Bart Simms returns to the Valiant Universe in February, with the debut of a five-issue Doctor Tomorrow mini-series. Written by Alejandro Arbona with art by Jim Towe, colors by Diego Rodriguez, and letters by Clayton Cowles, this straightforward (but still plenty hilarious) superhero comic features a “terrifying” new villain. His name is Hadrian, and he’s coming for us all.
Today, The Beat can exclusively reveal two pages from Doctor Tomorrow #1 featuring Hadrian, as well as the character design by series artist Jim Towe.
“Hadrian’s this terrifying conqueror, and he’s got the entire multiverse in his sights. So out of the gate, I wanted to create a design that instantly delivers readers the menacing gravitas within the character,” Towe tells The Beat in an exclusive statement. “He’s a guy that strives to display himself in a very regal light, but a lifetime of conquest leaves scars that even he can’t hide. Alejandro and [Senior Editorial Director Robert Meyers] brought a lot of great ideas to the table to make Hadrian a really unique villain for the Valiant Universe. Putting that all together to create the look of Hadrian was definitely an exciting challenge in the development stage for the series.”
Towe adds, “One of the coolest parts of getting to design Hadrian has been getting to see the interpretations of him in variant covers for the series — personally, Raúl Allén‘s variant is possibly the coolest cover of the year, and it’s only January!”
Watching Towe’s design process for Hadrian was, for Assistant Editor Drew Baumgartner, “an absolute blast.” Baumgartner says, “Alejandro’s script gave him this clear voice as this imposing, cocksure force, and Jim’s preliminary sketches captured and amplified those elements beautifully. Moreover, he introduced these great battle-hardened details that helped illustrate his ongoing battle with Doctor Tomorrow, turning that history into something concrete that we immediately had fun filling in.
“Most of the work was done at that point — it was just a matter of dialing in exactly how ostentatious we wanted his armor to be. We landed somewhere that cuts an exciting silhouette while still feeling like the kind of functional thing you might put together if you’ve been battling a superhero through the deaths of umpteen universes.”
According to writer Alejandro Arbona, “Hadrian is a mystery the first time we meet him; he’s an immensely powerful and unstoppable man on a mission who won’t let superheroes stand in his way. We know him by the trail of his wreckage. He travels from universe to universe, collecting a mysterious power source, and leaving each universe destroyed in his wake.”
Arbona says Hadrian “has a vision to build a better tomorrow, and the ends justify any means necessary.” When we meet this new villain, eponymous hero Doctor Tomorrow “has followed him from universe to universe, trying and failing every time to stop him. Now Hadrian finally comes to the Valiant Universe, and Doctor Tomorrow vows this will be their last stand. But defeating Hadrian, and containing the source of his universe-destroying power, won’t be as simple as just beating him in a fight.”
Meyers echoes Arbona: “One of the keys to understanding Hadrian is that he’s convinced that what he’s doing (destroying universes one by one) is to build a better tomorrow. Like many great Valiant villains, his villainy has roots in altruism. Jim did a tremendous job making this altogether reprehensible character have an air of nobility, of heroism.”
Hadrian makes his debut in Doctor Tomorrow #1, which hits shelves February 19, 2020. You can grab a copy at your local comic shop or your favorite digital retailer. For more information about the series, visit valiantentertainment.com. Check out our preview below.