Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writer: Jody Houser
Artwork: Stephen Segovia, Barry Kitson
Colours: Ulises Arreola
Release Date: 30th August 2017
“If at first you don’t succeed…”
After a strong opening issue, Valiant’s latest Faith-based miniseries surges forwards this week as everyone’s favourite Psiot joins forces with Neela, Timewalker and to stop the advances of a reality-destroying evil robot. As you do. Their first attempt, which saw Faith trying to tackle the robot single-handedly, turned out to be an unmitigated disaster, with our heroine being killed in quick fashion, prompting Neela to jump back in time to warn herself of the futility of her plan. And now, buoyed by Faith’s former teammates the Harbinger Renegades, it’s time to try, try, try again.
While the premise is still utterly delicious, some of the dialogue does feel a little more heavily geared towards long time readers here, with an abundance of call-backs and references to events which happened quite some time ago. Obviously this approach will pay dividends for the hardcore fans, but could potentially alienate newer readers – a criticism that has frequently been levied at Valiant and their continuity-heavy, frequently intertwining universe. Granted, the instances of this are few and far between here, but it’s still a potential concern in what is an otherwise strong and enjoyable series.
Pushing the inter-team banter and fond reminiscing to one side, the bulk of this issue is solid, enjoyable stuff – if almost intentionally familiar. However, something glorious happens in the final few pages that I’m not going to spoil for you (although I’ve you’ve been reading solicits and looking at certain variant covers, it’ll probably come as no surprise to you), allowing writer Jody Houser to tap into the true potential of her winning concept and setting up for one heck of a third issue.
Everything looks the part here, with the artistic pairing of Stephen Segovia and Barry Kitson turning a suitably steady hand to the proceedings. All the characters look suitably authentic, and the aforementioned banter is delivered with plenty of expression. The time-travelling itself is a visual treat, and while some of the panels can feel a little sterile with some awkwardly ‘staged’ poses, for the most part this is an impressively drawn comic book.
It’s also a real testament to the skill of art team that the ‘big bad’ of the series – essential a giant USB stick with arms and legs – looks so damn menacing. Maybe it’s the unique way he utlilises his powers, or the unsettling blank expression on his ‘face’, but there’s something genuinely creepy about this dispassionate antagonist. Oh, and the final pages I mentioned earlier are brought to life with some real creative flair, to the point where you can practically hear the dramatic orchestral music swelling in the background as the montage unfolds.
Ultimately, while there’s definitely something repetitive about this issue, it’s also clear that’s pretty much meant to be the point, and the gradual escalation of the situation – in every conceivable way – makes picking up the next issue a fairly easy choice. And, while there are some off-putting, continuity-referencing moments, for the most part this miniseries remains entirely standalone, and with Houser at the helm, this genuinely creative series looks set to go from strength to strength as it reaches its tense, epic conclusion.
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