Naomi is going to be one of the best reads in DC Comics.
Brian Michael Bendis was one of the most popular writers in Marvel Comics. Not only did his comics fly off the shelves, but he ‘s responsible for Luke Cage becoming more than just a stereotype and creating popular characters like Miles Morales and Jessica Jones. Both Miles and Jessica have also gone on to have popular projects outside of the comics. When it was announced that Bendis would be leaving Marvel to write for DC Comics, fans were excited to see what he would do next. This year he unveiled his newest character to the DC Universe. Welcome Naomi to the comic book world. We are two issues in, and the creative team has shown that this is going to be one heck of a series.
What’s the story about?
The story follows Naomi, who just missed the first superhero appearance in her town. It got worse when she found out it was Superman, THE premiere superhero. The first thing like this to happen in her town, and she missed it. This lead her to do some digging, as this couldn’t have been the only time something like this has happened. The more she dug, the more curious she became until she discovered that something did happen. She talked to a giant mechanic named Dee, who was living in the town during the incident. Dee was reluctant to tell her what he knew. But he did. The last time something did happen was March 14th, 17 years earlier. Naomi is shocked because this was the day she was adopted.
Naomi is already more than just a superhero origin. It’s a mystery. Naomi has used her smarts and knowledge of the city and the people to dig up info on things that have happened. Issue two leads her to confront Dee again. What she found in his shop almost knocked her off her feet. Even more intriguing is how Dee reacted to what Naomi saw. It’s build-up like this that keeps people coming back for more.
The character wasn’t created by Brian Michael Bendis alone. It was the combined efforts of him, along with David F. Walker (Luke Cage, Occupy Avengers, Power Man & Iron Fist) and Jamal Campbell (who will be discussed later). During an interview with Black Girl Nerds, David F. Walker explained how the project came to be:
“Brian and I have known each other for, it’s pushing up on twenty years. And, we teach together. We talked a little bit about working together. It never quite happened. And then it happened very, very quickly. He said, “You know, I wanna write a series with you.” I said, “Okay.” And then we set about looking for an artist. And I remember this very clearly because it was right around this time last year that we started really seriously looking for an artist for Naomi. I don’t think she even had a name yet. The series didn’t even have a name yet. It was still in the planning stages.”
Walker then recalled spending a day at Emerald City Comic Con in artist alley, looking through names and portfolios to find someone to bring the project to life. Eventually, he and Bendis came across Campbell, who quickly impressed them:
“And then DC threw out Jamal. And Brian emailed me and said: “Hey there’s this guy who’s outta Canada. His work’s pretty good.” And I looked at it, and I said, “yeah, this is really solid.” And then he did some character design stuff that was really next-level. And Brian and we just sort of looked at each other and we were like, this is it. This is the third member of our team.”
He also discussed the decision to make Naomi a black woman:
“You know that’s a good question. And, I can only answer it from my perspective. My perspective is this, I wanted to see a really good, strong, Black female character.” He also went on to say, “We were also talking about the sort of characters that we felt that we weren’t seeing enough of. And the characters that we thought would challenge us as writers, and as human beings. And, Naomi was it.”
This representation is important in comic books. Having more women and women of color in the spotlight will motivate more creators to have the confidence to write about people of different races, creeds, and sexes. Soon we could be looking at a Jewish superheroes leading teams (Kitty Pryde is Jewish and has already led the X-Men), or a gay hero stopping the universe from imploding. It will also let people all over the world know that their stories are important and should be told.
The breathtaking artwork
It was difficult to get past how beautiful the artwork is. Jamal Campbell (who’s done cover art for Cloak and Dagger and Asgardians of the Galaxy) has created stunning visuals. From the very first page, you can see that he makes certain that each character looks different. In some comic books, it’s difficult to distinguish which characters are who if they aren’t wearing their costumes. The first page had 12 different characters who all looked completely different. Then there’s the town itself. It looked exactly like a small town. Even if it wasn’t described as such, you could tell it was right away. All of that, and we haven’t gotten to how the colors make everything pop. So far, the story is intriguing, but it’s worth it for the artwork alone.
Naomi has already exceeded the expectations of the creative team. Hopefully, this is just the beginning. DC Comics has a winner on their hands, and fans of comic books should jump on board so years from now, they can proudly say they remember when the first issue debuted in 2019.