Naomi #2 – Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker, Writers; Jamal Campbell, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Excellent Follow Up To First Issue
Ray: The irony is that after a much-hyped wave of original properties in the New Age of DC Heroes line, the only standout book there is the one featuring original characters – and the best original character title to join the DC lineup in a few years is off in the Wonder Comics line. Naomi #2 deepens the mystery surrounding the title character’s origins, but its strength lies in the small, nuanced character interactions. Bendis and Walker do an amazing job of capturing the feeling in every line of dialogue. The opening segment with Naomi confronting the mysterious hulking mechanic Mr. Dee about what he knows about her adoption is full of half-truths, ending with the mystery man making a break for it on his motorcycle. By contrast, Naomi’s chat with her adoptive parents as she tries to get more information out of them strongly gets across their confusion and support for their daughter. Bendis has two adopted daughters himself, so this scene very much reads as personal.
If you were hoping for a lot of plot progression here, that’s this series’ one weakness. It feels a lot more like a creator-owned series working at a leisurely pace. Whole double-page spreads are devoted to Naomi chatting with her friend about what’s been going on in her life, and there are no major action scenes – unless, of course, you could the stunning double-page dialogue-free splashes of cosmic battles that Naomi starts seeing when she closes her eyes. This title is Jamal Campbell’s breakout moment, and every page is gorgeous. We see a mysterious woman who looks very much like she could be Naomi’s mother, and she has ties to Mr. Dee in the past, but neither we nor Naomi get any real answers. The issue ends in the same way it began, with Naomi confronting Mr. Dee – but this time she knows more and is ready to fight for the truth. I think this is going to read a lot better in trade, but the lead character is compelling enough that I am very excited to see where it goes next.
Corrina: I disagree with Ray about the pacing. Naomi #1 seems much like a setup, introducing us to the story world, with slightly less emphasis on Naomi herself. Naomi #2 solves that problem quickly by taking us insider her hopes, fears, and her driving curiosity about her past. She uncovers clues, confronts her parents about it, and then answers are teased by the mention of Iron Heights.
We see Naomi desperate to know her past and her reactions are much in keeping with a teenager–little patience. She has to know right this second, to the exclusion of nearly all else. Her adoptive parents are lovely with her questions but, because I can’t shake the feeling they might be lying to her, it didn’t have the emotional punch it should have. Perhaps that was the point, especially if Naomi also senses her adoptive parents aren’t being honest with her, even if they love her, even if it’s for her own good.
Which may explain why she snuck out despite her parents’ reassurances.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.