Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows #1
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Max Fiumara
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Nate Piekos
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Review by Michael Farris, Jr.
Remember all those dreams you had as a kid about being a super hero? Jeff Lemire’s Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows #1 injects a little reality into those wishes that makes you realize the child is grown and the dream is gone. We start out with Dr. Jim Robinson visiting his old observatory while narrating a letter to “Charlie” as he revisits his past, wondering if his “obsession” was worth it, setting the whole theme for the rest of the book. We flash back to 1941; America is on the brink of joining World War II, the U.S. government is looking for a secret weapon to deal with Hitler’s forces, and a destitute yet determined Dr. Robinson is working in his lab trying to discover the secret of para-radiation. With the generous financial assistance of the government, Dr. Robinson is able to reach beyond the heavens and become a weapon himself—but at what cost?
When I got to the end of this book, I couldn’t believe it. Why does it have to end here already? Are you sure there’s not just a little bit more? While the overall content of the story isn’t too terribly original (former super hero regrets decisions he made in his past, like ignoring his family), the writing of the story flows so well that you’re left wanting more by the end. And while I desired a little bit more explanation on Doctor Star’s discovery and some of the battles he fought with other heroes in the Second World War, it seemed like breezing past that extra narrative was the right call in order to get to the storyline that the author wants to tell: the story of a former super hero reuniting with his son. And while you get the sense that Dr. Robinson isn’t proud of the way he treated his family, you wonder if—despite calling it his obsession—he is able to put aside Doctor Star to remedy what he has done.
The artwork also seamlessly matches with the nature of the story, bringing a modern twist to 1940s sci-fi that also feels Hepburn-ish. The details are there when they need to be, but the muted tones are also there to not appear overly flashy. It flows just as elegantly as the writing does.
Verdict: Buy it.
Jeff Lemire is one of the premier names in comic writing, and he hasn’t lost his touch in his latest series with Dark Horse. Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows #1 has all the elements to bring us a character-driven narrative set in a fantastic universe that promises to only get better with future issues. I can’t wait to see what the next chapter has in store.