Fearing that Thanagarian mechanic pal Dee is about to risk his life to kill the creature who murdered her homeworld, new superhero Naomi has followed him to Star Labs. Immediately, it’s portal party time and a team-up with fellow Justice Leaguer Cyborg to contain a multiversal monster.
Dee’s nowhere to be seen, but back in Naomi’s hometown of Port Oswego another Thanagarian is calling on Naomi’s worried parents.
That mighty punch Naomi throws stops the beastie – to say the least – but there are consequences.
Taking on board Cyborg’s advice that hanging around Star Labs while it’s an unstable centre of multiversal menace and she’s not at her best isn’t a great idea, Naomi heads for home.
‘You don’t have to be a superhero, you know.’ If you’ve been following Naomi’s transition from High Schooler to heroine, you’ll know how she’s going to react to that idea. But how does her adoptive dad, himself an intergalactic emigree – he’s from Rann – react to her reaction? He’s seemed so angry lately, as he tries to cope with his little girl embracing the destiny he feared was waiting for her.
This is a terrific issue, possibly the best issue yet from either of Naomi’s six-issue series. Writers Brian Bendis and David F Walker use their characters to push Naomi’s story forward, her team-up shows how gutsy she is while demonstrating that she’s not the unstoppable powerhouse she’s so far seemed, and there’s a high school catch-up that shows our heroine’s determination to stay grounded. And bonus, Cyborg gets his best showing in, well, forever – Bendis and Walker treat him as an A-lister and Jamal Campbell provides the visuals to make sure we believe it.
It’s rather neat to see Cyborg growing his hair out – since George Perez designed the original look, Victor’s hair has tended to sit no higher than his metal skullcap (I think he was bald for about two minutes in the Nineties). Grow that half-fro!
Campbell, working in full-colour, sells the intensity of the Star Labs situation superbly, and his domestic scenes similarly sizzle – Naomi’s dad Greg is actually rather scary, but I sometimes forget he was an extraterrestrial military man. As for mom Jen, she’s on tremendous form this time, and Campbell captures the love and pride Walker and Bendis’ script requires. And Naomi’s powers manifest marvellously, whether they’re being used in combat or to more subtle effect.
While Naomi is the right combination of tough-yet-vulnerable, Hawkgirl is all tough, using the upgraded wings she gained in a recent Bendis Justice League issue to great effect. And Campbell, as you’ve seen, also gifts us a rather glorious cover image (but who came up with that cover copy? ‘Danger from the Multiverse’? Come on, this is a comic book, we need alliteration. It’s ‘Menace from the Multiverse’, dammit!)
Wes Abbott’s letters serve the script well, it’s just a shame the book’s house style is Marvel Ultimates lower case… the panel in which Naomi apologises to Cyborg for SHOUTING is such a relief. If you ask me, the rest of the time everyone is whispering.
The book ends on a splendidly dramatic moment, so bring on next issue and, with luck and craft, a comic as excellent as this one.