Naomi #6 // Review
The origin of a new DC hero comes to a triumphant conclusion as Brian Michael Bendis and David D. Walker’s Naomi draws to a close. She’s just a school girl, but she finds out that she’s something much more than that with very big responsibilities in an issue drawn by Jamal Campbell. An origin that could have turned into something very drab ends on a very exciting note that mixes adventure, mystery and a sense of wonder in its final issue. The series had its moments of tedious exposition, but Bendis, Walker, and Campbell swing through the final issue with impressive energy.
Naomi has just discovered her powers. She’s just found that she’s not from where she thought she was. And as a result, she’s been attacked and thrust forth into her home world. It’s a vicious post-apocalyptic place that she never knew as home. It’s a dangerous place, but she knows the danger and goes on the offensive. The man who has taken her home was the man who killed her parents. Now she’s out for revenge, and she’s going to find that it’s not something that’s going to come easy as she finds herself thrust back into the only home she’s ever known.
Bendis and Walker have pushed a portion of the series through a very rough patch of exposition to reach a final issue in which Naomi’s overwhelming energy powers are seen in full view. There really isn’t anything new in Naomi’s origin. Elements of her background and aspects of her abilities have echoed through comics and pulp sci-fi for decades. There’s nothing new here, but Bendis and Walker have brought a character to the page which still manages to be interesting enough to carry a series in spite of her lack of originality. They owe a lot of her appeal to the artist.
Campbell gives Naomi a powerful visual appeal. The energy signatures of her blasts have a weight to them that packs a hell of a punch the way Campbell brings them to the page. A simple battle of superhuman power blasts could be intensely yawn-inducing, but Campbell’s art really delivers the punch as radiant bursts shoot across the page. The really impressive visual, though, is Naomi’s emotional intensity. The dialogue can only go so far to reveal a character’s emotion. Campbell renders feeling with an intensity that would feel almost exaggerated were it not so perfectly paired with a larger-than-life world that manages to stay firmly grounded in an earthbound reality. Campbell does such an excellent job that it’s honestly difficult to imagine Naomi being anywhere near as appealing with any other artist.
Naomi now begins to make appearances in other DC comics. Issue’s end promises a second series. If Walker and Campbell are involved in that next series, it may be well worth checking out. The pulpy space adventure that’s being delivered here really needs the kind of expressiveness that Campbell provides for it to feel right. It may have had its slow moments. All in all, however, this is an excellent opening for a new hero.