Get ready for a special double-sized issue. No, not twice as many pages. Twice as many Faiths! Will our heroine’s doppelganger be friend or foe?
Faith #4 continues to bring the balance of heart and humor that followers of the series have quickly come to expect. There’s a lightheartedness that isn’t present in the majority of Valiant series, which makes it all the more welcome. Having books like this and A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong really rounds out the grimmer tone of their lineup; the ever serious Ninjak, Wrath of the Eternal Warrior and their like. This book, in particular, feels like it could fit in with some of the more offbeat superhero books popularized by Marvel in recent years.
It’d be a shame not to mention that the villains introduced thus far for Faith are a delight; Chris Chriswell the heinous Hollywood heartthrob, and Murder Mouse the convention robbing cosplayer. Both are examples of antagonists that fit in perfectly with the hero’s personality, as well as avoiding stereotypical villain characterization.
Jody Houser seems to have been the perfect choice to write this character. She uses every tool available to her for character reinforcement and development. Notably, in this issue, Faith’s overactive imagination allows Houser to give the reader a bit of insight into our leading lady’s priorities and proclivities. Also, not to waste an opportunity, Houser turns the dated genre trope of heroes fighting their doppelgangers on its head, managing to effectively explore some of Faith’s character traits. Who is Faith deep down, really? Is she a hero with a heart of gold? Or simply a fangirl who is in way over her head? Not that we haven’t seen heroics from Faith before, but the concept is more explicitly examined here.
Four issues in, Pere Perez and Marguerite Sauvage are maintaining their momentum on art duties. They are working great in tandem, both bringing their share of levity to the pages. Perez with exaggerated facial expressions in the main panels, and Sauvage with truly endearing situational work in the daydream panels. Notable examples would include scenes where the Faiths are fighting over Archer and another in which they examine a petite garment with supreme disdain. You can tell these artists are having a blast drawing Faith, which adds a lot to the value of the storytelling.
The panel layouts need their own separate mention. I have been impressed with them in this book from the get-go, and Faith #4 is no exception. Many pages feature unique, non-standard layouts. One great example is a scene in which our heroes speed through a hallway where the upper art panels make up the ceiling, and the lower ones are the floor. Even when a page is approaching a traditional grid layout, it’s still portrayed with some sort of twist or extra flair to set it apart.
I had nothing but good things to say about Andrew Dalhouse’s colors in my review of Faith #1, and my opinion hasn’t changed since then. The cooler tones, bordering on pastels, are a nice compliment to the penciling style and atmosphere of the book. Lighting continues to be a strong point for Dalhouse, as evidenced by the contrast in his interior and exterior scenes.
Faith might just be my favorite Valiant book right now. Houser and co. are telling stories that feel like classic superhero tales but within a very modern framework and ethos. There’s a little bit of something for everyone here, whether you’re a genre diehard or an indie-focused reader.
- Offbeat storytelling that still packs some punch
- Four issues, two cool new villains
- Helps bring a sense of fullness to the Valiant lineup
- Shoehorned “nerd culture” references (they are kind of growing on me)