The mysteries of Naomi’s adoption deepen, but what does Superman have to do with it all? Your Major Spoilers review of Naomi #2 awaits!
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis & David F. Walker
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Editor: Mike Cotton
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 20, 2019
Previously in Naomi: Naomi searches to uncover the secrets of her own origin. What do her small town’s oversized mechanic and the last time a super-powered person appeared in her hometown have to do with the day she was adopted?
A SECRET HISTORY
We open in the wake of last issue’s shocking ending, as local mechanic and giant tattooed man Dee told Naomi that the last superhero incursion in their quiet little town was the same day she was adopted seventeen years ago. Naomi is very bothered by the statement, not just because it’s weird and stalkery, but because she can’t understand why he knows anything about her adoption. Dee throws her bodily out of his garage and roars away on his chopper, leaving behind a very confused young woman. Returning home, she asks her parents what is going on, but their protestations of not knowing what’s going on fall a bit hollow (and take forever). Thanks to her friend Annabelle, she discovers that Dee spent some time in Iron Heights prison, which allows for a big double-page spread of Superman battling Flash’s Rogue’s Gallery, ending with Naomi sneaking out to break into the mechanic’s garage.
And then, he finds her snooping around…
THE MIXED-CASE LETTERING IS DISTRACTING
I haven’t read a comic that suffered from this level of decompression in a while, and I have to say, I’m a little annoyed by it. With 18 pages of story, this issue devotes a full third to a long conversation that consists of Naomi asking her parents if they know Dee and them saying no… for SIX PAGES. Given how the last third of the comic seems oddly rushed and the final page reveal feels like it happens in mid-sentence, it doesn’t feel like a responsible use of the space. I am interested in the questions being raised here, and I understand the decision to try and build suspense as much as possible, but it just didn’t work for me as a reader. The visual portion of the comic is more successful, especially when it comes to facial expressions, as Naomi has a wide variety of vivid emotions. I’m also bugged by the use of mixed-case lettering (the kind that used to be seen in Marvel’s Ultimate titles, the flagship book of which was written by the same writer as this issue), though it is less distracting than the sudden double-page spread of armored warriors battling that suddenly pops up with no transition or explanation in the middle of the story.
BOTTOM LINE: DOESN’T REALLY COME TOGETHER
I’m really concerned that the second issue of an ongoing title is this slow-moving, as we start and end the issue at essentially the same place, with Naomi confronting the town mechanic about what he knows about here. Naomi #2 contains a lot of talking and not much else, with strong art that suffers a bit due to odd coloring and a distracting lettering choice, earning 2.5 out of 5 stars overall. After issue one, I’m invested in Naomi’s story, but this issue’s loooong exposition and relatively lack of forward dramatic motion makes me wonder if the resolution is going to be worth the journey.
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The coloring and lettering end up being a distraction, and while there's a compelling mystery at the core of this story, it feels like literally nothing happens in this issue.