With the inked covers all digitally reassembled, I started the first part of digital coloring called 'flatting' where you are adding flat colors to establish all the color areas in the piece.
More simply Burn darkens whatever values/colors are there, and Dodge will lighten them. The textured brush adds in some random and natural variation as I render giving the piece a bit of texture so it doesn't look quite so 'digital'.
Adding in some gradients and color shifts so that it was brightest at Dr. WhereWhen and darkest at the edges made a difference and both felt like the fatigue of battle as well as reminded me of a Usagi group piece of Stan's.
I also had to lasso areas (with a many-pixeled feathered edge) on each character after rendering them to adjust the highlight colors to be warmer and more yellow/red/magenta to imply the lighting of the background was affecting the characters as well––and that effect needed to be more intense closer to the middle of the composition.
So, the rendering detail isn't as deep––and I did very little to shift the colors of various parts to make them look different from one another, I only employed the same lasso color shift to correspond with the intensity of the background.
I knew the schedule would be tight getting this piece done on time when I started the layout. The trouble with adjoining covers is that you kinda have to get them all done by the time just the first one is due (because the colors on the background and the overlapping characters need to flow together without seams).