DC Comics is trying something new. In the wake of their Rebirth initiative, the publisher has rapidly expanded its content to include diverse new imprints such as Young Animal, Wildstorm, Jinxworld, Wonder Comics, Black Label, Ink, and Zoom. As their lineup expands, it can be hard to figure out what to pick up each week. That’s what our team is here to help with, every Wednesday, with the DC Round-Up!
THIS WEEK: By far, the best book this week was the continued exploration of Wonder Comics’ newest heroine in NAOMI #4. We revisit the book to see what other surprises it has in store.
Note: the reviews below contain spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdict.
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis & David F. Walker
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Letterer: Wes Abbott
When Naomi was first announced, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was another book by the prolific Brian Bendis, co-written by David Walker. Another addition to the new teen-centric Wonder Comics imprint. The cover and the solicitation of the first issue suggested that a plucky high schooler would attempt to track down the secrets of the heroes of the DCU. It seemed a fairly straightforward, somewhat tame, premise. Probably aimed at a younger audience than me. I assumed that this new title would get lost in my read pile among other more interesting superhero books. But that’s not the way it went at all.
The story started with a brief but impactful sighting of Superman in Naomi’s quiet Oregon town. As her friends gossiped gleefully about the event for days, it ignited something that had been simmering in her for quite some time: the thought that she, like Superman, could be special. That her mysterious pre-adoption past might hold secrets akin to the Kryptonian wunderkind who grew up to lead the Justice League and save the world several times over. Naomi got it in her mind that she might have a fantastical origin story, and that idea became stuck there.
In the course of investigating this notion of her secret destiny, she uncovered a clue. The town mechanic knew a little too much about the specifics of her adoption and he was entirely too cagey when questioned about it. As a reader, it seemed all too obvious where the story was headed at this point. It was obvious to Naomi as well. Confident that she had solved the mystery, she proceeded to press the issue. No need to keep us all in suspense, let’s do the obligatory reveal and get on with the story.
Except…it didn’t go that way at all. When the mechanic tried to hide a photograph of himself and a beautiful dark-haired woman from the teen, she started to demand answers about her “mother”. Naomi simply wasn’t hearing his candid refutations of her manufactured assumptions, unable to entertain the thought that the truth might be much more complex than she’d imagined. It took some time (and a surprisingly rage-fueled intervention by her mother) for Naomi to accept that she had misjudged what was going on.
Once her adopted parents saw that they couldn’t hide the actual truth from Naomi any longer, they reluctantly showed her the real secret — a spaceship, hidden in a nearby cave. Seeing it, Naomi finally realized the truth at the same time that we, the readers, did. Her instincts about Superman were correct, and this was her spaceship from when her parents first found her after she was rocketed to Earth years ago.
Except, that wasn’t it at all.
For a title that looked to be straightforward and tame, Naomi continues to surprise me in every issue. Each time I see one of my theories about the story dashed at the turn of a page, I can’t help but feel Bendis & Walker smirking at me. This is a book that understands and subverts the superhero genre to keep the reader guessing, page after page. Naomi inches closer to the top of my read pile every month. It’s a fun read and I’ve got no idea where it’s going next. Anyway, I’d probably be wrong if I did.
Miss any of our earlier reviews? Check out our full archive!
Louie is a freelance writer, editor, and desert dweller. He manages TimeIsBroken.com where he writes about comics, meditation and football. When he’s not reading Green Lantern, he is likely to be found crying over the Cleveland Browns.