Title: Faith #1 (of 4)
Author: Jody Houser
Art: Francis Portela (fantasy sequences by Marguerite Sauvage)
Cover art: Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic (A), Marguerite Sauvage (B)
On sale January 27, 2016, $3.99
Faith Herbert was raised by her grandmother after her parents died in a car accident. She loved science fiction and fantasy growing up, so it’s no surprise that when she learned she had superhuman powers, she wanted to be a superhero. Faith, and others like her, is a psiot, with the ability to fly and use telekinetics. Before this solo venture, she was a member of a group called the Renegades. It’s not entirely clear in this issue why she left them, though it seems to involve a breakup, as well as her teammates moving on to different things (like Torque’s new reality show). Faith, however, has a big heart and an innate desire to do good and help others. Now Faith lives in California, and is trying to find her own path in life. She’s created a secret identity – Summer Smith – and works for Zipline, an online company similar to Buzzfeed. While her greatest joy in life is probably flying with abandon, the second thing that fulfills her is helping others. And while fending off puppy-nappers is all well and good, a tip from an old friend about missing psiots is what really gets her excited. Unfortunately, Faith may be in over her head flying solo on this one.
From the pages of Harbinger comes Faith “Zephyr” Herbert for a limited time. You’ll have to forgive my lack of previous knowledge of the character (or Valiant in general), but that said, it isn’t necessary to pick up and enjoy this book. It stands alone very well. It’s also great to see a woman of Faith’s body type in general, not to mention on the cover of her own book. There’s no mention of her weight anywhere, nothing about her body. Which is actually nice. She’s just a normal person. Who happens to be able to fly and use a telekinetic field. She appears comfortable in her own skin, and she’s just there, doing her thing. So what you have is the visual of a larger woman, doing things like any other person would. Like her weight is an after thought, and that’s how it should be. It doesn’t make her different, it doesn’t make her special. Faith the person is special because of who she is. Because of her strength and strong desire to help others. But drawn as she is, she’s representing a segment of readers who rarely see themselves visualized, especially in heroic ways. Unfortunately, Portela still somehow manages to put her in the kind of spine breaking poses we’re used to seeing on other superheroines (though fortunately very few of them). His art is otherwise pleasing, and Faith has some great expressions. Of course, my love affair with Marguerite Sauvage insists I praise the handful of panels she gets to illustrate for Faith’s fantasy sequences (plus her awesome B-cover). Houser writes a solid script, filled with nerd culture references (like The Fifth Element, Red Dwarf, and Doctor Who), and plenty of information on who Faith is for those new to her story. It’s like running into an old friend – there’s no question about who she is or what her passions are. Hers is a life in progress, but it’s still a new beginning, because it actually is a new beginning for Faith herself. You can check out the first few pages of the first issue in the preview we posted previously.
Advance copy provided by Valiant.