THIS WEEK: Naomi Season Two #6 from Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker, Jamal Campbell, and Wes Abbott wraps up the character’s story…for now, sort of. Plus, Dark Crisis: Worlds Without A Justice League – Green Lantern #1 delivers more of DC’s big summer event.
Note: This piece contains 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 verdicts.
Naomi Season Two #6
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis and David F. Walker
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Letterer: Wes Abbott
When Naomi’s first six-issue miniseries concluded in July 2019, the final page made no secret about what the character’s future would be. The last line in that book was: THE STORY CONTINUES IN THE PAGES OF DC COMICS…AND IN NAOMI2. Yes, Naomi would return. And why wouldn’t she?
At that time, Naomi McDuffie was a breakout hit for the publisher, one of the most successful original DC creations in recent memory, which was especially impressive because she had/has no connection whatsoever to Batman and Gotham City, as most recent original DC creations now tend to possess. On top of that, Ava DuVerny was helming a Naomi television show for the CW, where DC character adaptations had (to that point, anyway) gone for years to quietly thrive. The future was bright for Naomi.
This book, however, arrives within a very different set of circumstances. In the time since the first series wrapped, Naomi’s TV show has come and gone. In addition, writer Brian Michael Bendis’ future at DC Comics is relatively uncertain. Bendis has moved his creator-owed imprint, Jinxworld, to Dark Horse Comics. And as of this writing, the veteran superhero writer has no new projects looming with the publisher. Due to delays, there are two issues remaining for Justice League Vs. The Legion of Superheroes (originally slated to wrap this week as well, which would have perhaps made for a far more interesting column, but, hey, what are you going to do?), but past that, there are no announcements.
Consider also that Bendis is not participating in the creator jam Batman: One Bad Day series, nor has he been tapped to write one of the Dark Crisis: Worlds Without a Justice League event series, and it would seem the writing is on the wall — Bendis is effectively out at DC. Bendis has been open about working on a Legion of Superheroes animated series for HBO, but with whole-ass DC Comics projects getting filmed over there and then forever-cancelled, I’ll believe that’s happening only when the opening credits start to roll.
And given that Bendis is one of Naomi’s co-creators, today’s ending of that series would seem to reflect that. And I’ll get to that ending in a bit. First, as it pertains to the quality of this issue, the book remains quite a bit of fun. Co-written by Bendis and David F. Walker, Naomi Season Two #6 is illustrated by Jamal Campbell, who has drawn the entire Naomi series to date. Campbell is an absolute star, who in between this one and the first book also illustrated the critically-beloved series Far Sector.
As such, every page in this comic looks absolutely great. From her inception, Naomi has wielded a bright and vibrant powerset culled from another world, and in this comic, Campbell makes full visual use of it, delivering the many thrilling visual set pieces called for by this script. This is, essentially, the comic in which Naomi must face down the otherworldly threats that have been pursuing her since she first appeared, and this issue builds to an excellent, well-earned crescendo in which she does just that.
Taken with the first Naomi series, as well as her cup of coffee with the Justice League when Bendis was penning that book, this second series delivers an outstandingly satisfying character arc for Naomi, one that rewards readers well for having followed the whole thing. So on those merits, I can’t recommend it enough.
That brings us to the aforementioned ending. The creative team here seems well aware it will not be returning (at least any time soon to this character), and the ending reflects that. It effectively takes Naomi off the board, so that she’s not just fading into the background, unused by other books and creators in DC, but instead going off to fight more of her destiny in a way that really doesn’t have to have any bearing on any other DC Comics characters. It’s done in a way where the publisher can return to Naomi and her story at any time, but it also wraps things up. Essentially, this ending gives Naomi more battles to fight, should the demand be there, but it doesn’t leave anything unfinished in any urgent or burning way, a great move by veteran creators who’ve told many many stories in shared universes.
If you’ve followed Naomi’s story from the start as I have, pick this one up without hesitation. If you’re here and reading because you’re curious, put this one on your list. Ultimately, this is just a high-quality teen superhero comic that makes great use of the DC Universe, all done with the highest levels of craft and execution.
I have been enjoying the current run of Harley Quinn quite a bit, which is actually something I thought I’d never type or say, because the character is generally not one I gravitate toward (ditto for Deadpool, just kind of not my thing). However, writer Stephanie Phillips and artist Riley Rossmo grounded the character (just a tiny bit) during the opening of this current run, and it has made a world of difference for me. Rossmo has gone away now to work on the forthcoming Tim Drake comic, but Phillips remains, teaming on the latest arc with Georges Duarte and Romulo Fajardo, Jr., and while I had some trepidation going in (nothing against those creators, but Rossmo has a distinctive style that is fairly singular), I had no cause to worry. The book hasn’t missed a step at all and remains a fun comic, actually leaving Gotham City now and exploring Harley’s relationship with Suicide Squad-y concepts…in space. This one was lettered by Andworld Design.
- Nubia Queen of the Amazons #3 continues that book’s upward trend of just getting better and better since the series debuted, delivering here an issue that’s absolutely action-packed. Artist Alitha Martinez — inked variously by Mark Morales, John Livesay, and herself — and colorist Alex Guimarães deliver some stunning action sequences, and writer Stephanie Williams brings the big moments. This one was lettered by Becca Carey.
- I have really been loving I Am Batman, with last month’s I Am Batman #11 ranking as maybe my favorite issue of that book yet, (finally!) adding the Rene Montoya question to the mix. This issue, however, is a bit of a step back for the pacing here, bogging down from the second page on with what feels like just way too much dialogue. There’s just so much to be said and established in this issue, that it all ends up feeling a bit dense, an especially tough transition to make after the big reveal at the end of the prior issue. This one was written by John Ridley, illustrated by Christian Duce, colored by Rex Lokus, and lettered by Troy Peteri.
Finally, I was glad that The Jurassic League seemed to get back on track this month after a rough third issue that looked noticeably rushed (credit is maybe due here to the addition of a second artist, whose work actually blended in so seamlessly that I didn’t notice until I went to pull the credits for this blurb), which is a good thing, because if the kick-ass Justice-League-but-dinos concept can continue to kick ass, I do believe the entire world will be better for it. The creative team for this one was writers Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Gedeon, with art by Gedeon and Jon Mikel, colors by Mike Spicer, and letters by Ferran Delgado
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