be chased by Vile Empire and their fans. As the Grim Reaper blames our two dudes for getting them into this situation in the first place, he suddenly trips over them as they fall down the mountainside in a certain way that they form a giant snowball onto themselves. As they roll their way towards their escape, Bill asks Death if he’s able to transport him and Ted out of this predicament. However, the Grim Reaper says that he doesn’t have access to his regular “reaping powers”, due to him taking a temporary leave of his duties in order to be on this concert tour with them. As they try to pass the time with a guessing game, they suddenly notice that the giant snowball that they’re in has stopped spinning, even though they still feel some momentum. It turns out that they’ve rolled off a cliff as they proceed to land in the middle of a town.
Back in San Dimas, Thea & Billie manage to reach their home as they dash into the garage and discover Robo-Bill, Robo-Ted, their robot wives and their robot children trying to reach the two Stations. Thea & Billie then proceed to tell their inventive allies that their parents are in trouble and that they need their help. With all of their robot counterparts adding onto the fact that they were built to help Bill & Ted in the first place, Thea & Billie then say that even though they ask a lot from their otherworldly inventor, they don’t know what else they can do. From there, the two Stations emerge from their private lab, walk outside and proceed to run into each other as they merge together to become the fully-unified & fully-reenergized Station.
Back with Bill & Ted, they manage to recover from their recent ordeal as they discover that the village they find themselves in is the home to “the future empire of Evil Metal”. After the Grim Reaper also gets back onto his feet, Bill & Ted admit that they’re too exhausted to try and flee this small patch of snow-covered land. Thankfully, they discover that they landed into the town’s gift shop as Ted comes up with the idea of them hiding “in plain sight”. Later, Vile Empire and their rabid fans arrive in the village as Vile Emperor vents his anger towards the mayhem that’s been caused due to Wyld Stallyns’ presence. Afterwards, his fellow bandmate named “Red Empress Unholy Abyssmal” says that even though there’s no sign of the opposing group’s footprints, their targets couldn’t have gotten far. As such, Vile Emperor tells everyone to split up in order to expand their search. Unbeknownst to everyone, Bill, Ted & Death were standing amongst them while wearing Heavy Metal clothing and makeup. In order to blend in, Bill then says that they must “think evil thoughts”. However, he and Ted discuss how it’s hard for them to act that way since they’re “too righteous”. Thankfully, Ted remembers the evil robots that Chuck De Nomolos sent after them from their “Bogus Journey”. As such, they decide to act like their evil & mechanized doppelgangers and despite their goofy acts, they don’t attract a whole bunch of unnecessary attention. Just as Bill says that they should leave, Ted says that they should warm up by the fire first. However, it turns out to be a sacrificial bonfire where dummy versions of Bill, Ted and the Grim Reaper are being burned at the stake. Death then flips out when one of those rabid fans describes him as “a discount Halloween store Grim Reaper”, while also chastising his bass solo. Bill & Ted get their otherworldly friend under control as they attempt to escape, but Issue 3 ends with them being confronted by Hellpounder and another Vile Empire bandmate named Magnús Ver Múrderrsonn.
Issue 4 begins over in San Dimas as Thea & Billie catch a newscast about how several bands have gone missing during the Freezing Norseman Festival. During this, Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted have been gathering appliances in order to help Station create his newest project. With the entire robot family helping him out, Thea & Billie wonder what Station is building while they hold out hope that it ultimately works. Back with the disguised Bill, Ted & Death, they’re informed by Magnús that every single fan must report to the main stage for a vital announcement. From there, Vile Emperor announces that he and his group will be moving up their planned moment called the Walpurgis Event, where they will debut their new concept album as well as “utterly destroy” their enemies. He then introduces three bands that’re part of their “Supergroup of Evil”: Mercyless Fate, Necronomiclown and a band whose name is “terribly convoluted and twisted”. Vile Emperor then says that they plan on using this event to summon “the ancient gods and giants of the frozen wasteland” before he comically tells his fans to act enthusiastic since this moment will be recorded onto their two-disc live album. From there, Vile Empire prepares to begin their ritual as Vile Emperor wishes for Bill, Ted and anyone else who practices “False Metal” to burn in Hell. Preston & Logan then decide to interject with the fact that they’ve personally been there and that it’s not entirely bad. However, this ends up blowing their cover as they and the Grim Reaper are brought up on stage in order to get sacrificed for the ritual. Meanwhile, Zahir, Joanna and Elizabeth have been driving around for an exhausting amount of time. Thankfully, they spot a town in the distance and proceed to head towards it. Meanwhile, Vile Empire has been performing their concert/ritual for a lengthy amount of time.
