For fans of Valiant and the Faith Herbert character, Faith and The Future Force has been one of the most anticipated series of the year. A four issue time travel series involving Doctor Who and all around Sci-Fi fan, Faith, is a perfect scenario and I couldn’t wait to start reading this. The issue absolutely lives up to the hype and feels like a gift to Faith readers.
The story seems simple at first. An evil robot has learned how to dismantle the fabric of time itself. Time traveler Neela, Timewalker and her partner Ank recruit the flying Psiot Faith to help stop the robot. The evil robot’s dialogue is surprisingly charming (to the reader, at least) and includes all sorts of pop culture, time travel references. It belies the amount of damage the robot is shown to be capable of. Doctor Who, Terminator, Star Trek, and Red Dwarf all get referenced in this issue. Jody isn’t playing around here. I won’t spoil what happens once the action starts, but the story takes a nice turn and you learn why it is called Faith and the Future Force. We do get a fair bit of mystery in this story. Why was Faith recruited and why is this Robot set to destroy time itself?
Faith’s reaction when Neela pops the “come with me” question and Faith understands time travel is involved is priceless. It’s a dream come true for her and for fans of the series. The payoff is huge because of all the nods we’ve been given throughout her previous series (notably at issue 1 of her mini series). I couldn’t help but shout ‘Yes!’ when that moment happened. Faith is the heart of the Valiant Universe and thrives on her positive outlook. It felt so deserving for her and we’ve been able to build such a connection with the character that it felt like we were living out the epic moment with her.
Jody Houser seems to have been born to write this series. Her knowledge of general geek culture has always lent itself well to the series, but much like Faith, she gets to take it to the next level in this series. I can’t imagine how much fun she must be having writing this and I’m eager to read the next issues when she has more of the Valiant Universe to play with. Overall, the pace is quick and the writing is tight and seems effortless. Faith is exactly what you expect in this issue. She is sincere, wide-eyed, and in awe, all while coming to grips with what real-time travel is like and the real sense of danger involved. The expected Sci-Fi time travel references are used to enhance the story and don’t come across as forced or cringe-worthy. It’s worth noting that despite the series being a continuation of the previous twelve issue run, this is a very accessible book for new readers. In a single page, the reader is caught up to Faith’s current story arc, recapping what happened previously, and that Faith is currently grounded. She has been spending a lot of time at Zipline and in her mild-mannered identity because she needs to clear her name before she can be a public super hero again. Sounds like a perfect time for an escape. I did have issues with the previous Faithless arc and how the villains didn’t seem like they posed any real tangible danger to Faith, but this issue does a great job of raising the stakes and balancing the level of danger with the level of humor.
The art was excellent, but I do have a minor criticism and that involves the coloring and shading. The art looked a bit too digital and artificial. While similar in style to previous Faith artists such as Francis Portela, Pere Perez, Joe Eisma, etc., I felt the combination of Stephen Segovia and Barry Kitson with Ulises Arreola didn’t quite come together as I expected. I’m not opposed to digital work in the least, especially when it can subtly enhance the art and improve lighting, etc. However, the digital color work is noticeable and waxy to the point of being slightly distracting. I am likely nitpicking in this case and I’m sure many readers may not notice this or care. I also missed the small dream sequences that were contained in previous issues featuring Marguerite Sauvage’s art. Unfortunately, this story didn’t lend itself to those types of scenes, so they aren’t here.
I give this issue 4.5 out of 5 stars. I couldn’t ask for a better start to this series. This was a joy to read and I can’t wait to for the next issue. Faith is one of the best characters in all of comics and I can’t think of a better time to get on board. Go out and buy this issue (and then pick up the previous series while you’re at it), you won’t be disappointed.
Written by Jody Houser
Art by Stephen Segovia and Barry Kitson
Color by Ulises Arreola
Published by Valiant Comics