Valiant’s popular super-hero Faith is an infectious character for anyone who considers themselves a nerd for comics or science fiction or really any kind of genre, as the character shares the same fannish glee as the readers. This is one of the reasons why, aside from the the way the character rejects the typical body norm for super-heroes, Faith has resonated so strongly with fans. So, an issue like Faith and the Future Force #1, which sees Faith team up with time traveling hero Timewalker, gains much of its charming spirit from the time-travel story influences it wears on its sleeve. The result is an issue that utilizes all the tropes of time travel stories to charming and exciting effect, promising a series that will be fun and thrilling in equal measure.
Faith is currently mired in a boring existence after having been framed for murder. While surviving her mind-numbing day job, she is approached by Neela Sethi, the inventor of temporal travel known as Timewalker. Sethi convinces Faith to assist her in a mysterious mission with the aim of saving of history from an evil robot who is journeying through the time stream destroying the fabric of time.
Right off the bat, writer Jody Houser and artists Stephen Segovia and Barry Kitson craft a fun and engaging issue that immediately pulls you in. Yes, they deliberately seed call backs to such familiar if disparate sources as “The Terminator,” “Doctor Who,” “Red Dwarf,” and incredibly, “Zelig.” All of this is done cleverly enough to be endearing rather than annoying, and Houser layers in enough genuine surprises while embracing the concepts behind time travel and its dangers. The result is a true story about time travel rather than simply a pastiche. There’s a casual mention of a significant alteration in the timeline right at the beginning of the issue which turns an old time paradox chestnut on its head which I found refreshing. And while there’s a ton of humor to Faith and the Future Force #1, it doesn’t come at the expense of the stakes; this is still a story with real jeopardy at its core.
Also at its core is Faith, the winsome and hugely appealing character that continues to feel fresh and revolutionary. Faith is earnest and joyful without being cloying or sacrificing depth to the character. She feels very much like a real person who is a super-hero, and that simple but difficult to achieve quality is what has made everyperson heroes like Spider-Man, Wally West, Invincible and Kamala Khan resonate so well. Faith as written by Houser is a particularly good example of this. The idea of her being a devoted fan of all things nerdy constantly one step from geeking out shouldn’t still work, and yet Houser just knows how to make Faith feel truthful and fun so that you are always on her side.
And while the tone of the issue is mostly light, once things get serious the reader understands how momentous this event is going to be, as all of reality could hang in the balance, with Faith’s personal fate playing a large role in the outcome. It’s a great way to construct an event title, combining the larger earth-shattering threat with the fate of a character we care about. Houser and her collaborators kick things off with a bang, and though it feels a bit frothy at first, the story is well-structured, with a classically heroic feel, and holds out the promise of a rollicking adventure.
The art by Segovia and Kitson meshes very well, almost seamlessly really. Their styles are complimentary, and both of them handle both the ordinary and fantastic elements of the issue very well. The action is bold and filled with energy, while the character-driven elements land equally well. The bright palette provided by colorist Ulises Arreola helps tie the two art styles together, and its brightness does a lot to give the impression that we’re about to embark upon a grand adventure across the years.
Faith and the Future Force #1 is a great beginning to what could wind up being a smart and inventive time travel adventure. As long as it keeps its heart in the right place, and its brain cooking up interesting paradoxes, the rest of the series should offer a lot for fans of Faith or time travels stories in general. 8/10