What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Doctor Tomorrow #1! Valiant 2020 is hyped up as “The Year of Heroes”. When I read these words I got very excited because this means they are gong big with this next line-up of books to hit shelves. Starting with Doctor Tomorrow which is the big fun superhero book, as they call it. This one has been one of my most anticipated Valiant books so far because it is pretty rare when they will be so bold to actually give us a superhero. Let alone someone who actually looks like your traditional superhero.
Once more with a new #1, we address the matter that is the first issue being new-reader-friendly. Was it? The answer to that is, obviously. When you have a book like Doctor Tomorrow, there is very little that any creative team could do to make this a story you struggle easing into. These are new characters, new situations, new territory altogether in the Valiant Universe. A good majority of this first issue was spent getting to know Bart Simms. What we did jump into this expecting was that this was going to be a grounded story, and his was as grounded as it gets for a kid who experiences so much for his age. The emotions, the loss, the disappointment, all things you weren’t fully prepared for. For a hero they say is supposed to be that great, it really made you wonder how this kid could get to that point.
For a first issue I will also say that they moved pretty fast getting us from introductions to setting this plot in motion. I’m pretty sure that most would have assumed this to be a slow issue. I know I did, so I was taken back by how much we actually got out of this. Especially when introduced to Doctor Tomorrow, how this meeting is possible for him and Bart, and what his presence means for the safety of the planet. By the end of the issue we are also introduced some of the other supporting cast which was a delightful surprise for who you weren’t ready to see again after Ivar, Timewalker. There was no lie apparently when they said quite a few familiar faces from across the Valiant Universe would pop up.
I will say that the opening scene for this book was pretty cool. For as much as we know about Doctor Tomorrow, which is very little, we did at least get to see what a big heroic team-up looks like at this stage in the universe. Again it was cool for the fact that there was so many heroes you wouldn’t expect to answer the call to action, and did. I was only unfortunate seeing how a number of them were wiped out so easily by this new villain. A villain who I might say they succeeded in creating the impression that he is formidable. You don’t go through heavy-hitters the way he did without being that powerful.
If there was any reservations I had about picking up this first issue, it was how the interior art would turn out. The previews did stir-up some confidence in the quality of work this art team would produce, though that could only solidify once reading through the issue as a whole. Overall I was impressed with what Jim Towe and Diego Rodriguez had to offer visually. When flipping to that first page where we met a young Bart Simms, what I looked for was an artist who knew how to capture the youthful vigor that a character like him should give off. Not only that, but the charisma of a character like DT (Doctor Tomorrow). Towe proved to have a great handle on that as an artist who uses bold strokes and inks. Much of our engagement from these characters definitely came from a strong grasp of body language and positioning.
Diego Rodriguez’s colors really bring it all together because as a superhero story, you want bold colors which give the story energy. Rodriguez did just that while at the same time making the colors pop at the most explosive moments. Whether it was the villain’s (Hadrian) big moment at the start, his reintroduction later, or Doctor Tomorrow’s big entrance, the colors jumped right out at you. Beyond that, the colors were fairly tame which works great for a book that they do describe as grounded.
If you are someone new to Doctor Tomorrow like me? Then I would say that this first issue was more than enough to peak your interest. If someone who was familiar with the old Doctor Tomorrow, you may find this take refreshing as a start. All in all, Doctor Tomorrow #1 sets the stage for a new kind of hero in this universe who challenges the impossible through a new lens.