Review – Faith and the Future Force #1 (of 4) (Valiant)

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writer: Jody Houser
Artwork: Stephen Segovia, Barry Kitson
Colours: Ulises Arreola
Release Date: 26th July 2017

Packed with charm, humour and more timey-wimey goodness than you can shake a Sonic Screwdriver at, Faith and the Future Force kicks off this week.  The new series opens with an upbeat and entertaining issue which sees Faith Herbert being recruited by Neela, Timewalker to thwart the advances of an evil robot hell-bent on destroying the fabric of reality itself.  As you do.

As anyone familiar with her run on the character should expect, writer Jody Houser provides us with an immensely likeable leading lady, mixing fangirl excitement and geeky quips with a genuine and deep-rooted desire to protect those around her.  Houser also seems to take great pleasure in bombarding us with a deluge of pop culture references and quotes, from obvious ones like Doctor Who or The Terminator to slightly more ‘niche’ offerings like Red Dwarf.

It’s clear that Houser has some pretty big ideas for this new series, and seems fully prepared to capitalise on the near limitless potential offered by the time-hopping premise.  The bulk of the issue is your typical Faith story (no bad thing, I assure you), with our charming hero reacting to the events she finds herself swept up in with a mixture of wide-eyed excitement and stoic determination.  It’s in the later pages, however – following a legitimate double-take moment which is guaranteed to raise more than few eyebrows – where Houser tips her hand to reveal to the true awesomeness the series.

It’s also a great looking book, courtesy of the two-headed beast that is Stephen Segovia and Barry Kitson.  And, while it feels like a genuine shame to not have Marguerite Sauvage on a Faith book for the first time in what feels like forever, Segovia and Kitson prove more than up to the task here, providing us with a slick, dynamic and polished aesthetic throughout.  Ulises Arreola’s colours might be a little too glossy at times for my tastes, but that’s a fairly minor niggle in what is an otherwise striking visual package.

The story comes full circle in this opening issue, establishing the premise while leaving the door wide, wide open for the remaining four issues.  We get a quick glimpse of the “Future Force” – a group which regular Valiant readers will definitely get a kick out of – and with Faith providing both the comic relief and the emotional beating heart of pretty much anything she’s involved in, this is shaping up to be one heck of a ride.

While the mainstream focus still seems to fall squarely on the “big two” of DC and Marvel, it’s becoming more and more apparent than Valiant are rapidly becoming the ‘go to’ publisher for truly great superhero stories. And amidst an already stacked roster of characters, Faith Herbert continues to push her way right to the front of the line, making every story involving her an all but essential purchase.

Rating: 4.5/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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