I like Faith.
As a character, she’s a long-time coming. Women have too-long been presented in media (especially comic books) as being impossibly proportioned to attract a certain demographic. The problem with that…it aint’ real, folks. If Meghan Trainor taught us nothing else, it’s that it’s okay to be cool and curvy and women should embrace their natural beauty. Faith gives little girls a role-model that doesn’t make them want an eating disorder.
So, as a full-figured woman, not only does Faith not conform to the physical expectations of superheroes, but her personality is believable: she’s sweet and kind, fun, a good friend. And her power’s kick-ass: flight and what appears to be a limited telekinesis. This is someone you want on your side.
Now, Faith #9 is not the series’ strongest entry. For one, I’m not generally a fan of one-off, self-contained stories. I prefer my comics a little more serial than that. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with a story being contained within a single issue, but typically for superhero titles, this format doesn’t really work.
In fact, the only comic issue I’ve read where this format actually served the story was Wolverine and the X-Men #17, which focused on a wacky character called Doop and showed his perspective on many events in a few quick snapshots.
I wanted to give Faith the benefit of the doubt, and I thought maybe the problem didn’t belong to the book, that the problem was me. After all, I approached the story of the hero called Zephyr as a superhero book, but maybe it’s not? Admittedly, I’m not that familiar with Faith. But as I did a little research, it’s clear that this beloved character, in her best-selling series, is indeed a superhero book. And I just met her at an awkward stage.
Here’s my problem with this issue: it feels far too rushed. The entire book hinges on a new hire to the magazine where Faith is working, under a pseudonym, as Faith (like Tony Stark) is well-known as the character Zephyr. As Faith and her co-workers continually make excuses to where Faith runs off to every time tragedy strikes the city so the new hire doesn’t catch on, the pace moves far too quickly, doesn’t segue properly, and ultimately doesn’t deliver the way it should. I’m not saying every superhero comic should be action-packed, but there should be at least a little to sate those fans expecting it. Also, the dialogue is weak for much of the book, but that’s because it’s hard to write a story like this in only 20-some pages, and in the end, the narrative’s payoff doesn’t…pay off.
Maybe I watch too much TV these days, but there’s an easy fix. What would have served Faith better is to divide this story up over a few issues, making it the B story and a subplot, as the narrative isn’t strong enough to serve as the A story. Rather than having the action scenes that Faith covertly flies-off to handle limited to a few panels, the action could be showcased a little more, and the new hire character’s story could be told more slowly and deliberately over several issues.
Thankfully, the book is beautifully drawn with pencils by Kate Niemczyk.
All that being said, Faith is a character that is relevant to today’s social landscape, and it’s a book I would be proud to have my daughter reading. While this issue fell a little flat for me, it likely won’t with younger readers.
Faith #9 is available now!