Last October Valiant announced a mini-séries who’s sole hero would be one of the Harbinger member : Faith.
Without surprise (the character being obese and a woman), american medias started a huge hype about a character who could represent the entire population of Tumblr (I will obviously make new friends over this one).
Now that the first issue is out, let’s see what it’s worth !
In the first issue we follow Faith who is trying to start a new life as a Super-hero in solo. She will juggle between her identity as a civilian and her patrols as Faith to make justice prevail in California. In order to do this and give the illusion that she’s a normal human being she took a job in a « news » outlet very similar to Buzzfeed.
She will also try to fight a few criminal by stopping a puppy robbery or by trying to save some Psiots escaped from a camp (The psiots are the mutant of the Valiant Universe)
Faith is not a bad character herself. Her story with Torque was interesting and touching because it taught acceptation of others and to not be ashamed of our body or physical condition. Faith was (obviously) obese while Torque was originally severely disabled. His perfect body was only there because of his « mutant » abilities.
It was great, unfortunately Faith seems to lose everything that made her « human » or likable. She is just a bunch of pop-culture reference squeezed in one character.
Everything in this issue gives the sensation to be artificial just to be liked by a certain category of comc-book readers. And I know, the ultimate goal of a book is to sell by being appreciated and creating characters the reader can identify to. But throwing pop-culture reference at almost every page can become too much.
The entire segment at « not Buzzfeed » where Faith works is a drag and it’s the first time I feel this way about a Valiant book since they rebooted their entire universe. All the characters are clichés with Faith’s boss being a kind of bitchy or the cynical guy who work here only to graduate/earn more money but hate what he’s doing.
The feeling of the character and situation being superficial is not reduced when the first crime arrives. She comes across a gang that just stole puppies and stock them in cages in order to (easy guess) sell them on the black market later. I am not saying that the situation would not happens in real life but in this particular book it just too silly for the sake of being silly.
And it’s a pity since there’s a lot the author could’ve done with the character. Especially with the begining of the book and the situations with the Psiots. At least this part of the story is coming back at the end.
Francis Portela is in charge of the art and is delivering an acceptable work for most part even if some close-ups are a bit scary because of the characters not being models. It’s the same problem for the main character that make us think « can we take an obese or ugly super-hero seriously ? » (and no, I won’t try to answer this question). The fantasy moments are done by Marguerite Sauvage and her style is really appropriate for the romantic parts.
This issue is just an average comic-book with too many stereotypical situations. However, I can hope that it’s just a result of too many exposition in order to attract new readers. Maybe the rest of the mini will focus on more important/serious issues which is what the end of the book seems to tease.