Review: Doctor Tomorrow #5

Doctor Tomorrow #5

After a universe-spanning journey, Doctor Tomorrow must face his greatest foe yet: himself in Doctor Tomorrow #5! Will the combined forces of the Valiant Universe be enough to avert total annihilation After the epic conclusion, will there be a tomorrow?

I still don’t really know what day it is anymore, and as such, I have been falling way behind in my comics reading. Other than the Valiant books, which I will typically review here, I’m lucky if I remember to read the books I pick up. Y’see because I work Wednesdays at my LCS, I’m getting my books regularly… I’m just not reading them. Perhaps because of this, I was taken entirely by surprise when I found the advance review copy of Doctor Tomorrow #5 in my inbox.

The concluding chapter to the series has the Bart Simms we saw in the first issue return from the future after twenty years (and a lot of training) to confront the man who “killed” him when he was a kid; an alternate future version of himself called Doctor Tomorrow – believe it or not this actually makes a lot of sense if you’ve read the first four books, and it’s easy enough to tell the different because of the difference in costuming and the burnt face of Doctor Tomorrow.

But with the comic serving as the finale, and after we saw a classic montage in the form of Doctor Tomorrow #4, the final confrontation between Bart Simms and Doctor Tomorrow is as much a story about confronting your own demons as it is saving the world. As such, there are a lot of scenes within the book that feel oddly truncated; Alejandro Arbona has a lot interesting scenes within the book that need to be there, but the transitions felt a little forced. It’s not that Doctor Tomorrow #5 needed to be issues five and six, but maybe had Arbona been given another six pages or so the book would have a better flow to it. As it is, you get the meat of the story, but it feels like you’re missing some of the peas and carrots – you know those parts of a roast that you don’t look forward to but miss nonetheless if they’re not there?

That’s how the final chapter left me feeling. I wouldn’t cut anything from the book (other than the ads to give Arbona more space), but there’s just something missing from the initial read through to take you from one moment to the next. A shame, because a lot of what you get is really good; Bart vs Doctor Tomorrow is less a classic hero/villain smack down than you would expect, and more of a cerebral confrontation on Bart’s side. It serves to highlight the difference between the two men, and works well as a backdrop to the following scenes with Bart questioning who he is and who he will be now that he’s aged twenty years in thirty seconds.

Artist Jim Towe is joined again by colourist Diego Rodriguez, and the pair remain consistent for the finale. There’s a distinct style to the book that evokes a certain nostalgic feel for those of us of an age to have been glued to the television on Saturday mornings as kids, and it lends the book a youthful exuberance that carries the stories energy from the first to the final page. There were moments where it was harder to tell what was occurring on the page, but that had more to do with the review copy water mark than anything the artists had consciously done.

Doctor Tomorrow #5 brings this story to a close whilst also establishing a baseline for future stories with these characters – something that most miniseries from Valiant have been doing over the last year or two. On it’s own merits, though, the series was an interesting take on the traditional superhero/sidekick dynamic, and will be one that Valiant should mark firmly in the Win column. It may not have been as action packed as Bloodshot or as deep as Rai, but Doctor Tomorrow is just plain fun, and you really can’t go wrong with a good comic that’s entertaining.

Story: Alejandro Arbona Art: Jim Towe
Colors: Diego Rodriguez Letters: Clayton Cowles

Story: 8.3 Art: 8.2 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics