Comic book publisher Valiant had exactly one new release this week, and for me, it’s one of the most important releases of the year: Faith. Why do I feel so strongly about this release? Because women are still heavily underrepresented in the world of comic books (just check out Hanley’s statistics if your think otherwise), and images of women superheroes that are realistic and relatable to many women/young girls are still rare. Now I know some of you are balking at this and thinking that all women aren’t large, and therefore, Faith is less relatable. But it’s not all about her size. So before I get ahead of myself, let’s take a closer look at the comic.

First, Jody Houser (W) and Francis Portela (A) pay homage in very subtle ways to some of the comic book greats like Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man. For instance, Faith overhears her neighbors doing improv and one says, “I ACQUIRED THESE NUCLEAR WARHEADS TO HELP US TAKE CARE OF OUR SPIDER PROBLEM” to which Faith thinks, “RADIOACTIVE SPIDERS. HEH” which is clearly a Spidey reference. Later, when relating her back story as the narrator, she relates, “. . . A HARD-HITTING JOB IN JOURNALISM WOULD LET ME PAY THE BILLS AND KEEP MY EAR TO THE GROUND. DON’T MESS WITH THE CLASSIC SECRET IDENTITY, RIGHT?” (Superman), and “(NOT THAT VIGILANTES CAN’T BE SUPER COOL TOO. I’M NOT JUDGING” (Batman). We also learn that this is the first time Faith is out on her own, having left boyfriend and superhero group back on the east coast while she’s in LA.

Faith #1

We also learn that she loves comics and has found a great comic book store in Burbank. From the beginning, we are setup to see Faith as a down to earth, regular woman out on her own and learning her way. Because of the wonderful portrayal of the character, the reader gets the sense she is approachable and someone you might meet at work and hang out with.

She’s down to earth in other ways as well. Let’s be honest, if you or I lived in LA and had to deal with the traffic to and from work on a daily basis, we would likely use any super power in our possession to make that commute easier, right? Well, Faith is no different. Why put up with gridlock when you have the perfect solution at your disposal to the problem. Fly to work. As Faith exclaims, “MAKES FOR A PRETTY AWESOME COMMUTE.” I  can’t imagine anyone arguing with that logic.

Faith #5

So let’s address the elephant in the room right now: her size. If it’s an issue for you, I got nothing. If it’s refreshingly surprising to you, then I’m on your side. What’s more, not one time, NOT ONE SINGLE TIME, is her size even remotely hinted at during the entire comic. The creators are not using Faith as a way to produce commentary on society’s weight issues, if that’s what you want to call it. They have simply given Faith her own superhero title that will be relatable to many. Jody Houser was asked in an interview with Comics Alliance if her plus size would come up. Houser responds:

I think it’s fine to address it if it comes up in a way that makes sense for the overall story, but I don’t want to shoehorn something in just to call attention to it either. The way I keep phrasing it is that she’s a superhero who’s plus size rather than a plus-size superhero, which I feel is an important distinction to make. She’s too rich a character to be defined solely by her body type.

EXACTLY. This book is not about the size of Faith’s body, but her need to go out on her own and find herself as a lone superhero, not a member of a team as she was in Harbinger. I truly feel that the creators have their fingers on the pulse of what it means in America to be a single woman working in today’s society. I expect great things from this comic in the months to come. I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

Faith can be purchased at your local book store or on Comixology.

 

Overall Score
95 %

Faith, from Harbinger comic, goes it alone in her own series. Time to find out who she is and who she wants to become.

Story Line 90%
Art 100%
Writing 100%
Newness 100%

About The Author

My name is Dianna, and I hail from the land of the lakes, aka Michigan. My full time job has me running a writing center, teaching writing classes (hopefully soon teaching a comics course), and doing all sorts of techy things, since that’s what I did in a previous life.

At this point in my life, comics are both my passion and my research. I am lucky in that I get to combine my passion into my everyday work. But here at Destroy the Cyborg I get to have fun and chat about what I'm reading. Feel free to chime in on my post, even if it's to tell my how dead wrong I got something.

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