Life in high school and sports plods on for Bart Simms, until the fateful day that he and his friend Gretchen investigate a strange crash. What is in store for him next? Find out in Doctor Tomorrow #1 from Valiant Entertainment!
Writer: Alejandro Arbona
Artist: Jim Towe
Colorist: Diego Rodriguez
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Drew Baumgartner
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 19, 2020
Previously in Doctor Tomorrow: Bart Simms is a high school student and baseball player who has lost his mom and is just trying to get through school. In another dimension, Bart Simms is a superhero along with many others from the Valiant Universe. Every hero has to have a start somewhere.
AND SUDDENLY SOMETHING FELL FROM THE SKY
Doctor Tomorrow #1 opens with, apparently, a spaceship crashing on Earth practically in the midst of a battle between superheroes and supervillains. This is the dramatic arrival of Doctor Tomorrow. If I have any regrets about this book, it is that I do not have great depth of knowledge of the Valiant Universe. I do not recognize everyone in the splash page. But judging by what I see, it looks like an interesting universe, richly populated with interesting characters.
Doctor Tomorrow jumps straight into battle and starts directing people against the main villain, Hadrian, of whom I know nothing. He’s pretty tough, though. He is able to grab Hwen Mirage (who is a ghost) and incapacitate him. In the middle of battle, he grabs a new power supply, and no one can stop him putting it into his suit and there is a huge explosion.
Meanwhile, a teenage Bart Simms is practicing some ball with his athletic friend Gretchen as she quizzes him on physics. In two pages, we learn that she is not only physically strong, but she’s really smart. After practice, Bart gets a phone call from his dad, who has had something come up at work and will miss Bart’s game. This is where we learn that his mom has died, and baseball is what has brought the two of them closer.
After a run in with the school bullies, Bart and Gretchen see something fall to Earth and go to see what it is. Doctor Tomorrow makes a grand entrance, calls Bart by name, and claims to be looking for him to help save the universe. Doctor Tomorrow recognizes Gretchen too. And then he explains he’s a future Bart Simms from another dimension, and he gives young Bart a belt that, when activated, gives him a superpowered suit.
Meanwhile, Hadrian crashes into a facility to steal their superconductor. It’s not clear whether this is on our Earth, but I think we can assume it. That’s the difficulty with time and dimension travel. We also cut to a scene simply set “Elsewhere,” where an alarm goes off in the lab of Dr. Neela Sethi and a reptilian or dinosauroid being named Ank. This contact between Bart and Doctor Tomorrow has set of a temporal disruption.
As beginnings go, it’s not bad. Despite feeling like I should know more about more of the characters, I think I have a good grasp of what’s going on. Admittedly, time travel is inherently messy.
LIVELY LINE WORK
Doctor Tomorrow #1 opens with an establishing shot I love. It’s a long-distance view of Earth with Doctor Tomorrows ship streaking into the atmosphere. It’s majestic and almost ethereal in beauty. The following panels follow the ship, coming a little closer each time, until we get the splash featuring all the characters. I love shots like that, even when I don’t know who everyone is.
The line work throughout is strong and clear. There is some nice use of blurring effects when depicting speed. I like Gretchen and young Bart. They look like young people and their athletic poses look natural. Their friendship also shines through, as well as their sense of adventure when they find Doctor Tomorrow’s ship. We finally see Doctor Tomorrow without his helmet on, and he is clearly an older Bart, although not that much older. I was expecting a somewhat more adult Bart. He’s got a great costume too.
BOTTOM LINE: AN INTERESTING, IF SLIGHTLY CONFUSING, ORIGIN
If you’ve been looking at a point to enter the Valiant universe, Doctor Tomorrow is not a bad place to start. It’s the origin of a new character, and despite the big opening battle, you really don’t need to know everyone. All in all, it’s a solid beginning.
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Doctor Tomorrow #1
It’s Bart’s lucky day as he gets picked to be a superhero sidekick to his alternate universe self.