Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Bendis kicked off the teen-centric, in-continuity Wonder Comics imprint a few weeks back with the new run on Young Justice. This week he’s introducing us to a new and original character, Naomi, in her self-titled debut. He’s recruited David F. Walker on some additional writing duties and Jamal Campbell to take care of the art.
The plot takes place in a small town called Port Oswego, Oregon. It’s a quiet, somewhat boring place where nothing interesting ever happens. Until the start of the book. Superman’s fight with Mongul took place across multiple places and they made a quick stop in Port Oswego. They stayed for seventeen full seconds. It was the most exciting thing that has ever happened there, and almost everyone saw it. Almost. Our titular hero, Naomi, wasn’t one of them. She has a certain fascination with Superman, so the fact she missed him (twice) is bugging her. A lot. But her fascination might not be so simple, and Superman’s fight isn’t the first superhero-something to happen in their town. Something that may, or may not be connected to her.
Let’s talk about the art for a moment. It’s pretty good. It’s got some nice texture and depth to it, and Campbell does a decent job with the designs. His faces can look a bit weird on some close-ups, but they’re pretty good overall. I particularly enjoyed the various double-page spreads and how Campbell conveyed the characters’ actions on those. The colouring is pleasant and vibrant, but it also looks weird at times and makes the characters look like cut-outs. Naomi has some really nice hair, though.
The book is nicely structured and flows really well. From the double-page spreads to the four-by-four grids, nothing seems out of place and the flow of the book makes sense. Even the overuse os speech-balloons, one of Bendis’ many trappings, doesn’t break up the flow.
Speaking of speech-balloons, the dialogue gets kinda iffy at times. These are supposed to be seventeen-year-olds, but the dialogue doesn’t really convey this and it feels really forced at times. You actually aren’t completely sure what age the characters are until the very end of the book. But again, that is also a standard Bendis trapping. He can write some really good dialogue, but it can also feel strange and unreal at times.
I’d love for the book to stay on a smaller scale, to explore superhero-affected life in a small town. Unfortunately, the ‘BIGGEST NEW MYSTERY’ tagline on the cover might just imply a different take. But anyway, it’s a pretty decent outing for a new character in a new corner of the DC universe. It’s got some cool art and some nice writing, so hopefully the creative team will manage to keep us interested.
A pretty decent outing for a new character in a new corner of the DC universe.