Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Naomi #1 Review

Who's That Girl?

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: January 23, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99

Of all the Wonder Comics books coming out, this was the one I picked to review.  I like David F. Walker, and I'm all about a new character with a mysterious origin story.  So, after reading the first issue, am I glad I put it on my review list?  Let's find out...

The issue opens with a huge and absolutely stunning battle between Superman and Mongul.  I really mean it; the first couple of pages look fantastic and had me pumped to keep going. But, unfortunately, this was the best part of the book by far.

We are quickly "introduced" to Naomi and her friends, and I put that in quotes because they are on the page and they are talking, but I had no idea who they were and who was actually saying what.  One problem is that the camera angle shifts way out, so you can barely see the characters.  It seems necessary because of the vast amount of dialogue that overpowers the art and does nothing at all to differentiate between the individual characters.  It was such a disappointing way to set up a new series.  Call me crazy, but this feels 100% like Bendis is checking the boxes to milk a CW-type television show out of this book.  The problem is, I need a comic book that gets me interested in the main characters right now!  If Naomi ever does get a movie or tv show, I can only hope it does a better job establishing these characters, or it will fail and fail quickly!

The CW feel continues with Naomi at work, Naomi running out of work and hanging with her friends again...after missing Superman again.  To continue the "agains", we again don't learn much of the characters except they love to yakety-yak.

The poor setup continues as Naomi goes to her therapist (?), and hangs out with her tiny friends (at least they are tiny on the page), this time with a couple more that I know nothing about.  Then the issue ends with her finding out that the day she was adopted has a special meaning, which her hometown wants to keep a secret.  Lovely!

Listen, I know this is only the first issue, but I want to go on record here and predict that Naomi's therapist and day job will likely fade away as if they never existed, and most of her friends will disappear.  I may not have read as much Bendis as my man Branden, but I have read enough to notice the tell-tale signs.

This was not a great first issue of a series.  I didn't get anything to let me settle into this book; I know so little about Naomi herself and less about her friends, which is frustrating.  Everybody has the same voice (Bendis's), and boy, is it overused!  The art starts off great but makes you want to grab a magnifying glass to follow the rest.  If the primary goal of a first issue is to introduce you to the main characters and make you want to continue reading the story, this is an epic fail on both counts.

Bits and Pieces:

Naomi starts with a very talky issue that does little to make me care about the characters or the story.  The art is fantastic initially but quickly gets lost in an avalanche of word balloons.  "The biggest mystery in the DC Universe," indeed!



  1. Interesting review. I think I pretty much disagree with everything except the fact that the Superman/Mongul battle looked awesome and the fact that not much happened.

    However, unlike you I think this actually worked in the book's favor. The fact that this five second "stop" in the battle between Superman and Mongul becomes the talk of the town and that everyone is totally ecstatic about it helps to establish the city and the characters.

    Sure they were all blown away by his appearance, but at the same time I actually think that Bendis, Walker and Campbell managed to give each character a voice of their own. Yes, there were similarities in the way they react and overreact, but it not really that much unlike how young people act these days. It's like you NEED to overreact these days, especially when you look at social media.

    The page you show as an example of how it was hard to distinguish between the characters is actually one of my favorites (aside from the fact that I'm not totally liking the white outlines, even though I get they are needed or they would indeed drown out in the scenery).

    I think that spread actually does a pretty good job of distinguishing the characters by the combination of the words AND art. The art especially helps in establishing their character in that particular scene. Aside from Annabelle and Sooze we don't get to learn much of the others aside from this spread and the first page of the issue, but to me that was enough to get an idea who they were and make me interested in the lives of the kids in this town. (Btw, all the friends in the double-page spread were shown in the first page as well)

    I think if the mystery had come into play earlier in the issue much of the "world building" of the issue would have been lost and the town wouldn't really have stood out in any way, so personally I think it was a good choice to wait until the very end to tease the big mystery.

    Future issues need to speed up the pace somewhat though or I doubt the series will have much of a chance to really take off, but as a first issue I think it worked extremely well and for a book I didn't really have any expectations for it is now a book I will be eagerly awaiting future issues of to see what is going to happen.

    1. the pages were just the preview pages that DC sent so it wasn't planned to prove a point. I have no idea about anything and anyone in this town. I understand this is part of the mystery, but I couldn't tell you anything much about anything. Hopefully the next issue shows Naomi's parents, gives me an idea of what her friends are like aside from talking the same as everyone else and what Naomi is like besides loving Superman and always being late.

      DC and Brian Michael Bendis have said that this book is the most important thing happening in the DCU right now and who Naomi is will change the Future of DC Comics...I don't see it yet.

  2. I enjoyed reading the first issue of this new series. The bits with Superman were equally intriguing.