Brian Michael Bendis and David Walker set themselves an interesting challenge with the first issue of Naomi. How does one introduce a brand new character, someone with no powers or abilities, and yet convey that this ordinary human being is going to become a central character in the DC universe?
We get introduced to Naomi, a young woman working as a waitress in Port Oswego, Oregon. There is little about her that is remarkable. She was adopted, and seems to have some issues about that, which she discusses with her psychiatrist. She’s black, and, in this issue at least, she appears to be about the only person of colour living in the city.
Nothing much of interest happens in Port Oswego, or in Naomi’s life, until Superman lands there one day, in the middle of a battle with Mongul. He’s gone again as quickly as he arrived, and though Superman makes a brief visit to chat with the authorities, he has no scenes with Naomi.
Bendis and Walker somehow manage to pull off the all but impossible, making this pretty much average girl living an uneventful life interesting enough to carry the story. Jamal Campbell’s art really helps, giving life and detail to the very blandness of it all.
Of course, one knows there will have to be more to the series than this. And, sure enough, we get a couple of very good teases. One thread deals with Naomi’s adoption, which was an easy one to set up. The other is a bit more curious, as Naomi wonders why Superman’s appearance in her town has been completely ignored on the internet. Will the two threads tie together? And who is that strange mechanic?
I believe in this book 100%. The creative team have a solid grasp on the character. If Naomi is this interesting when nothing much is happening, it will be amazing once things get going.