Why Naomi Is a Perfect Addition to DC TV

The CW got a major new update to its DC Comics universe this week, when it was revealed that Naomi has earned a series order by the network. The series, which is inspired by the 2019 Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker, and Jamal Campbell comic miniseries of the same name, is expected to premiere in 2022, and boasts an impressive array of creatives in front of and behind the camera. While Naomi McDuffie might not be a household name yet, and we still might not know a lot of details surrounding the series, her television debut just might bring some welcomed new qualities to The CW's tapestry of DC Comics shows.

In the comics, Naomi is a seemingly ordinary teenage girl in the town of Port Oswego, Oregon, whose life is changed forever when Superman and Mongul fly through the town in the middle of a fight. This event caused Naomi to wonder about her own identity and origin story — and triggered the emergence of her energy-based powers. Ultimately, Naomi and the readers learn that she was born in an alternate universe that was ravaged by environmental problems, with a collapse in the ozone layer leading to twenty-nine random people developing powerful abilities. The twenty-nine soon broke out into a civil war over how to utilize their powers, something that was further complicated by the birth of Naomi, as none of the twenty-nine were believed to be able to have children. After Zumbado, a mass murderer who had become one of the twenty-nine, began to hunt for Naomi, she was sent to Earth-Prime and adopted by Greg and Jen McDuffie, who just-so-happen to have ties to the planet Rann. Over the course of her miniseries, Naomi comes to terms with her origin and her superpowers, and her fight with Zumbado carries over to arcs in Action Comics and Young Justice. In the most recent continuity sparked by Infinite Frontier, Naomi now serves as a member of the Justice League.

The beauty of Naomi's origin story and the context of her appearances in the DC universe is that it's both dense (just ask anyone familiar with the Rann-Thanagar conflict that Naomi's parents are tied to) and relatively fresh — something that lends itself perfectly to a television adaptation. Naomi's comic appearances deal with the topic of legacy, family, and racial identity within the confines of the DC universe without being profoundly defined by the history of another major established TV hero, something that could easily carry over to the TV equivalent. That balance hasn't necessarily been the case for The CW's Batwoman and Superman & Lois, both of which have either had to retrofit or completely ignore bits of established lore in the prime "Arrowverse" of shows. At the same time, there really only has been one volume of the Naomi solo series thus far, giving the television series a compelling launchpad, as well as the freedom to branch out and tell its own stories.

Through all of her comic appearances, the biggest appeal of Naomi has been her unique characterization and journey as a superhero, and seeing that evolve as she interacts with or fights alongside other heroes. And given the fact that we don't know exactly where Naomi will fall within the post-"Crisis on Infinite Earths" TV multiverse — whether the show will take place on the Arrowverse's Earth-Prime, Stargirl's Earth-2, or another Earth entirely — there's definitely room for Naomi to potentially crossover with other shows and heroes, but also for the show to stand entirely on its own if it chooses to. Given the state of the Arrowverse post-Crisis — with multiple shows coming to an end, and COVID-19 precautions making changes to the traditional Arrowverse crossover — it's clear that the focus of the past season has been on good storytelling that can stand on its own. And honestly, Naomi will deliver good storytelling in spades, as well as a compelling new hero that audiences will surely fall in love with.

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Naomi will premiere sometime in 2022 on The CW.