A More Colorful Review – Faith

Reviewed by JustKay

Overview

“Faith” has great art, a safe but well written storyline that falls into a few too many tropes, and a handle on diversity that has some growing yet to do.

Reviewfaith_001_cover-a_djurdjevic-640x984

Hi Indie Comic Review readers, I’m Kayla one of the new writers! Most of you probably know me on the web by JustKay or some variation of that moniker. One of the things I’ll be tackling for ICR is bringing in a hard look at comics that claim some sort of title for diverse characters or story plot to let you know which ones are worth the dough and which are flops to be avoided.

The first comic for my new ‘A More Colorful Review’ column is “Faith” written by Jody Houser, art by Pere Perez and Marguerite Sauvage, published by Valiant Entertainment. Now that I’ve settled you in let’s jump right into the good stuff.

Writing

Plot wise the series has some growing to do. The definitely have the zany villains thing covered, I believe I actually said WTF out loud when the bad guy was finally named. But the story itself let things to be desired. To start off with I felt a little out of the loop not having read “The Renegades” first since they do reference the previous villain and what feel like major plot points that affect our hero’s, Faith’s, demeanor and how she tackles crime fighting. I also felt that when we finally found out what this horrible thing that happened was that it seemed to roll off of her back just a little too much. Something like that would effect a normal person, much less someone with powers, but what we see is a few panels of sad prose followed by a few more of her talking (if you can call it that) to her ex-superhero boyfriend about it. Having read comics since I was a little kid a lot of the story line will be familiar to the rest of you comic junkies out there, and easy to follow once you get into it. That said I do hope that “Faith” can use the great cast of characters they’ve set themselves up with to really grow into their own instead of remaining what now amounts to a spin-off series.

faith-1-1I do really feel like we are given a great deal of time to really come to love not only the main character but her growing, and fresh, relationships with those tied into her story. The cast is made of hacker, an archer, a movie star, the ex-boyfriend, and a rag tag group of coworkers all of which come in various races and sizes for the most part. Though both the ex-boyfriend and the archer, who is hinted at being the new love interest quite a bit, does fit the ‘white guy with blonde hair oh and is super hot’ trope which is a bit of a let down. Faith though is given just enough internet blogger goodness and super hero badass butt kicking that I believe she will become a source of inspiration for a lot of young girls out there just starting to read comics. Given how hard finding even that is sometimes I’ll take the win. But as with all good reviews the characters are all roses. Unfortunately the interactions between characters fell flat and unbelievable sometimes, and some parts of the plot felt like they were merely there to try and force some sort of awkward forced development which seemed to fail or completely be forgotten about in the next panel.

Art

The art in the series is high quality and generally very pretty. I do appreciate how the separated what was actually happening in the story vs Faith’s imaginings but slightly shifting the art style into more of an Adventure Time cartoon style. The coloring in the issues I’ve read so far (#1-4) are superbly done. I would have been greatly disappointed otherwise since this series is supported by a larger publisher, Valiant. The style really helps the plot flow together and adds that occasional wacky and funny moment to help liven up what can sometimes be a dark superhero business.images

As for lettering, it was easy to read though its in that very standard of fonts that every comic series seems to be using now a days. And the imagination scenes can get a little weird to read but you are provided with helpful built in arrows to direct you. The printing of the issues I read do in fact contain a few spelling and grammar errors, but hopefully those will get shorted out in the next round. They kept things very stylized and cohesive as far as a formatting for lettering depending on who was talking, thoughts, imaginings, and what was being spoken which helped to make the whole thing a lot less confusing to read then it had the potential to be.

(Little review nugget for those that go one to read it: On a side note WTF was the helmet on? It was nowhere and then poof she rips it off? Was it invisibly on his hat or something?)

