Faith #2 picks up right where #1 left off. More setup heavy than it’s predecessor, the pacing suffers from a bit too much telling instead of showing. Great art and character development come in and save the issue. The final result is a good comic that focuses on setting up a cast for future issues. Spoilers Ahead. This issue opens up with Faith trapped by her celebrity crush (and potential arch-nemesis) Chris Chriswell. In his drawn out monologue, we learn his tragic back-story as an actor wanted to play the villain but was doomed to be cast as a hero. As villain origin stories go, it’s up there on the wacky scale. It’s one of the ways this issue feels like an old golden age book. His monologue and his use of hired goons with a gimmick are both are classic comic book tropes. There is even a panel dedicated to him pouring a glass of wine only to throw it to the ground in the following panel. But while writer Jody Houser seems to be embracing these old tropes for her villain, all of her other characters subvert their traditional role. For instance, later in the issue Klara, a character who under normal circumstances would remain in the dark about Faith’s superhero identity, actually pieces together the truth off panel. This kind of agency given to a side character reflects a change in the traditional dynamics of superhero and sidekick. By giving Klara the Tim Drake treatment, Houser presents her as a fully formed character with a life beyond the issue. I hope this type of out of the box thinking continues to be the norm in shaping other side characters in the series.
As for Faith herself, Houser continues to try to make the character likable, sometimes coming across as forced. Throughout the issue, Faith constantly alludes to different aspects of nerddom and the result is hit or miss. Sometimes they come across as genuine, but others feel shoehorned. Houser’s experience writing TV also affects her portrayal of Faith. The overarching voiceover/blog entry is pretty common TV trope, and Houser utilizes it in this issue. The result is a bit muddled. With the narration switching between internal character thoughts to blog entry without any announcement. It’s something that would only be a problem in comics since on TV we never hear the characters thoughts and any voiceover is almost instantly assumed to be some form of narration elsewhere. Yet, despite these small slips in the issue, Faith is still likable and genuine. You still want her to succeed and find the home she’s trying to find.
Pere Perez and Marguerite Sauvage are the art team on this series, and as far as house styles go, their interpretation of the Valiant house style is one of the best.
They make an excellent team. Their portrayal of Chris Chriswell is one of the best scowling, rage-filled villains I’ve seen. Layouts are also done well, providing some interesting configurations, but never distracting from the story. As I said earlier, this issue was a lot of monologues, but while the pace may have slowed during that portion of the issue, the art never sits back. The Chris Chriswell’s backstory pages are well done and interesting, keeping the reader intrigued throughout. They also excel in the few fight scenes they are given, fully capturing the ridiculous chaos of fighting a gang of look-alikes.
This issue has great art, decent pacing, and intriguing plot developments. It struggles in the beginning, telling us more than it shows, but by the end of the issue, there is a sense of beginning. Houser is still finding her feet, and that shows in this issue. But overall the issue is still a good time. There is a lot of hope in this issue, and I think it provides a lot of hope for the series. As I was reading, I kept thinking, “This is how it starts, this is how the story begins.” Now we get to see where it goes.
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Faith #2 Writer: Jody Houser Artist: Pere Perez and Marguerite Sauvage Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Format: Print/Digital