Doctor Tomorrow #2: Valiant’s Year of Heroes Achieves Superhero Perfection
Doctor Tomorrow #2
Written By Alejandro Arbona
Art By Jim Towe
Colors By Diego Rodriguez
Variant Covers By Kenneth Rocafort, Jim Towe and Cryssy Cheung
Published By Valiant Entertainment
“You heard the man. The Universe has minutes to live.”
Last month when I reviewed the first issue of Doctor Tomorrow, I heaped praise on it for everything from the nostalgic visuals, to the classical narrative structure and the refreshing impression it made on me especially from a company like Valiant Entertainment that is filled with characters that could certainly be categorized as anti-heroes. However, I also questioned whether the series would be able to maintain this high level of quality and carry that momentum throughout the entirety of the series. Well, as it turns out, it most certainly can. This is the best new series being produced by Valiant, and Alejandro Arbona, Jim Towe and Diego Rodriguez have developed a series closer to comic book perfection than any title released during Valiant’s Year of Heroes.
Throughout the entirety of Doctor Tomorrow #2, all I could do was again continue to smile because of the narrative structure and atmosphere that Alejandro Arbona has expertly constructed here. I used to be an English Teacher, and I always appreciate writers and artists who seem to take inspiration from classical literature to help develop and present their stories to any potential audience, and this was all but confirmed by how the narrative progressed in this issue. Arbona is certainly using the classic Monomyth or Hero’s Journey narrative structure here, and it works perfectly. Issue #1 certainly saw our hero Bart Simms called out to participate in an adventure by his older, alternate reality self, but these classic tropes fill this issue from cover to cover. We are presented with smaller vignettes where Bart is trained by his older self and mentor, we see him fail at properly using his suit and obtain a better understanding of his role in defeating Hadrian even in the face of everyday, personal struggles between his normal self and who he has to become while wearing his costume. We also learn about future Bart’s relationship to Hadrian who, as it turns out, was once Bart’s mentor as they both worked on the same project creating and developing a type of dark fluid that creates negative mass. Readers are prepped for how time travel will work within the Valiant universe, and we are introduced to a few supporting characters who will play a large role in the events to come as alluded to within this issue. Without spoiling too much because readers just have to see it for themselves, this issue also treats readers to a highly enticing narrative hook within the concluding pages of this book that makes me really wish there wasn’t an entire month until the next issue comes out. This series hits every narrative beat that I wanted it to as Arbona masterfully uses the turning of a page to engage his audience on a plot-driven level.
This issue also sees Jim Towe and Diego Rodriguez continue to present readers with high quality and aesthetically pleasing artwork that is second to none. Towe’s line work and Rodriguez’s vibrant colors create an amalgamation of nostalgically infused visuals that had me hooked throughout the entirety of the book. There are very few comics that truly exhibit effective chemistry on the page between the writer, artist and colorist but Doctor Tomorrow is one of those few examples. During each narrative vignette presented by Arbona, Towe and Rodriguez’s art expertly depicts the atmosphere, emotion and action that keeps me turning the page. The more action-oriented scenes are carefully constructed to emphasize and highlight movement and motion to great effect and the more subtle scenes are pieced together with just as much care. Taking a page from classic superhero cartoons, Rodriguez’s color work effectively creates an energetic and lively atmosphere when focusing on our heroes versus a dark and foreboding color palette when we check up on the villainy that Hadrian is taking part in at the moment. It takes all of one page to see the passion and commitment that these two artists have for this book, and it is infectious for sure. And that last page! Geez!
Doctor Tomorrow #2 is an excellent example of the quality that can come out of positive chemistry between a writer, artist and colorist. I cannot say enough about how much I love this series, and I am excited to see what Alejandro Arbona, Jim Towe and Diego Rodriguez have in store for future issues. From the excellently-paced and classically-structured narrative to the spirited and vibrant art, this book is superhero perfection, and the best book on offer so far from Valiant’s Year of Heroes.