Faith #1 has been one of the most anticipated Comics announced from 2015. And probably the most talked about new comic series from Valiant in years. After a reboot of the Valiant-verse at the end of 2015 (check out The Book of Death event trade paperback, now available in stores), Valiant began pressing their suggested hot release, Wrath of the Eternal Warrior. But the Eternal Warrior announcement was soon shadowed by Faith, and the anticipation for her very first ever #1 had been killing devote fans and new readers alike.
A still adapting psiot, “a human being born with incredible abilities”, Faith Herbert, aka Zypher, has been living the superhero life as part of The Renegades from the Harbinger Foundation. But after years of protecting the world from the most powerful and dangerous villains the world had known, Faith is ready to settle down. She wears a wig, takes on a new public identity and gets a job at a local blog as an entertainment writer. Faith wants to take control of her life and that includes becoming her own type of superhero. Saving the day, one puppy at a time.
I have no problem admitting the fact that Valiant is still rather new to me. I have picked up a title here or there, and all I could ever really tell anyone is that Valiant Comics has some of the strongest art talents in the industry. Rai, a spirit guardian who protects the nation of Japan in the 41st century, by Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain, was easily one of the most beautiful books that I had read since Alex Ross and Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come. But the wordiness and the references to other pieces of the Valiant-verse, it caused me to stop reading after only a few issues. So, when asked to review Faith #1, I did not know what I would think.
But Faith was a pretty wonderful read, even with my very limited background knowledge. Though a little research was needed to completely comprehend a few references to Faith’s previous life, the first issue read fairly easy and can be picked up confidently by a newer reader.
(Max Ride: Ultimate Flight) was perfect to pen Faith’s first on-going solo story. A feminist, through and through, Houser is not the type to play by the superhero body type rules. Unlike some female characters, such as DC Comic’s Amanda Waller, Faith would never be the type to lose a few pounds for a little extra rack movement. Faith is a plus-sized, crime fighting, comic book fangirl who is proud of whom she is. And Houser would never have it any other way.
Houser writes Faith us a true do-gooder, who every so infrequently drifts into a comic book daydream. Dreams where she saves the good looking knight in distress. But the reality is much harder than fiction, and Faith will learn that in the most explosive way.
However, with all the pressure from Valiant to make Faith out to be the next big (no pun intended) female comic book hero, she seems a little too… Cute! She wears a curly red wig and thick glasses as her alter ego, Summer Smith, a la Melissa McCarthy in last year’s bomb, Spy. And her very first feat as a solo superhero is saving puppies? Though the barely introduced government/large corporate conspiracy in the background leads to a little more of a grown-up book, the story almost seems to be a forced goody-goody-girly story. Faith is a strong, independent woman who is proud of her looks. We do not need her to be extra cuddly.
The art lived up to Valiant’s typical levels but only added to Faith’s growing cuteness. Francis Portela (Green Lantern) demonstrates a softer side to the superhero image with her peacefulness and good nature. He allows for several close-ups, that almost permits the reader a glimpse into her soul. One that is sad but strong, lost but undiscouraged. And, behind it all, hidden beneath the blue eyes, is a simple comic-book nerd, striving for a better tomorrow.
Then there is Marguerite Sauvage! From Variant Covers in Marvel to DC Comic’s Bombshells, Sauvage is gaining a reputation as one of the most loved new female artists. So, when Faith drifts into her subconscious, daydreaming about the perfect man in need of her super support, it only makes sense that it would be in the sweet pastels of Marguerite Sauvage.
All in all, Faith #1 was a “cute” read. A little background research may be beneficial, but it is mostly an easy pickup title for even the newest reader. The book did not leave as big of a mental splash as Valiant Entertainment may have preferred, but Faith does leave a big impression on the heart strings. Make sure to stop into your local comic book retailer and grab Faith #1 today.