Valiant’s newest character showpiece, Faith #1 by Jody Houser, Francis Portela, Marguerite Sauvage, Andrew Dalhouse and Dave Sharpe (with an excellent Joe Quinones cameo) is that mythical grail of comic books in this day and age—it is a perfect first issue.
The plot of the issue takes a backseat in many ways; this issue is more about who Faith is and why we should care about her and her ongoing adventures than it is about the evil plot she’ll have to foil. Although, fear not, there is an evil plot, and she will definitely have to foil it. Where this book really shines is taking the kind of character that would get played for laughs in a Big Two book and imbuing her with a metric ton of relatable qualities for the everyday nerd in the 21st century, an easygoing charm, and a capacity for kicking a lot of ass.
Houser and company are not perfect. There are a couple jokes in this issue that run a bit overlong, the villain/villainous forces don’t get a ton of definition, and the art is a bit uneven at times. Having said that, this book is hopeful without being cloying, self-aware without being cynical, and brings back that feeling of joyous wish fulfillment that created the best classic Superman stories. Faith is happy being herself, and that makes her a delight to read about. It certainly also doesn’t hurt that the creators are perfectly happy giving her cute things to do (like defending puppies from being shot)—she just knows that it’s kind of bullshit that the biggest crime she can stop at the moment is a puppynapping ring.
One of the biggest things killing the comics industry is the constant cycle of renewal that makes books so impenetrable to new readers. They can put out a new Amazing Spider-Man #1, but they’re not fooling anyone, and in Marvel’s case especially, they like to revert to the old numbering as a sales gimmick. Faith shines as a true jumping-on point—everything you need to know about Faith, you’ll find out in this issue. Everything you need to know about how she relates to the Valiant universe at large, you’ll find out in this issue. Everything you’ll need to know to keep you coming back for the next three issues: surprise, surprise, you’ll get that in this issue as well.
Valiant really kills it with their miniseries, every time. The Valiant, Divinity, The Delinquents, and Quantum & Woody Must Die have all been incredibly good, and easy to jump into for a new reader. Faith continues that tradition at the one big company with a cohesive universe that’s still young enough to support that kind of endeavor. I’m just glad they’re delivering that kind of quality yet again, and I applaud the entire team.
Faith #1 Writer: Jody Houser Artists: Francis Portela, Marguerite Sauvage, Joe Quinones Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Letterer: Dave Sharpe Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1/27/16 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital