Faith Herbert was a character I thought I had no time for. She was the overly-enthusiastic member of the Renegades from Harbinger who was obsessed with nerd culture. She seemed like a stereotype created to get laughs, like a printed page version of the Big Bang Theory. I was annoyed simply by her presence in the books.
And then, like most of my initial comic book-related knee-jerk opinions, I read her 4-issue miniseries and was completely stunned by it: this was a character more normal and more grounded than I ever could have imagined. This was like reading Chuck Dixon's Robin or Brian Michael Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man. This was good.
The book opens where the last mini left off - Faith has settled into a nice pattern in her life, where she goes to work writing content during the day as Summer Smith, and then goes to protect people as the high-flying Zephyr when she can. Her heroic alter ego is also gaining some mass-attention due to her fangirl nature and willingness to simply help people any way she can. What makes this all work, what makes her seem more than just a cliche, is Jody Houser's weaving of real nerdy language and references into Faith's dialogue.
Over the course of the book I caught Hitchhiker's Guide, Lord of the Rings, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Batman, and Portal references, and they all occurred organically. Faith also is just genuinely nice, and not concerned with achieving an unreasonable amount of fame: she just wants to live her life in a way that brings her happiness. Actually getting into the depth of the character and her connections with others has been a HUGE strength of Houser's.
And the art is also pretty damn sharp, too - Pere Perez does wonders with the character during her day-to-day activities, allowing Faith to, again, not live up to the stereotypic Fat Girl appearance a lot of artists will throw out there. Faith is overweight, yes, but she's pretty and curvy and funny in a way that is attractive. Marguerite Sauvage returns to do the art for Faith's dreamy sequences, and they're always a treat - the Fantasy Faith is bustier, in garish costumes, wooing actors or fighting monsters, and it lends a playful angle to a book that's never afraid to just be fun.
I think that's what I like the most about this book: it takes hold of its connections to readers in a way that doesn't speak down to them. It's not afraid to be light-hearted. It grapples with real-life feelings and real-life routines. And again, it's just a fun book in a grim and gritty world.
8 out of 10 Chris Chriswell Fantasies