Reprint Review: Naomi #1 by Brian Michael Bendis, David Walker and Jamal Campbell

Two weeks ago, Bleeding Cool ran a read-through review of Naomi #1, out from DC Comics tomorrow, then followed up with a preview. So I thought it may be a timely opportunity to push the two together and run it again tonight… from Brian Michael Bendis, David Walker and Jamal Campbell.


Naomi is the second comic from DC’s Wonder Comics line, launching this week with Young Justice #1. And just as Young Justice #1 is all about Metropolis suffering an absence of Superman, and nature abhorring a vacuum, so Naomi #1 is the opposite of that – a place without any superheroes, getting a brief flyby for a Superman-Mongul fight. Hell, maybe this is where he was during Young Justice #1. Connective tissue?

A brand-new character, and a black female lead to boot, one might expect orders from your standard conservative retailer bunch to be on the low side. Which is why DC Comics has made the comic book entirely returnable.  Comic stores can order high, safe in the knowledge that they can return any unsold copies to DC Comics.

I’ve managed to get a sneak peek at a little of the first issue, and I can let you know that despite being written by Brian Michael Bendis and David F Walker, it really reads like a What-If-Bendis-Wrote-Damage Control. Lots of vox pops with population reacting to events, the superhero action happening above and beyond the people, who are left to clear up the mess it makes – and gossip about Superman, about what it all means and – in Naomi’s case – getting rather annoyed that she missed it all.

You can probably picture the small panel grids for reactions, the long double-spread wide panels for discussion, and plenty of people talking over and interrupting each other, and Jamal Campbell on full art duties gives that approach something what you might expect someone like Chris Bachalo, Sara Pichelli or David Marquez to supply, a fully realised and detailed world, with just enough of a cartoony approach to keep it all fun and kinetic.

It’s the Damage Control aspect that appeals to me and I’ve always been a sucker for the superhero and sci-fi stories that give voice to the little people affected by the big decisions. And turns out that they may not be little people at all. And that’s why Naomi works for me – and is leagues ahead of something like Young Justice and, frankly, quite a lot of Brian Bendis’ work, who has been doing this sort of thing since the AKA Goldfish days.  And the final pages of the first issue suggest it will be taking that approach and spreading it far wider than her hometown.

And also, because it eschews most of the standard superhero comic book concentration on the fight, it does give you a lot more… stuff to read. And you get something closer to Giant Days, Strangers In Paradise or Bingo Love.

Of course, you could just read Giant Days, Strangers In Paradise or Bingo Love. But this one has a Superman/Mongul blowup in the middle. See, I quite like those too.

We also learn that in the DC Universe, they don’t have the same Superman complex as you do in our psychiatric diagnosis. First named as such by Dr Frederick Wertham, author of the discredited Seduction Of The Innocent, it describes an unhealthy sense of responsibility, or the belief that everyone else lacks the capacity to successfully perform one or more tasks and that such a person may feel a constant need to “save” others.’ Bendis and Walker redefine this in the DC Universe as the fantasy of a child that they were adopted and their true identity is something special…

Naomi may be about to realise that if she does think that then maybe, just maybe, she might have a point.

I wonder what her surname is? Where she’s from? Or… when?

(W) Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker (A) Jamal Campbell
DC’s biggest, newest mystery starts here! When a fight between Superman and Mongul crashes into a small Northwestern town, Naomi (last name?) begins a quest to uncover the last time a super-powered person visited her home-and how that might tie into her own origins and adoption. Follow Naomi’s journey on a quest that will take her to the heart of the DC Universe and unfold a universe of ideas and stories that have never been seen before. Join writers Brian Michael Bendis, David Walker and breakout artist Jamal Campbell in Wonder Comics’ massively ambitious new series and star… NAOMI.
In Shops: Jan 23, 2019 SRP: $3.99

(W) Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker (A/CA) Jamal Campbell
The most startling and intriguing mystery in the DC Universe continues as Naomi searches to uncover the secrets of her own origin. What do her small town’s oversized mechanic and the last time a super-powered person appeared in her hometown have to do with the day she was adopted? Big emotions, new characters and a last page cliffhanger that can’t be missed lead off this issue drawn by breakout sensation Jamal Campbell. Don’t miss your chance to meet the most exciting new character in the DC Universe!
In Shops: Feb 20, 2019
Final Orders Due: Jan 28, 2019 SRP: $3.99

(W) Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker (A/CA) Jamal Campbell
A brand-new character in the DC Universe comes into focus as Naomi confronts the one person in her small town she is convinced knows the secret of her mysterious adoption and her obsession with Superman. The truth is going to change both her and the DC Universe forever. The secret of Naomi opens the door to an enormous reveal you will not want to miss. This exciting new mystery from the powerhouse creative team of writers Brian Michael Bendis (Jessica Jones, Spider-Man) and David F. Walker (Shaft, Cyborg) and new, amazing art talent Jamal Campbell.
In Shops: Mar 20, 2019 SRP: $3.99

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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