Faith‘s first solo arc wraps up with explosions, revelations, and some faith in humanity. Is it good?
Faith #4 (Valiant Comics)
The story picks up with Torque in the middle of being brainwashed by the Vine, the alien race trying to destroy humanity. Faith gathers her friends and convinces Hadley to join them in infiltrating the Vine’s Hollywood mansion and rescuing the kidnapped psiots, giving her the first of two inspirational speeches in the issue (only one of which is successful). The high point of flirting with Archer and having him flirt back is quickly thwarted when their plan is discovered by the Vine, and they send the brainwashed Torque to fight Faith.
SPOILERS: Faith and friends manage to strip the brainwashed psiots of the helmets that were controlling them and they join the fight against their kidnappers. Faith manages to capture the Vine leader, while Torque’s fake reality show girlfriend escapes. Faith and Archer plan a future date (hopefully with less punching), Torque and Faith make social media inroads, and Faith’s prickly coworker invites her to game with him and his girlfriend. Faith’s life seems to be on a good path.
Is It Good?
It’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of grim dark in my comics. I can appreciate it, but those are never the books I’m going to truly enjoy. So Faith and her optimism, her ability to make dumb jokes and nerd references in the worst of circumstances, and the writer’s dedication to a positive tone, are so enjoyable to read. I have finished every issue of this book with a smile on my face, and while this first story arc ended rather quickly, it still felt satisfying and left me grinning at the final page.
I love how Jody Houser plays with superhero tropes and cliches, adding to the playful tone, and I never get tired of the constant reminders of what a huge geek Faith is. The ultimate fangirl-turned-superhero; let’s be honest, we all say “frak” and “gorram it” on the regular, right? Right? Just me? Because that is what makes the book upbeat, Faith never forgets how AWESOME being a superhero is. Sometimes it’s scary, and she struggles with the secret identity/protecting those around her as much as Clark Kent or Peter Parker, but she never loses the smile on her face as she soars through the air.
Francis Portela does his usual bang-up job on the art, getting in some extra excitement on the action scenes, with some truly gorgeous coloring by Andrew Dalhouse and Pete Pantazis–their sunset over LA streets near the end of the book is a particular standout. Marguerite Sauvage has a shorter fantasy sequence this week, but it’s as delightful as ever. And every week, the book gets wonderful variant covers by artists that really seem to get the book. Dan Parent’s cover for this issue stood out to me; I need this on a t-shirt:
The issue ends with what feels like a mission statement: “Maybe it’s the little changes that end up being the best ones. After all, it’s the big and the little moments that make it my story.”