Back in San Dimas, Thea & Billie are woken up by the two Stations as they present the girls with their new house-shaped inventions. From there, Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted say their goodbyes to them before they board the buildings with their robot families and the two Stations before they blast off on their rescue mission. Back with Bill & Ted, they comment about how despite it’ll ultimately end with them getting axed off, they’re still impressed with Vile Empire’s performance. Afterwards, they get a sudden chill as they feeling something “wicked” is approaching.
Over on the stage, Vile Emperor calls upon the “great ones of the frozen realm” to rise up. Just then, a trio of giant trolls stomp in. However, they weren’t summoned by the band, but they were woken up by their loud performance. Vile Emperor then says that he & his bandmates were trying to summon frost giants and that Bill, Ted & the Grim Reaper are their enemies. Unfortunately, the giant trolls only sees all of them as ingredients for a hearty stew. As such, they begin their attack as everyone attempts to flee for their lives. Our main men and Vile Empire make a mad dash towards the snowmobiles before they fight over who gets to use them. However, the vehicles get smashed by the trolls’ hammer (which is named Big Boy, by the way) as Bill, Ted & Death are about to meet their untimely demise from the massive sledge. Suddenly, a snow cat comes in and ram into the troll as Elizabeth, Joanna and Zahir arrive with a timely save. However, the massive being recovers and grabs the vehicle, causing all of three of them to bail.
From there, they rejoin our main men and attempt to run away from the pursuing troll as Joanna gives the Grim Reaper his scythe. Just as Death explains that these massive beings came from beneath the surface, the group is suddenly met upon by a chainsaw-wielding Magnús, a pair of cloak-wearing followers and a goat. With Wyld Stallyns and Zahir completely surrounded by the two opposing parties, all seems lost for them. Suddenly, they hear a rumbling noise as the two house rockets fly in and land. Shortly after the two Stations step out and reunite with our main group, they then proceed to demonstrate an added feature as their newly-made vehicles proceed to transform into gigantic robots as Bill & Ted notice that they’re operated by their robotic selves, as well as their families. From there, they proceed to fight the massive trolls.
After they easily get smacked around, one of the trolls named Yngwie proceeds to ordee a fellow comrade to summon the rest of their weapon-wielding kin. Bill, Ted & the Grim Reaper then get the idea of retaliating with an avalanche. As such, the two Stations hook up the massive speakers that they manage to amplify as well while the band get their musical instruments ready. With everyone is position, they proceed to jam out a powerful rocking sound that proceeds to take out the opposing trolls with a relentless amount of snow, while the few remaining ones are forced to retreat. However, they’re then met upon by Vile Empire who wish to finish our group off themselves. Thankfully, Death steps in and slams his scythe into the ground, causing a massive fissure to open up as the opposing band falls into it and wind up in Hell. In an ironic bit of fate, Satan himself declares “Death To False Mettle” and pulls a switch, causing Vile Empire to plummet into their “personal nightmare”, consisting of several versions of Bill & Ted playing their version of rock for all eternity. Back on the surface level, the two Stations and both robot families take their leave. With their main venture behind them, Bill & Ted decide that they’ll cancel the rest of their tour before they climb into a snow cat with the rest of the bandmates and Zahir. They then express their newfound confidence of everything working out and that one day, they’ll finally take the destined song that they feel in their hearts and put it into their heads for them to ultimately share with the world. From there, Wyld Stallyns proceed to take their leave.
From there, the series ends in “the truly resplendent future” as Professor Quavermass informs Rufus that things have stabilized and that they can proceed with the creation of a “new, fully holographic turntable”. After he concludes the holographic call, he’s then met upon by his daughter Kelly who recognizes that he misses our bodacious dudes and that there could possibly come a day when he meets them again. He then responds that maybe she’ll come across them some day herself, which gets her excited. From there, he sees a picture of his initial meeting with Bill & Ted and tells them to “party on” and “stay excellent to each other”.
