I picked up Faith Vol. 1: Hollywood and Vine with zero knowledge of the backstory, I actually thought it was a stand alone story but as it turns out, it’s part of the Harbinger series on Valiant by the very funny Joshua Dysart.
Faith Herbert aka Zephyr (what a great Super Hero name, right?) is “orphaned at a young age, Faith Herbert – a psionically gifted “psiot” discovered by the Harbinger Foundation – has always aspired to greatness. But now this once ordinary teenager is taking control of her destiny and becoming the hard-hitting hero she’s always known she can be – complete with a mild-mannered secret identity, unsuspecting colleagues, and a day job as a reporter that routinely throws into her harms way! Well, at least she thought it would… When she’s not typing up listicles about cat videos, Faith makes a secret transformation to patrol the night as the City of Angels’ own leading superhero – the sky-soaring Zephyr!
But flying solo is going to be tougher than Zephyr ever thought when she uncovers a deep-rooted alien conspiracy. Two-bit burglars and car thieves are one thing, but when the world needs a hero to stave off a full-blown extraterrestrial invasion, will Faith find herself in over her head…or ready for her biggest challenge yet?” from Valiant
It’s no secret, I love Los Angeles, it’s my favorite city and I live here! So when I get to read great stories that take place here, I get even more excited! From her studio apartment in Van Nuys to her totally LA job at Zipline, and using one of her super powers to escape traffic, it’s a perfect modern LA story.
Bonus points, the trade paperback collections have names like “Hollywood and Vine” and the upcoming “California Scheming.” Yes, please!
Faith’s Secret Identity
Like I said Faith works at a place called Zipline which is essentially Buzzfeed, where she writes posts about pop culture and guys and big news items, so essentially Faith is us! To protect herself (and everyone around her) Faith pulls a Clark Kent and lives as “Summer Smith” during the day, including red wig and lumping clothing. She boss is that psychotic looking woman in the dark red bob above aka my new cosplay.
The Art and The Story
It may have been super obvious to other readers, but it took me a few times to figure out that the switch between the art of Francis Portela (above) and the art Marguerite Sauvage (below) is supposed to illustrate a switch between what’s happening in Faith’s real life and what’s going on in Faith’s fantasy world. Once I made that connection it made sense that Marguerite’s art was brightly colored, cutesy and almost like it’s a perfect world Faith imagines and not what’s really going on around her.
Herein lies my beef with the art of Faith Vol 1… now, I know variant covers and alternate art and even the line drawings in the back are DIFFERENT than the actual illustration and they’re supposed to be and I also know there are deadlines that artists have to meet and lots of other variables we don’t know as readers. BUUUUT I just gotta say it, the art in Faith is up and down and all over the place. For a comic that is supposed to be body positive and usher in a new era of super heroes that don’t fit the typical mould, Francis Portela drew Faith like a lump and formless creature on many pages. Sure, she doesn’t have the typical chiseled body of someone like Wonder Woman but her face shouldn’t look like a man’s or her body a circle with tree trunk legs and no body or muscle definition. COME ON. Look at the Marguerite pages above and below, Faith is plus sized yet still looks like a human being and not a side show of indistinguishable, rushed shapes.
Ok, complaining aside, I loved the extra art gallery included in the back of the collection. Colleen Coover’s cover for the comic book #3 in the Faith series is probably my favorite and reminds me the most of being young and fun and an early professional in Los Angeles.
THIS is how women (and plus sized women, I imagine) want to see themselves.
The story by Jody Houser is fresh and young and feels like Faith could be one of my friends. She watches “CW” shows, she fangirls over actresses she loves and get excited about a possible new boyfriend. Faith tells the story of so many women like myself… minus the flying and psiot powers but you get what I’m saying.
Faith is worth picking up for your collection and to add to your pull list. We need more stories like this in the comic book work. Kudos to Valiant, Jody and the artists for bringing Faith to life.
Have you read Faith? What do you think about her Ex? Will be want back in with Faith?