Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines 5

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BTTF IDW issue 5 cover
Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines 5
Part of: Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines
Issue number(s): 5
Page count: 24
Writer: Bob Gale
John Barber
Erik Burnham
Penciller: Marcelo Ferreira
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Colorist: Diego Rodriguez
Editor: Tom Waltz
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publication date: February 24, 2016
Timeline: June 12, 1893
October 25, 1855

Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines 5 was the fifth and final issue of Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines by IDW Publishing. The story was continued in Back to the Future: Continuum Conundrum.

Unlike the previous issues in the series, which contained two stories, the final issue of Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines contained only one. This single story format was continued in future issues of IDW's Back to the Future comic series. The story contained within was titled Clara's Story. It told the backstory of Clara Clayton.

Publisher's Summary

BACK FROM THE PAST! Doc finishes rebuilding the flux capacitor in the Old West and it's time to find Marty... but an unexpected encounter threatens to derail the time train before it can take Doc, Clara, Jules, and Vern back to 1985!


On June 12, 1893, Doc Brown and his family board the completed Jules Verne Train, as Marshall James Strickland and his son Roger Strickland watch from a distance. The railroad workers that he had hired earlier had laid down fifty yards of track that would correspond with a railway that would be built in the 1950s and would still be in use by 1985. He intends to travel back a few hours after he left on October 26, 2015, to pick up his dog Einstein.

While the time machine travels to the future, Doc's wife, Clara Clayton is reminded of her past. She was born on October 25th, 1855 in New Jersey to Martha and Daniel Clayton. Her parents had met in the western territories. Her mother was a frontierswoman, and her father was on a butterfly expedition.

Clara had taken after her mother, which meant that she was often doing dangerous stunts while growing up. Clara believed that her escapades had convinced her parents to not have another child, as they had felt one child was enough.

In 1866, however, she had nearly died from diphtheria. Her father gave her a telescope, which caused her to lose sleep while looking up at the stars at night. She became fascinated with outer space, and the idea that it was a frontier that had yet to be crossed. After reading From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne, she had discovered that she was not alone in this thought process. She then began to purchase all of Jules Verne's works, looking forward to the release of each new novel.

This caused her to be separated from her peers. While she believed that Jules Verne understood her, it seems that no one else had. She didn't believe in lying about who you were in order to fit into society, which was enhanced by watching her mother struggle to ignore her rebellious nature to try to act like a proper 19th century housewife.

Her father tried to introduce her to young men from good families, but the fact that she always had her head in a book led to the relationships never lasting. In the end, Clara became a schoolteacher. Many schoolteachers were unmarried woman, and she found this prospect appealing. She also enjoyed the fact that young minds were open to many new possibilities, and that they were truthful and imaginative, like herself.

Clara's father died in 1879, and her mother died five years later. They left her a modest sum of money, a house in New Jersey, and what Clara felt was the worst traits they had. Clara was meek and introspective, like her father, and like her mother, she had a disregard for the conventions of her gender.

One night, while reading Jules Verne's novel, The Green Ray, while she was alone in the house surrounded by books, she had visions of what she could be if she changed her life. She heard of a teaching job in Hill Valley, California, and decided to head west, as far from the east coast of civilization as was possible in the United States.

While on the train, she wondered whether she would find a new frontier, as she had dreamed about while looking at the stars, or love, as her parents had found on the Oregon Trail. She ended up finding both when she met Emmett Brown, when she discovered he was a time traveler.

After Doc sent Marty McFly back home, and Doc rescued her from the train on the hoverboard, they settled down together, and Clara realized that Emmett understood the isolation she felt from feeling like she had been born to the wrong time. Emmett was now in Hill Valley decades before he was born, but he finally felt like he fit in. His profession as a blacksmith provided for them, and allowed him time to enjoy his scientific pursuits, but he no longer had the drive to travel through time that he once had.