Overall, this four-part venture is a decent addition to the main intellectual property. In terms of what was genuinely righteous, it does continue the overall trend of the franchise’s numerous comics in making sure that every important figure within Bill & Ted’s central cast of characters gets their time to shine. In this case, that honor belongs to Station, Robo-Bill & Robo-Ted, even if in a supporting variety. From creating their grandest pieces of robotic technologies to the mechanized saviors of “Bogus Journey” expanding their own side of the family, these figures were able to have some level of importance to the story, especially since they participated in the climax. In terms of other characters within the Preston & Logan lineup, Thea & Billie sadly don’t get much to do while they’re kids. While it would’ve been nice for them to have gotten a bit more involved in a way that would’ve added some nice developmental details about them, I can assure you that both young ladies do prove their worthiness once they’ve grown into youthful adults and they provide some crucial help to their rocking fathers in the events of “Face The Music”. As for the central characters, it’s definitely an interesting idea to explore their financial struggles in the years following their feel-good happy ending of “Bogus Journey”, thus allowing its fans to transition into the events of the third movie. While Bill & Ted are incredibly likeable, they’re not the most intensely driven individuals when it comes to the self-creation of their own songs, especially with the revelation that they’ve been straining themselves by trying to come up with their destined song right away instead of creating several hit songs that ultimately inspires them to come up with the song that unites the universe in harmonious peace. They do get somewhat desperate with trying to stay financially afloat and with keeping their overall unit together, thus they ultimately get the idea of a European concert tour. One would think that they would try to elevate their money woes by taking a much-needed break from trying to create their destined song and work on other melodies for a comeback album that would lead to a concert tour (whether domestic and/or worldwide) and that the tunes that they initially create would slowly but surely piece together several elements that will ultimately become the song that they need to finally unite the universe over in their third cinematic outing. I know that this is essentially a comedy that contains elements of science-fiction & otherworldly ingredients and that our main duo come from an era where they have the traits of late ’80s & early ’90s surfer dudes, but it would’ve made a compelling difference if this story would’ve gone that route and take a chance on a grounded struggle that they have to endure in order to keep their prophecy alive. In terms of the mini-series’ handle on its comedy, it mainly feels right at home with the rest of its fellow comics. Specifically, it maintains its outrageous flavor and silly nature that’s defined the whole franchise in order to make longtime fans feel right at home. Vile Empire, while not being the same kind of compelling villains like Chuck De Nomolos was over in “Bogus Journey”, are fairly decent as opposing adversaries. Also, they can serve as an example of individuals who exhibit toxic levels of obsessive behavior for whatever they’re involved in. Vile Emperor get the most standout time amongst his bandmates, mainly because he’s the front man, thus he gets the chance to show how he, his group and their fanbase refuse to accept anyone who doesn’t perform heavy metal music that’s as extreme as what they perform. Their attitudes are snobbish and a bit elitist towards bands that don’t fit their guidelines, especially when they get psychotic and want to sacrifice anyone who’s “false” in their eyes. While it’s probably too much to have this series explain how Vile Empire wound up consumed by this level of obsessive behavior, some extra form of developmental dimension would’ve been nice to helping them stand out in a unique way. Even still, their added ritual-esque behavior does add a mentally unstable level of intimidation that our simplistic dudes must overcome. Finally, it does bug me that Joanna & Elizabeth do get short-changed, though not as severe as their cinematic outings. At the very lease, they do serve as inspirational figures towards their husbands and help them during their moments of misguidedness & emotional low points. Outside of that, they struggle to stand out on their own in order to make a major impact on the narrative. As such, a backup story from “Most Triumphant Return” continues to be the only place where our Medieval Princesses get the spotlight for themselves. Not to mention, we also don’t do much within the future as Rufus and company don’t factor into the main story at all. If he’s going to be here, I would’ve had him and his daughter Kelly play a vital role within their timeframe, since it would also have added some extra dimension to her character once she shows up in “Face The Music”. As far as the creative team goes, it’s a nice coo that Dorkin was able to return and contribute another entry in the long-running franchise, especially since this can be more canon towards the films since co-creator Ed Solomon has long-since ruled all of the previous comic series and cartoons as non-canonical. He continues to bring the signature energy that he brought to his run on “Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Comic Book” and also presents a humble respect towards the franchise that he originally showed back in the early ’90s. While not narratively deep, none of the tales within this long-running IP’s history are necessarily required to be effective. As such, Dorkin’s story gets a nice artistic boost from Langridge. His art style does maintain a cartoon-esque and comical vibe that was present in “Most Excellent Comic Book”, but it’s far-more refined due to more modern sensibilities and that it’s far-less chaotic than how that series’ art was presented. In the end, this is a mainly competent entry towards the vast landscape of Bill & Ted’s journey towards universal harmony through their rocking music. It’s paced well, the characters are likable throughout and the story maintains the franchise’s good-feeling nature. If you’re a longtime fan, it’s a nice warmup act to add to your collection before you delve into our bodacious dudes’ cinematic conclusion. Whether anything else is ever done to this franchise in the future, may we all venture towards those eventual tales and a better tomorrow by being excellent towards each other. Until the next time that I delve into a comic book review, Party On Dudes!
Bill & Ted (created by Bill Matheson & Ed Solomon) is owned by Nelson Films and is distributed by MGM & Orion Pictures.