Summer Smith is your average young woman, working at a slightly sleazy content-driven website despite her dreams of arriving in Los Angeles and landing a big-time journalism job. But what her colleagues don’t know is that “Summer Smith” doesn’t exist. The red-haired girl in the next cubicle isn’t a mild-mannered 20-something putting listicles together all day and binging her favorite sci-fi show at night. Actually, her name is Faith Herbert, and while, yes, she spends an unhealthy amount of time daydreaming about her universe’s hot Chris and fancasting her favorite comics, she also spends a lot of time listening to the police scanner on her phone.
Oh, and also she’s a superhero.
This past #SundayFunday, I had the good luck to finally sit down with the recently released FAITH VOL. 1: HOLLYWOOD AND VINE [Jody Hauser, words / Marguerite Sauvage, art]. (Once you read the trade, you’ll understand how clever that title really is.) It 112% wasn’t what I expected, but I did 112% love it.
I admit that I felt like I had missed something when I first read the brief synopsis that opened the book. I still feel like maybe I somehow missed a previous trade, or even a short-lived solo series, but once I decided just to embrace the story, it became easier for me to accept that Faith’s background was largely need-to-know — it would appear on the page if I needed it — and I enjoyed the story thoroughly.
The trade opens on two bald and obviously sickly people in scrubs fleeing in the woods from several mysterious entities with glowing eyes. We then forget about that plotline for the next three or four issues as we meet Faith, a.k.a. Summer Smith, and follow her as she unravels the mystery herself. Following the tragic loss of a teammate, Faith has recently left her old super-team/family behind in favor of pursuing her own story, all while hoping to fly under the radar in her meek journalist persona (sound familiar?).
It’s a story that involves TV stars; reality-show-starring exes; literal, actual aliens; a boy named Archer who is actually an archer; a ton of pop culture references to superhero movies, comic book lore, Buffy, and everything in between; and a whole lot of fun.
My one complaint with FAITH is that it felt like things just *happened* when it was most convenient for them to do so. Yes, Faith absolutely put in the legwork (er, brain work? because she uses telekenesis to fly?) to figure everything out, but there were several details that felt like nice little worldbuilding tidbits that actually ended up woven into the plot. Not so much a solid negative strike against the book, just a bit jarring, at times.
Also, the big bad kind of looked like Christopher Walken, and I’m disappointed that [spoiler] he wasn’t actually Christopher Walken.
Overall, FAITH was a ridiculously delightful read that left me desperately wanting more. I’m proud of Valiant for giving an overweight heroine a shot, and to the creators for never even commenting on Faith’s size or shape.
I’ve personally come a long way into love-thyself territory in recent years, but Faith (and FAITH) just made it all the more clear that I am fine just the way I am — tall, fat, and with aspirations of marrying a hot Chris. She told me it was okay to write fanfic, and to watch bad TV, and to sometimes need to take a step back from the real world.
Faith just…is. She exists. She’s a hero and a lover and an ex-girlfriend and a friend and a colleague and a fangirl, and that’s all okay. And I’ll be following her story for as long as she has one to tell.
Read FAITH? Have comic suggestions? Comment below and let’s chat!