By Brian Michael Bendis & David F. Walker
DC Comics, 2019, 23 pages, $3.99
Comic books are joining the ranks of mainstream entertainment representing foster care and adoption with the latest series from DC Comics. “Naomi” follows the life of an adopted teenaged girl, as the small town she lives in watches in awe of Superman’s latest battle.
The effort that the creators took to accurately depict her identity as a foster youth quickly becomes evident when the comic illustrates the dynamics between Naomi and her friends. Naomi has to depend on the people around her to keep her in the loop about everything that goes on with Superman, just as foster youth in real life often live with a level of social disconnection to events and happenings out in the world. When Naomi’s curiosity gets the best of her, she sets out to find details about not only who the Kryptonian is today, but the history of such supernatural events in her otherwise boring town. In doing so, she discovers a strange connection between these events and her adoption.
“Naomi” promises to live up to the prestige of being a comic in the DC Universe, which also includes the Superman, Batman and Flash series. The way that the first issue sets up multiple paths of storylines we can expect to be followed throughout the series, gives it the classic feel of a DC Comic.
Conversely, “Naomi” stands out in DC’s line-up of comics, seeing how uncommon it is for a comic book franchise to revolve around a female lead, much less one that’s African American. Her identity as a foster youth rounds her out as a relatable but rare hero. By the time she’s sitting in therapy having her psychiatrist explain to her every human being’s desire to feel special, most children will relate to Naomi in one way or another.
Naomi’s seeking of knowledge and self-discovery will draw parallels with the lives of plenty of foster youth, who have grown up away from the family that birthed them and ended up having to learn about how things came to be when they got older.
— Reviewed by David Miller, a 24-year-old former foster youth living in Los Angeles who served as a Youth Voice Correspondent with Fostering Media Connections, writing for The Chronicle of Social Change.