WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Action Comics #1014 from Brian Michael Bendis, Szymon Kudranski, Brad Anderson and Rob Leigh, on sale now.
The Man of Steel has had his hands full defending Metropolis and the wider DC Universe lately, especially in the pages of Action Comics.
As Superman and Lois Lane investigate the clandestine new enemy known as Leviathan, targeting secret organizations around the world, Metropolis has seen another new villain in the Red Cloud surface, serving as an enforcer in the city's criminal underworld.
However, as Clark Kent gets closer to the two new threats while working as both a reporter for The Daily Planet and as the Man of Tomorrow, his efforts are suddenly interrupted by a figure crashing into the heart of Metropolis: The teenage superhero Naomi.
Created by Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker and Jamal Campbell, Naomi McDuffie made her debut in this past January's Naomi #1. The Wonder Comics title had the eponymous character discover she possessed superpowers of her own after a chance encounter with Superman and Mongul when the two momentarily stopped in her hometown of Port Oswego, Oregon in a battle that spanned the globe.
As Naomi grows accustomed to her new powers, she learns from her adopted parents that they are, in fact, undercover operatives from Rann and Thanager while her biological mother was from an alternate Earth in the DC Multiverse and fled a genocidal villain named Zumbado before being killed on the Earth of DC Rebirth, leading to her eventual adoption.
Zumbado was soundly defeated in the final issue of the first miniseries, with Naomi deciding to aspire to be a great superhero to the DC Universe like her inspiration, Superman. The issue ends with Naomi catapulting herself into the sky as she becomes determined to learn more about her multiversal origins and seek guidance in becoming a superhero, presumably leading to her appearance in Action Comics #1014 as she nearly destroys The Daily Planet building before asking for the Man of Steel's help.
Advance solicitation information for next month's Action Comics #1015 has since revealed that Batman will somehow be drawn into Superman's unexpected team-up with Naomi, with the World's Finest presumably showing the young, relatively inexperienced superhero the ropes as she masters her abilities of superhuman strength, speed, endurance, energy projection and flight.
And with the tension between the gangs of Metropolis brewing to an all-time high thanks to the presence of Red Cloud, Naomi may be instrumental in Superman taking on the elusive villain.
Naomi has led the DC Rebirth era's charge in positioning the young heroes of the DC Universe towards the forefront of the publishing line, especially as part of Bendis' DCU publishing imprint, Wonder Comics. However, while Superman has been tied to Naomi's own superhero origins ever since her debut at the beginning of the year, the latest issue of Action Comics has provided the two characters their first true face-to-face encounter since Naomi's super-powered transformation and discovery of her heritage.
In taking on mentor figures in Superman and Batman, the new Action Comics story arc has Naomi providing some much-needed levity and youthful optimism to a title that has been focused on shadowy villains and sinister conspiracies for the past several months.
In teaching Naomi how to become a superhero, Superman may just be reminded of the importance of idealistic hope as he deals with concurrent threats menacing his city from the shadows.