Now that we’re four issues into The Tomorrows I feel like I finally have a grasp on what writer Curt Pires is going for. While the second issue felt like a big disconnected departure, this is a trend that has followed through both subsequent issues and now that it’s a pattern, I like it. This doesn’t seem to be a series that just takes one long story arc and chops it up into ten different issues like what you might find in the likes of most modern Marvel and DC titles. Instead Pires takes advantage of the format and each issue is almost completely self-contained even to the point of having a different artist.
The third issue of The Tomorrows has our titular team of rebels globe-trotting their way out of the states and into Tokyo, Japan. Here we find them dealing with one of their most bizarre situations yet. A deranged drugged-out businessman is kidnapping and brainwashing children through the use of a mobile phone game called “Angry Gulls” and The Tomorrows set out to fix this.
It feels like the focus this time around has shifted from the main characters onto the “problem of the week,” and here it works, just due to how strange the whole ordeal is. The crazy businessman Ueda Kojima (a nod to Hideo Kojima and Fumito Ueda) is amazing. He’s totally off his rocker and an absolute joy to watch. The brainwashed children are horrifically creepy, their eyes being completely blacked-over and looking almost shark-like. On top of all of that we get a brief appearance from the Hunter-Killer Squad, a team of oddball thugs that kind of stole the show for me.
Ian MacEwan’s artwork fits this issue fantastically as well. It’s the tightest-looking art the series has had up until this point, and there are definitely shades of old-school anime influences present throughout. There are times when Mr. Kojima looks like he walked off the pages of Akira. It’s never quite so overt though, and just one of many ingredients tossed together to create this look. Given the Japanese setting of the issue this works, though.
Speaking of artwork, issue 4 is the biggest departure in this department thus far. Andrew MacLean’s style is much simpler and cartoonier than the fairly realistic (albeit loose) approach that the other 3 issues have had. I’m a fan of MacLean (check out my review of his own book, ApocalyptiGirl here), but this does come as a bit of a jarring change.
Plot here is a bit odd. We dive back into metaphysical territory as we follow Alodous Ellis floating through a timeless void. Fortunately, we finally get a bit of backstory on him and The Tomorrows and there are plenty of callbacks to things that happened in the very first issue. I found myself going back and rereading parts of it, and some of the information we have now definitely makes things more interesting. In particular I liked getting some background on Ellie and Claudius’s past relationship and I’m really curious to see more of the time before the start of the series.
As a series, The Tomorrows is certainly going to the beat of its own drum. There is an overarching storyline here, but every issue needs to be treated like its own thing entirely. It took me a bit of adjusting to really get on board, but now that I’ve wrapped my head around it I think I’m all-in. I do have to say that I miss Adam Metcalfe’s coloring from the first two issues since Pete Toms never gets quite as vibrant or over-the-top with it, but the artwork is still great and totally unique every time. Pires paints a version of the world dripping with pop culture references through satire and I’m very interested to see the rest of this future.