Faith: Volume 1: Hollywood and Vine

Written By: Jody Houser

Artist: Francis Portela

Fantasy Sequence Art: Marguerite Sauvage

Distributed By: Valiant Entertainment, LLC

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

                Nowadays, there's a call for realistic images and diversity in every source of media from television to movies to comic books.  Even Barbie has changed to supply kids with more diverse and realistically figured Barbie dolls.  So it really doesn't surprise me that Valiant Entertainment, LLC, a comic book known for innovative titles, decided to launch Faith, featuring a heroine who is like none you have ever seen before.

                Faith Herbert was orphaned at a young age.  Raised by a loving grandmother, Faith found comfort in science fiction, comic books and the fantastic world of superheroes.  In her teens, she would discover she possessed special abilities like telekinesis and the ability to fly.  Upon meeting other psiots like herself, Faith was finally able to live her dream, emulating those favorite superheroes of her youth in an effort to protect the people of the world from evil.  The team saw her for what she was beneath the plus-size nerdy exterior - a fierce protector of the people willing to sacrifice her own safety to keep those without special powers safe.

                Faith: Volume 1: Hollywood and Vine finds our heroine striking out on her own, the defeat of the super villain Harada haunting enough to break up the group.  Some going into hiding while others seeking fame and fortune, Faith has taken the secret identity of Summer Smith, a content writer at the blogsite known as Zipline.  But, by night, Faith is still Zephyr, superheroine extraordinaire. 

                But Faith is starting to realize that going it alone is not all it's cracked up to be, especially when an investigation into the disappearance of several psiots leads her to a cult-like group with suicide bomber tendencies.

                Okay, maybe I'm not seeing what everyone else is seeing...or maybe I got the wrong comic book.  Faith opened to rave reviews from comic book geeks everywhere, citing this special series as innovative and impressive.  That's not an accurate description of the graphic novel I previewed at all.  Yes, the fact that the heroine of this graphic novel isn't some hip chick with a svelte figure is new when it comes to superhero comics.  And I did enjoy the comedic moments of the story, especially the fantasy moments in which Faith imagines saving a heartthrob actor or getting back together with her ex.  I even loved the parts when her co-workers were talking and all she heard was "blah blah" as it was incredibly realistic - that's what we all hear in meetings when we have something else on our minds.

                But to make this comic book series out the be the second coming is a bit extreme.  At best, it's a funny read, but the artwork leaves a bit to be desired and the story is not all that sophisticated.  Yes, Jody Houser has created a superhero that the average individual can relate to that offers up quite a few laughs as well, but in reality, that's it.  Other than that, nothing really stands out about this graphic novel that would make me want to spend $10.00US.  Faith: Volume 1: Hollywood and Vine is funny and different, but not something I would rush out and pick up at the local comic book store.


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