Naomi #6 – Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker, Writers; Jamal Campbell, Artist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Somewhat Disjointed
Ray: It’s the end of the first series of Bendis and Walker’s original superhero property, Naomi, and it might be a while before we get a sequel because artist Jamal Campbell is moving on to a Young Animal book next. I liked the main character in this series, but had problems with pacing throughout – it spent most of the first four issues being a slow-paced character-driven coming of age story, but then delivered a massive infodump in the last issue. Now, Naomi has her costume, her powers, and a full understanding of her origins – just in time for villain Zumbado to arrive on her Earth looking for her. Naomi #6 doesn’t start there, though – it involves her parents, her best friend, and her odd Thanagarian uncle Dee searching for her as they realize she’s nowhere to be found. This segment is more than a little talky, but it also does a good job with the raw emotions at play here – I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Bendis writes parents so well here, since he’s a parent of a teen himself.
Naomi’s story, meanwhile, has a lot of tension to it as she explores a near-destroyed world with the man who killed her parents. Zumbado has only just been introduced as a character, but he makes an effective villain thanks to his oily nature and many lies. Naomi plays along, knowing that she’s outmatched, and only makes her move when she has the advantage. Another character named Akira, who was responsible for sending her away from her world, briefly appears but this whole world is just beginning to be set up. The end of the issue has some great scenes with Naomi and her parents, as well as a sweet reveal of her last name, but overall the six-issue limit for this run didn’t quite work for pacing. It feels like we’ve just begun the story, but it’s over for now. We are promised a sequel, and Naomi’s story will likely continue elsewhere, but I’m sorry to see it go – and it still feels like we’ve just gotten to know Naomi and her world.
Corrina: This is really, really, really talky.
I should be mentioning the amazing splash pages set in Naomi’s homeworld, making it a feast for the eyes. Naomi’s glow, the swirling colors as she confronts her parent’s killer, and then the gateways that open between worlds–those all looks amazing, including the close-ups as Naomi seems to find her emotional footing.
However, the disjointed narrative, which swerves from Naomi’s friend’s story to Naomi, and to her parents talking to each other, seriously undercuts the emotional impact of Naomi claiming her powers. I had story whiplash.
In any case, Naomi’s big moment should feel more earned, should have more emotional oomph, than it does. It makes me wonder if the series was truncated, as I saw the same pacing issues that Ray did.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.