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FAITH #11

by Thegreatmagnet on May 03, 2017

Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Joe Eisma and Marguerite Sauvage
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Publisher: Valiant Comics


Faith is a great character, and she was a standout when she was introduced in the pages of Harbinger. She is huge fangirl of all things nerdy (Star Wars/Trek, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, all varieties of comics, etc.), so in many ways she is an avatar for the readers, who actually gets to participate in the fantastic superhero adventures that are unfolding. In the pages of Harbinger, she served as a welcome positive counter-balance to the heavy, gritty characters, always ready with a salient nerd reference for every situation and pushing the group towards the altruism of her favorite heroes. However, her own series has occasionally felt a little light and frivolous in terms of overall narrative heft. It’s a very self-contained story with few direct ties to other Valiant series, and it lacks the big stakes of Valiant’s other series.  Mainly it seems like a vehicle to define her character as an altruistic, street-level hero. It’s an archetype that is pretty familiar for fans of superhero comics, but essentially absent from Valiant’s line. The series is also unfailingly positive and consistently funny, much like the character herself.
 
If the emphasis of Faith’s solo series has been to build her up as a hero, much of that has been driven by her villains. The series has moved at a very fast pace to introduce a rogues gallery, culminating in an old-fashioned villain team-up as Faith’s ultimate rite of passage. Faith’s rogues gallery, the Faithless, are admittedly a little silly. A psiot cat, a dude in a knockoff Danger Mouse furry costume, a Hollywood actor typecast as a superhero, and a C-list reality star (who also happens to be an alien, and dated Faith’s ex-boyfriend). They all suffered defeat at the hands of Faith, and convinced themselves that she is their only obstacle to world domination, although there are a number of other more powerful players on Earth that could easily defeat them. Hell, they could just leave Los Angeles and probably not ever have to worry about Faith again! Overall, I find their antics pretty amusing, and I think that is what Houser is going for on this series. It’s a world of difference between this and some of the other heavier Valiant books that feature powerful, sinister villains. However, Faith is facing them all alone, and they have already demonstrated some impressive abilities. I’ll reserve my judgments about their competence until I see how the arc resolves – it’s a safe bet that Faith will triumph.
 
The Faithless’ plot was devised taking inspiration from classic comic book villains, which might explain why it comes across as fairly generic. It’s explained in a few panels: exhaust the hero with other opponents, turn the public against the hero, and strike when the hero is at her lowest. As with many moments throughout the series, it’s tough to determine if they are deconstructing superhero tropes, or if they are rehashing. How meta are they trying to be? Faith is obsessed with comic books, and she lives in a real life comic book. Does she imagine that people in another reality might read comic books about her? I wonder if she’ll use her knowledge of comics to get herself out of trouble and save the day in the next and final issue.
 
Artwise, the issue is solid. Marguerite Sauvage’s contributions on the fantasy sequences are beautiful as always. Joe Eisma does a good job on the bulk of the issue, and his style is perfectly suited to the book. It’s pretty cartoony with plenty of soft lines, but Joe does a great job with the action sequences. I also think love the way he draws the telepathic black cat, Dark Star. The colors by Andre Dalhouse also do a great job of creating a consistent cartoony vibe. This isn’t my style of art so much compared to some of Valiant’s other titles, but it is perfectly suited to the tone of the book. This title has had a number of talented artists over the run, but they’ve succeeded in defining a consistent, characteristic look.
 
It’s a common cycle. Every month I’m not looking forward to Faith that much, and every month it surprises me. Perhaps that’s the benefit of having measured expectations. I often think that I’d like to see her dealing with more substantial challenges, since she is such a great character, and I know that these stories are coming (check out Faith and the Future Force). Perhaps this series was just to give us a chance to meet Faith and get to know her, when she’s not facing a global existential threat. Perhaps this story arc will also have a lasting affect on her identity as a superhero leading her to a bigger role in future events. I know that there are some in the Valiant community that don’t care for the book, which is understandable given how much it differs from traditional Valiant titles. However, Faith (the comic) represents the same thing to the Valiant line that Faith (the character) represents within the universe itself – she is unfailingly positive (and funny!) amidst a backdrop of grim brutality, a beacon of altruism surrounded by morally grey characters. I think her importance will continue to grow.

TLDR: You can’t hate on Faith.
 

Our Score:

7/10

A Look Inside