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Review: Faith #5

faith_005_cover-b_hetrickTake a look at the cover to this comic; it’s an image that seems to indicate pretty clearly which candidate Valiant would like to see in the Oval Office next year. While it’s not unheard of for comic book characters to openly follow a specific political ideology, I’m reasonably sure that a publisher hasn’t featured a political figure on the cover before an election.

Now, I haven’t read the comic yet so I don’t know if the cover is indicative of the story within, or not, so I’ll let you read the preview text while I go read the comic.

On November 2nd, just days before Election Day 2016, legendary writer Louise Simonson and Harvey Award-nominated artist Pere Pérez present history in the making with a presidential milestone like no other! Faith Herbert, star of the highest selling independent superhero debut of 2016, is a shining beacon of optimism in a challenging world. Her day job as a blogger and journalist is about to bring Faith face to face with Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton…but its her daring alter ego as Los Angeles’ leading superhero that will have to save the day when a new threat emerges to imperil a pivotal moment that has all of America watching!

Faith #5 is a 48 page issue (still priced at $3.99, so you’ll get your money’s worth) with three stories within its pages; Dark Star (23ish pages), Faith in Politics (10 pages) No Days Off (7 pages) making up the total story content at around 40 pages, give or take. It’s a little harder to tell with the review copy pdf I’m reading, but either way that’s a lot of bang for your buck.

faith-5-coverBased on the main cover (to the right), you’d think that the main raw of the comic would be the Faith In Politics, and that’s certainly going to grab the most attention, but  it’s actually Dark Star that’s the lead title here, and the first part in the new story arc – so let’s talk about that first, shall we?

Dark Star, written by Jody Houser and featuring art by new series artist Meghan Hetrick and Marguerite Sauvage kicks things off with a story that has hints of a darker undertones beneath the warmer tones of Faith’s inherent goodness and warmth. Although her life doesn’t reach the Peter Parker level of downtrodden misery, Faith still has her real world challenges, as well as those only a superhero could have – especially a superhero who has a boss that knows her secret identity. Getting glimpses of these facets of Faith’s life, and her struggle to balance her secret identity with her desire to help people has been a recurring theme throughout the series so far, but with Faith #5 we also get some insight into how the character inspires other people.

Dark Star is a great opening, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next in the arc. I’m also looking forward to seeing Meghan Hetrick’s take on the character, as her art in this story is fantastic, complementing Marguerite Sauvage’s flashback sequence just as well as previous series artist Pere Perez has done for the last eight issues.

But as good as the lead story is, that’s not the one that’s featured on the cover.

faith_005_003Faith In Politics, the reason for the big Election Special header across the front is. To acknowledge the elephant in the corner, yes it is a pro-Clinton story, and depending on your political ideology, that may be an issue for you, but it doesn’t bother me at all. What does bother me is how the story starts strongly before losing steam significantly, and it’s almost entirely because of the dialogue on the final page or so – not the narration boxes (which actually seem very apolitical) and are simply encouraging readers to go vote on November 8th. The encouragement to vote is a good thing, but it’s marred a little by the dialogue that would feel at home in a cheesy movie as Louise Simonson doesn’t quite deliver the quality of dialogue that we’ve seen previously in the series, but Pere Perez delivers a visual treat.

The final story, No Days Off, continues the Faith Is Inspiring theme, and is a solid backup story. Rafer Roberts hasn’t set the world on fire here but provides a nice bonus for those buying the comic for other reasons – one of which is Colleen Doran‘s artwork, which is always a treat.

While I’m sure that Valiant hope that the inclusion of Hillary Clinton will boost sales and bring in new readers, I’m not unconvinced that the publisher is also just stating where they stand when it comes to the two candidates. It’s just somewhat disappointing that the bold move was done with the weakest story within the comic.

Whether you agree with them or not, make sure you do exercise your right to vote on November 8th. You can find your local polling place through Rock the Vote.

Dark Star
Story: Jody Houser Art: Meghan Hetrick
Colour Art: Andrew Dalhouse Flashback Sequence: Marguerite Sauvage
Story: 8.75 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9 

Faith In Politics
Story: Louise Simonson Art: Pere Perez Colour Art: Andrew Dalhouse
Story: 7 Art: 9 Overal: 7.5
No Days Off
Story: Rafer Roberts Art: Colleen Doran Colour Art: David Baron
Story: 8 Art: 9.25 Overall: 8.5
Overall Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review, however, I will also be picking this up Wednesday

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