Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows #4
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Max Fiumara
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Nate Piekos
Review by Michael Farris, Jr.
The brief saga of Doctor Star has come to a close. While seeking a cure for his son, Jim Robinson is offered the chance of a lifetime. His disciples from a planet he once saved have brought him to the Para-zone, full of infinite, unknown potential. In Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows #4, he is faced with a decision to reach the pinnacle of all that he was working for as a scientist and a hero, or to return home and stay with his son during his last moments.
While the Black Hammer universe has introduced us to an assorted cast of characters with interchanging storylines, the Doctor Star issues have remained focused on Jim Robinson, and the singular focus throughout makes this ending more poignant.
Getting the brief recap of Robinson’s obsessive work and seeing a life defined by accomplishments is an important warning for a culture that is driven by such thankless ideals. It seems like we’re faced with news every day of how all the money, fame, and success in the world aren’t enough to satisfy. In the end, the brief moment of reconciliation that Jim has with his son seems far more meaningful than any of his achievements. Maintaining or repairing relationships seems a lot closer to the meaning of life than worldly (and other-worldly) conquests.
Doctor Star has played out like a Greek tragedy, and this final issue brings us to a bittersweet conclusion. Based on the actions of Robinson in earlier issues, I was expecting a depressing ending where he saves his son to add to his accomplishments, but, while this ending still isn’t the happiest of endings, it leaves the reader with hope.
The artwork from the very beginning has been a stellar companion to this interstellar story, and the emotional impact of the story is amplified in these breathtaking panels. One of the highlights to me was the instant where Robinson learns of the death of his wife;we’re confronted with a grieving man, a melancholy shade of gray in the background, and not much else. This is just one example of how well Lemire and Fiumara work together at telling this story.
Verdict: Buy it.
Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows #4 is the perfect ending to a cautionary tale about sacrificing family at the altar of success. Lemire has mastered the art of using sci-fi to comment on the deepest issues we face as humans. This series is a must-read from start to finish.