Doctor Tomorrow #5 is this week’s finale to Valiant Entertainment’s short but sweet series by writer Alejandro Arbona, artist Jim Towe, colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick, and letterer Clayton Cowles.
Doctor Tomorrow follows Bart Simms, a teenager who encounters his alternate superhero self who recruits him to fight a supervillain. After some breakneck battles and revelations, Doctor Tomorrow comes full circle in Bart’s journey.
Doctor Tomorrow #5: The End of The Circle
Doctor Tomorrow #5 completes the series by reflecting situations from previous issues. From confronting the antagonist to making amends with past friends, Arbona uses subtlety for new audiences. This series’ main flaw comes from an MFR interview with Arbona, how some slightly important details rush for the story’s sake. Continuing on the Hero’s Journey formula, this return phase is an accomplishment for the entire series. Especially since Bart makes important interactions that resolve some internal and external conflicts he has. Although on its own, this issue feels like it’s completing a checklist.
Towe’s artwork benefits from subtleties, similar to the story. The facial differences between the adult Bart and Doctor Tomorrow display their characters. Doctor Tomorrow has scars he couldn’t prevent while Bart, despite being the same age, has a cleaner maturity. Which is more than the fight between them can attest to. The fight is bland with the superpower blows barely appearing to make an impact, even with Doctor Tomorrow’s defeat. Their last conversation with the small changes in facial features holds more weight between them. In fact the baseball sessions between Bart and his friend Gretchen are a better display of Bart’s powers. It’s also what gives Doctor Tomorrow #5 more power to it as a sign of growth in comparison to the first issue.
Fitzpatrick’s coloring at least gives the powers on display their desired effect of impact. A glowing fist from Doctor Tomorrow can serve as a warning for Bart about a powerful blow. Even interactions between them with the sun shining in the background give weight to their conversations. It’s practically highlighting crucial moments in their interactions.
Cowles continues to provide generally good coordination with both word balloons and wordmarks. Even when word balloons don’t leave their panels, they follow a pattern concurrent with neighboring panels. It keeps the actions in a distinct rhythm that doesn’t overlap. The wordmarks follow this like when a fall occurs in one panel, and the neighboring one with a wordmark drives home the impact.
Finish With Doctor Tomorrow #5
Doctor Tomorrow #5 is the weakest issue in an overall decent story. Although reading the prior four issues is required to fully appreciate this one, it’s only because that’s what allows readers to see Bart’s growth into a hero. One that opens up potential new developments in the Valiant Universe. So it’s best to catch this character where he begins before all that happens.