Hey there everyone! I hope you’re all having a grand ol’ time wandering around catching Pokemon – I know am – and, if by some miracle you’ve missed the phenomenon that is Pokemon Go: how on earth did you manage it? Bad weather and almost gale-force winds mean nothing to us aspiring Pokemon masters. But enough about mobile games – it’s time to talk comics!
This week I’ve picked up a gem from the folks at Valiant Entertainment – the excellently written Faith, by Jody Houser (Orphan Black) and drawn by Francis Portela (Marvel Zombies, Trinity of Sin: Pandora) and Marguerite Sauvage (Thor, DC Bombshells). Despite being relatively low-profile, compared to some of the bigger fish in the proverbial comic pool, Valiant has been around for a long time. Their universe dates back to the early ’90s and they’ve got a pretty large roster of heroes running around. The titular Faith – Faith Herbert, aka. the psiotic (read: telekinetic) heroine Zephyr – has been around for most of that time, though not without some struggles. After standing out despite poor writing in her original ensemble series (1992′s Harbinger) and retreading similar ground in the following reboot, it’s this current reboot that’s finally done her justice. See, Faith is a plus-sized woman, and despite a well developed, positive character, was relegated to “walking fat joke” status in most of her previous appearances. While she’s been poorly treated by her previous appearances, her first solo outing is a resounding success.
After leaving the Harbinger Renegades, Faith Herbert decides to go it solo and make it on her own. Taking her cues from classic heroes like Superman, albeit with a modern twist, she’s living the double life – a day job as a content creator at a Buzzfeed clone, and a night job as L.A.’s leading superhero. While it’s not as easy as it looks, Faith is determined to make the most of her new start. Unfortunately, a mysterious cult has started kidnapping young psiots, and without her team at her back, Faith has to get to the bottom of things solo.
Despite being a miniseries, the collected edition (Hollywood and Vine) makes for a fantastic story that honestly left me wanting more. Thankfully, from what I’ve been able to work out (Valiant’s website is a tad confusing) there’s a full, ongoing series on the way – or at least, that’s the impression I’ve got. Houser’s writing perfectly suits the characters, and it’s instantly engaging – it’s similar in tone to modern gems like G.
Willow Wilson’s Ms Marvel. The different, yet meshing styles of Portela and Sauvage’s art work perfectly – Portela does the majority of the art, while Sauvage handles fantasy/dream sequences. Despite being relatively unaware of the Valiant lineup, Faith is written in such a way that while there are references to wider stories – such as the aforementioned Harbinger comic – the book is immediately accessible, and there’s no required reading to get to grips with Faith, her powers, and the Valiant universe.
One of my favourite things is the book’s attitude towards Faith’s figure – while her costume isn’t particularly flattering at times, and her weight is obvious, it’s never treated as an issue, or even mentioned at all – one of her most obvious features is a complete non-issue, and allows for diversity without going over the top, much like the aforementioned Ms Marvel series. All up, Faith is a fantastic character, and Houser’s writing brings out the best in her, while still crafting a compelling story around her. Definitely pick this one up!
Written by Alastair McGibbon