Faith Herbert is a “heavy woman,” as she puts it, but she’s totally fine with that. She loves her body and herself. In today’s society, she’s bucking the systematic glorification of supermodels–but she’s not losing any sleep over it. She’s even bucking the superhero requirements of uber-athletic builds. And, of course, she’s Valiant Entertainment’s answer to the all too typical overtly sexual depiction of women in comics.
Joshua Dysart provides a empathetic and honest script. He tunes us into Faith in a number of ways. Along with juggling all the details on how she fits into the Valiant universe, he takes time to look back at Faith’s childhood in a comic book shop. After the death of her parents, she found herself turning her local comics shop into a surrogate family. We also get a close look at her relationship with her superhero co-worker and lover, John Torkelson. Together they’re Zephyr and Torque. Faith addresses a hot issue head-on. She feels that maybe she should be grateful that she has a boyfriend since she’s heavy. But then again, maybe she will get over that sort of thinking.
The art of Robert Gill is quite engaging as he unabashedly celebrates Faith’s large figure. At times, he goes in for a bold emphasis, even making Faith larger-than-life. At other times, he goes for a softer approach, complimented by the beautifully muted colors by Jose Villarrubia, that quietly graces Faith’s frame. We see a number of human moments in the process.
Given that Faith is less than ideal, she is not only representing overweight people, as it were, she is representing all of us in our less than ideal position in the world. What if we had more characters who looked more like us and less like stereotypes? It may seem like a silly question. But in mainstream superhero comics, ideal is generally, or generically, the norm down to the bit players. Not always. Plenty of room to quibble. But you know what I mean.
This is not to say that we don’t want escapism and all-around fantasy, per se, in our superhero comics. But there’s a whole lot of other options as we all know. For those of you new to this, look up Alan Moore. Whenever you make that extra effort and really stretch and present something genuinely refreshing, your superhero comics will shine. This comic shines.
“Harbinger: Faith #0” is a 32-page one-shot, priced at $3.99, and on sale December 17. Be sure to follow Faith in “Unity #13” on sale December 24. For more details, visit our friends at Valiant Entertainment right here.