Howdy Amigos!

It’s been a long time since we last had a comic book review up on the blog. In fact, the last time we did one was waaaaay back, when Richard wasn’t too impressed by the current run of Guardians Of The Galaxy.  I figure as he and I are comicbook nerds and some of you probably are too, it makes sense to bring you more of the kind of content you are looking for and we like sharing.

I thought I had pretty much seen it all in the Superhero sub-genre of comics. I have experienced the death and rebirth of many of my favourite powered icons, I have seen teams of heroes tear each other apart and even kill one another in the name of whichever cause seems worth fighting for at any given moment. I have seen Superheros tackle the gods in the heavens and the foulest demons from hell, but one thing I can honestly say I have never seen is a Super Hero rescue a bunch of adorable puppies from heavily armed thugs and this is just one example of the incredibly vibrant and funny scenes from ‘Faith- Hollywood and Vine’. The graphic novel is a collection of issues #1-4 in the mini series and having just completed the book I am hankering for more!

Somehow, writer Jody Houser has managed to lovingly embrace every well worn stereotype and cliche from Superhero comics and yet still made ‘Faith’ feel fresh and new. Perhaps it’s down to her hero Faith Herbert aka Summer Smith aka ‘Zephyr’. At a time when comic books are dominated by brooding vigilantes and heroes that are constantly questioning their place in the world, ‘Faith’ is unashamedly positive in her outlook. She choose to believe in the best in people and herself, and her infectious enthusiasm leaps of the page as you read.  Houser includes plenty of witty dialogue whilst also ensuring that Faith is a fully fleshed out character (she loves sci-fi and thinks Joss Wheddon is god) that deals with the everyday problems that the average person faces in their daily life. The supporting characters all feel like the kind of people you would come across if you were a superhero with a secret identity and the practicalities of dealing with that. The references to other superhero stories come thick and fast through a zippy and fun plotline that deals with conspiracy, kidnapping and the place of gifted people in the world.  There’s even room for a fun blossoming romance between Faith and another character, that just adds another dimension to her already hugely charming character.

The artwork is sensational too, thanks to some great panels from industry legend Francis Portella(Legion Of Heroes, Black Panther). Portella brings a great marriage of realistic flesh tones and body movements whilst also capturing the dynamics of the action set pieces perfectly. Character expressions are are vivid and realistic, and Faith looks suitably majestic in all her flight scenes;

Just one example of Portella’s work capturing Faith in flight

‘Faith’ also features a number of funny dream sequences, which help to tell us more about Herbert’s psyche and her similarities with us. The artwork for these is handled by  Marguerite Sauvage (DC Comics Bombshells), and it brings just the right amount of ethereal beauty to remind the audiences that these are the dreams of a vivid imagination! The use of colour is also superb not just in these panels but throughout the book.

Marguerite Sauvage’s beautiful work in ‘Faith-Hollywood and Vine’

If you are after a new book that captures all of the exciting elements of reading a superhero story but with a fresh perspective and a health dose of satire and positivity, you can’t do much better than this one. It has all the elements the comic book fan should want and more. Faith is the hero that this ever changing society needs. and I for one hope she’s around for a long time.

Final Verdict: Recommended!

Jason P.