Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker / Artist: Jamal Campbell / DC Comics
“None like us, so none like us”- Wale
Since the announcement of Naomi, DC kept saying who she was would shake up the DC Universe. Writers Brian Michael Bendis and David F. Walker, along with artist Jamal Campbell, surely made good on all that hype. Naomi’s journey and origin take a classic tale and turn shit all the way upside down. There’s so much focus on Superman and how he came to be in the series, his beginnings feel like a blueprint for Naomi’s. However, that blueprint gets a reinvention for a more modern time that truly puts Naomi on a different set of starting blocks from other heroes’ humble beginnings.
The biggest concept that runs throughout the first season of Naomi, which is issues #1-#6, is the theme of family and belonging. Naomi is a young black girl in a predominately white town, adopted by two loving white parents, with no inkling to who she is or where she comes from. She has a home but still feels like an outsider. As she discovers not only where and who she comes from, as well as where her adoptive parents come from, that’s the heart of the story. Walker and Bendis truly explore all aspects of the phrase “You can’t choose your family” but also what happens when a family chooses you.
Bendis and Walker take the scale of Naomi’s story from small scale to universal scale with their world-building. What I like about the cast is that it extends outside of Naomi’s immediate foster family and includes not only her friend but someone that is connected to her father’s past which is unbeknownst to Naomi until her father tells her. I’m purposefully keeping this vague to prevent spoilers. Even tho this issue have been out, when you see the twist in this trade, you’re going to have that big “oh shit” moment. One I don’t want to rob you of, dear reader. Again the world-building scale from Bendis and Walker here is top-notch. There’s a lot of history we don’t know concerning Naomi. How Bendis and Walker choose to go about unrolling those layers will be the fun part.
Now what I can spoil for you, is the artwork in this series. Jamal Campbell has to be one of the top 3 artists in the game (and I’m not talking two or three). Campbell’s art is beautiful. I’ll never forget when I first saw it in his Tumblr web series “The Immortal Nadia Greene”. That was nearly five years ago and in that time he has only gotten better, hence why he’s drawing for DC comics. Campbell is the perfect addition to this team of Bendis and Walker. Naomi looks so different with Campbell behind her as the blueprint of her look. Even the backgrounds are amazing. The portions that deal with earth scale and world-scale images always stand out so much sharper when Campbell is the artist. Also, you have no idea how satisfying it is to see an artist that can actually draw Black hair. *Grabs heart* You’d think its such a small detail, but it means the world. The way Campbell has Naomi’s hair could be a full-fledged essay all by itself (reminds myself to write that later).
Naomi is a character that can only expand and grow when you got David F Walker, Brian Michael Bendis, and Jamal Campbell backing her. Season one kicks into high gear around issue four of the trade, which leaves so many questions of what’s to come for season two. There’s so much we don’t know but that’s what’s exciting for the future of this series and this character.