Clara saw that Emmett felt comfortable living in her time period, and wondered if she would be encouraged in her interests if she had lived in his. So, one night, she asked Emmett if he was truly happy giving up the adventure of time travel to live his life out in the Old West. When he responds that time travel is not all fun and adventure, Clara realizes that something terrible happened to him, and Emmett tells her his story.

Doc traveled to 2015 and read the U.S. Now paper that stated that Martin McFly Jr. was jailed for theft. He realized that the event would destroy the family of his closest friend, so he traveled back to 1985 to pick up Marty so that he could pose as his son and prevent the theft from occurring. However, Biff Tannen stole the DeLorean time machine without Doc realizing, and altered the past.

When they returned to 1985, they discovered that things weren't correct. Buildings were there that had never been built, pollution was out of control, and there was a disregard for law and order. Doc had hoped that the DeLorean had sent them into a date into the far future, but headed to the soon to be demolished public library to find out for sure.

Once there he realized the truth, they were in an alternate timeline where Biff had become a millionaire and his alternate self had been committed. Doc disguised himself, and traveled to the County Asylum. He told the asylum nurse that his name was Von Braun, and that he was a distant relative. He bribed her with a large sum of money, and headed to the cell where his counterpart was kept.

He tried to talk to his other self, letting him know that he had created a paradox as he had traveled to a time where his other self had been committed before he had been able to complete a working time machine. He explained that he and Marty were protected by a time bubble temporarily but once the space-time continuum attempted to correct itself, it was only a matter of time before the bubble burst, and he wasn't sure what would happen to them then.

He hoped that his other self would give him insight into the timeline into which he had arrived, but he was horrified to discover that his counterpart had been lobotomized. At that point, he returned to the DeLorean and the gravity of the situation sunk in. He would have no future in this timeline, so he had to go back to get Marty to help restore it. Then he would travel back to his own time and destroy the time machine to prevent something like this from ever occurring again.

Marty succeeded in stopping Biff from becoming rich and powerful, but any plans to return to 1985 and destroy the time machine were sidetracked when Doc was sent to his favorite era. Doc felt like he was given a second chance, being placed in a time period where he was free to experiment with science without the temptation to expand his pursuits to include that of the universe itself. He states that being in the Old West, with Clara, is where he feels he belongs. Clara states that she is pregnant, and she notes that she had never seen Emmett happier than in that moment.

Clara decides against telling Emmett her desires to travel through time. She gives birth to Jules, and then Verne, and truly loves them. She also enjoys hearing Emmett tell them about his adventures, but can't help but wish that she could go on adventures with him. She hid her feelings, which she often did, but wondered if Emmett could tell she was hiding something.

When she thinks that her dreams would remain as just that, Emmett tells her that he wants to travel to 1985 to see Marty and Einstein. When Clara wonders if Emmett plans to leave them, he tells her that he plans to take her with him as well, along with their sons. Clara is the happiest she had ever been, until the moment that she was in the train ready to travel to the future herself.

However, just as the train appears to be breaking the time barrier to travel into the future, it crashes at the end of the tracks. Marshall Strickland and Roger run to the train to help Emmett and his family. Everyone is alright, but Doc debates whether to just stay where he is. He is sure that Marty would take care of Einstein, and he is happy living with Clara and their sons.

Clara decides to tell Emmett the truth, and lets him know that she wouldn't be happy if he gave up. She wants to travel through time. He lets him know that time travel isn't just his dream, but one that they both share. Jules and Verne tell him that it is their dream too, and that they all want to travel to see the future for themselves.

Clara points out a man on a steam tricycle, and Emmett realizes that someone has invented an automobile. The man informs him that the device was created by Léon Serpollet in France, and that he had imported it, at great expense.

Doc asks him how fast it can go. The man tells him that he had driven it as fast as eighteen miles an hour. Clara and Doc then decide that is a good start, and decide to work together to make their dream a reality.

Dramatis Personae



  • Dog (Mentioned only)








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