Naomi #2 review

In which our heroine asks mysterious mechanic Dee how he knows the date of her adoption and what else he knows.

That, as they say, went well. Later, she tackles her parents.

Not much there either. Which pretty much sums up this issue, which is a classic example of the type of decompression I thought co-writer Brian Michael Bendis had left behind at Marvel. Nothing much happens, very slowly.

We do meet Naomi’s folks, and get their first names, Jen and Greg. They seem nice, if overly protective, and perhaps a little paranoid. Are they in witness protection? There seems to be no surname on the mailbox.

We get a couple of clues to Dee’s past, first, from Naomi’s pal Annabelle.

Which suggests to me that Dee is a rehabilitated Dufus P Ratchett, aka the Flash villain turned Justice League Antarctica member Big Sir. He was big and bald; OK, he also had significant learning difficulties and died but, hey, comics.

The second clue is a photograph.

I like the significant story beats, and I like the characters, and the mystery. But the pacing is really off for me. Six pages of chat with her parents where three, tops, would have been fine. Four pages to break into Dee’s shop and find the photo, at least two too many. I know from responses to the first issue that plenty of people love this languid approach. Not me, I grew up when most comics were done-in-ones that went at breakneck pace, when a couple of eight-page back-ups would have as much story content as an entire trade today. Just tightening the pace up by a third or so would make me like Naomi quite a bit more.

But I do like it, that’s the main thing. Bendis and co-writer David F Walker give Naomi, Dee and Annabelle plenty of personality. Jen and Greg are a tad creepy, they seem rather suffocating, and their constant use of ‘baby’ and ‘sweetie’ sounds insincere – this may be a British thing, the only time I’ve ever heard ‘sweetie’ used is in Ab Fab, while ‘baby’ is an affectionate that doesn’t exist outside cheesy pop songs.

Jamal Campbell’s full-colour art is, once again, wonderful – the figurework is tremendously expressive, and the toning utterly convincing. I didn’t find reading the dream sequence easy, but it’s almost certainly meant to be chaotic… I’m definitely intrigued as to how it ties into Naomi’s past… is she from Gemworld, perhaps?

Carlos M Mangual’s lettering is as professional as ever, but I still hate the storybook font.

The cover is very dull, Naomi in her brown coat again. Look closer and you see Dee, hiding behind the logo, but it doesn’t make things much more exciting.

Solicitations tell me we’re getting lots of answers in about four months. I really hope the pace picks up before then.

6 thoughts on “Naomi #2 review

  1. Wow, I thought I was the only one who was thinking Dee might be Big Sir! Great minds think alike, apparently…and ours do, too. And if my name were Dufus, I’d *definitely* shorten it to Dee.

    As for baby and sweetie, it didn’t ring false to me — I’ve heard plenty of parents say that when they’re trying to comfort their kids.

    I feel like part of the pace is to give Jamal Campbell a showcase for his work, and things like the cleverly staged dinner-table conversation (with just Naomi’s parents’ hands on either side of her) make me happy that they’re taking the time. Though yeah, I’d like to get closer to some answers soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good call on Big Sur.

    For me, the pace hasn’t bothered me. Part of that might be that I read both issues in one sitting. The parent conversation did seem long but I thought it added a ‘doth protesteth too much’ feel to the proceedings.

    This feels like a book more in line with my tastes and I love a good mystery. So I’m in for a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t mind decompression. I see the alternative as burning through story too quick to consider consequences now that I’ve read writers who use decompression well. This issue? At the last page I even mouthed a silent ‘Noooo!’ at the fact it ended where it did…

    Liked by 1 person

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