Diversity

**NOTE THIS SECTION DOES HAVE AT LEAST ONE SPOILER PROCEED WITH CAUTION**

So what this comic has going for it in the diversity column: female lead, larger girl lead, at least some POC representation in what might be a growing team. What it has marked against it: main character and 2 out of 4 support characters (not counting coworkers) and blonde white people, a POC who is actually an alien, and another POC that you don’t really see or interact much except through text and phone calls. While this comic has a bold bigger female superhero it kind of feels like it limits itself to painting a monochromatic comic to try and ‘not be too edgy’. Though I doubt all the big girls out there in love with the idea of being able to cosplay a superhero just like them care too much about that, I challenge “Faith” to step it up a notch in the coming issues. We are watching you.

Overall

I would recommend this book, while predictable, it’s still an enjoyable read. It provides a strong female lead outside of what most of the entertainment industry considers a normal female body. The story doesn’t make it about her weight, or her dealing with the fact she is big at all. While the villains are creepy with hilarious names and mannerisms they are very much that hookie first villain the hero takes on, which hopefully means there will be some growth into villains that can match (and maybe even over power) the main character. I’d say skip the individual issues though and just stick to the volumes as that’s the only way to handle the truncated story line enough to take it even moderately seriously.

Metric Breakdown

Art: 8/10 [Pro Level]

Lettering: 8/10 [Pro Level]

Writing: 6/10 [Well Written, lacking imagination]

Diversity: 5/10 [Mediocre but there]

Overall: 6.75/10

 

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The Dredger

dredger-coverThe Dredger

Staff: Jeremy Wilfinger, Crizam Zamora, Natalia Marques

Overview:

The Dredger is a well-written, well-illustrated, clearly-loved, comic that fails to excite with its premise.

Review:

Hey guys, ready for the next round of reviews? We’ve got two new writers (Kayla and Thomas) coming on board soon at Indie Comic Review (in addition to yours truly) so get excited for that! Anyway today we’ve got “The Dredger” so let’s jump on in!

Art:

Art looks downright professional grade, but not on like the “high art” end of the spectrum. Looks like a typical comics circa 2000-2010 in terms of style. A brighter palette and while things are not perfect- they are a cut above the rest. There are some really nice little bits of details that bring the world to life. This is particularly true when you see some of Ben’s photographs near the end and it’s a really solid use of the visual medium of comics.

Lettering, the hallmark of a professional comic, is on point. I could see a handful of instances where the text was probably too close to the edge of the balloons but only a critic would notice such things (see the lower right panel of page 25 for an example).

Writing / Story:

Linguistically I don’t know if heavy accents were the right choice. On the one hand they do add to the notion of diverse people thrown together into a common situation but, on the other hand, it makes it a little hard to read sometimes. There were a few well delivered lines that made me chuckle, which is a sign that the writer knows what they were doing.

In terms of plot it’s an authoritarian future where a weaponized virus has been released into a major population center. I gotta say- I get where they are going with a comic like this but… it’s honestly kind of boring. Like I kept finding myself waiting for the “big reveal” and it never came. It was kind of a let down. We have some really big build up and decent writing for what amounts to a “the government is kinda evil” story. I was getting a bit of a 28 days later vibe from it towards the middle but the premise just didn’t grab me. Maybe it picks up and evolves into something more interesting later but right now? I don’t think I’d read issue two to find out what it was.

Overall:

Ultimately this is a well-written, well-illustrated, clearly-loved, comic that was written as a message (see the Frederick Douglass quote up front if you somehow missed it). However, it fails to excite. It is one of those slow build comics that never really builds to anything groundbreaking. Now, never every comic needs to be high-octane action packed into every panel (I’ve liked some slow) but this one just kind of never gets anywhere. Sure things happens and the story progresses but I didn’t feel engaged by the premise. Like I said- it’s got all the right ingredients other than the premises’ engagement to me personally- so give it a read. Maybe it’ll have a profound impact on you.

Metrics:

Art: 7/10 [Pro level]

Lettering: 6/10 [Decent]

Plot: 5/10 [Solid dialogue]

Novelty: 3/10 [Just didn’t grab me at all.]

Overall: 5.25/10

Link to Website