Faith and the Future Force #1
Written by Jody Houser
Art by Stephen Segovia, Barry Kitson and Ulises Arreola
Lettering by Dave Sharpe
Published by Valiant Entertainment
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
Faith Herbert gets to live that time travel life in the debut of Faith and the Future Force. Time is under assault and Neela, the Timewalker needs some major back-up if she is going to preserve the timeline. Enter Faith Herbert, who is still reeling and keeping a low profile thanks to the fallout of “The Faithless.”
Though writer Jody Houser uses some of Faith’s recent exploits as set dressing, this debut issue again displays Valiant’s commitment to accessibility and thrills when it comes to their characters. Longtime Faith devotees will find a lot to enjoy here, but so will those new to Valiant’s unconventionally entertaining takes on superheroics and event storytelling. Neatly contained, but still able to take full advantage of its own time-bending concept, Faith and the Future Force #1 is yet another charming showing from one of Valiant’s consistently entertaining new A-listers.
Faith may be grounded for the time being thanks to some false accusations of murder, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still superheroing to be done. Jody Houser, who has provided plenty of fantastic stories for Faith so far, starts to think a bit bigger with this debut, presenting readers with a seemingly simple story that she gradually reveals to be anything but. Using some tried-and-true staples of the time travel genre, Houser gets Faith tangled up in the Timewalker’s web early and then starts to draw it even tighter as the story reaches its climax.
Now the tropes of time loops and cryptic items recovered from the future that point to a certain hero (in this case, a charred bit of Faith’s costume) are nothing new, but Houser does her damnedest to put life back into them thanks to her characterization - a major selling point of the Faith title as a whole. Houser’s use of the three main characters starting the story, Faith, Seela, and Seela’s partner-in-temporal-crime Ank, broadcasts their personalities well along with their standing in the story in terms of experience with time travel. Faith may be excited to take her first jaunt into time, but she quickly learns, time travel has a cost and it always will.
Keeping the title visually in line with Valiant’s overall look and tone is Harbinger artist Stephen Segovia and colorist Ulises Arreola. Segovia, who has had plenty of experience handling the adventures of Faith, brings the same focus on emotion and movement to this debut as he did to Harbinger. Along with some choice costume designs, in particular Seela’s new time-armor, Segovia and Arreola lean into the heart of these characters, choosing to highlight their reactions and facial expressions instead of exploitive character poses; though the women of the Future Force are given quite a few fantastic “hero poses” throughout.
Giving this debut an extra visual edge and another name to add to the roster of Faith guest artists is legendary penciler Barry Kitson, who handles the issue’s Groundhog Day-like back half. For reasons too spoilery to get into here, Faith finds herself unknowingly replaying the previous day, and Kitson takes Segovia’s heartfelt visuals and adds an extra layer of smoothness to it. Kitson offers a nice contrast to the angular, almost blocky pencils from Segovia and continues Faith’s streak of having not one, but two visualists working to make her adventures leap off the page. Kitson, unfortunately, doesn’t get to get in on the issue’s sole set piece, but his steady hand at displaying emotion is still a welcome presence nonetheless.
Though not nearly as action-packed as I would have liked and a bit light on Barry Kitson, Faith and the Future Force #1 is a charming statement of intent for this new miniseries and the creative team behind it. Jody Houser, Stephen Segovia, Ulises Arreola, and Barry Kitson take Faith Herbert to the next level, pitting her against a robotic despot bend on destroying reality, which is a pretty huge step up from just aliens and bent-out-of-shape former fanboys. But if this debut issue is any indication, that frakking toaster doesn’t stand half a chance against Faith and the Future Force.