Doctor Tomorrow #4 by Valiant Entertainment releases this week for a climax. Alejandro Arbona gives some character development where the moment matters with illustrations from Jim Towe, colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick, and lettering by Clayton Cowles.
Doctor Tomorrow follows Bart Simms from different multiverses; the fifteen-year-old encounters his older superhero self Dr. Tomorrow to stop the supervillain, Hadrian. However, Dr. Tomorrow reveals that his desires are similar to his mentor Hadrian.
Doctor Tomorrow #4: The Atonement
Alejandro Arbona plays the Hero’s Journey formula at its atonement phase in Doctor Tomorrow #4. With the surprise ending of issue 3, it was time for some context. One where Bart ends up catching up with his friend Gretchen, or at least a version of her. All while confirming some suspicions about Hadrian and Doctor Tomorrow. It turns out the helper Gretchen was the mentor Bart actually needed. As the first issue displays, it’s the little mundane moments between Bart and Gretchen that hold the most weight. It all comes full circle just in time for the series finale. This issue unpacks a lot of personal time between these best friends to make up for issue #2. Yet it’s these personal moments that go by years for Bart to complete his metamorphosis into a true hero.
Jim Towe’s artwork displays these emotional moments throughout Doctor Tomorrow #4, especially when it comes to the sudden changes of similar scenes. The small moments hold a lot of impact with the scenes that feature backgrounds fading away for moments of clarity and relief. With everything that goes on, they’re the points of the most significance. Even Bart redesigning his suit into a less flashy version of Doctor Tomorrow’s feels less significant in comparison. Not that it has no importance, it’s a display of Bart’s growth out of a power fantasy into something humble. The simplistic coloring by Kelly Fitzpatrick attests to that; no bright flashing lights, just a practical and memorable look.
The lettering by Clayton Cowles is equally as practical. Just about every panel is contained to one moment with none of the word balloons going out. Instead, they guide readers to the next page. As for the wordmarks, most of them are the reusable varieties Cowles uses throughout his career. The laughing sound effects, for example, are completely the same and are only different by their color, size, and an exclamation point. Because again, it’s the simple change of the moment that makes things more impactful.
Doctor Tomorrow #4: The Climax
Now Doctor Tomorrow #4 will definitely require some background knowledge to fully appreciate. It is the entire series’ consequences being compiled. Yet living in the moment is precisely what makes this issue stand out. After many hints and things that had to be removed, it’s this emotional core that brings about some missing character.
What do you all think? Is this what the Doctor Tomorrow series needed before the grand finale? Leave your thoughts in the comments.