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Faith #3

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Jody Houser, Francis Portela, Marguerite Sauvage, Terry Pallot, Andrew Dalhouse with Mike Spicer

Faith #3 is the best book yet in this mini-series. Aptly entitled “The Moment,” this statement marks the moment when Faith makes a decision that will change her status quo. Not only that, it represents this as the book where readers will recognize Faith as a bona-fide, relevant story in the Valiant Universe and not merely fun fluff.

There’s much to enjoy in this tale. Plenty of action, witty quips, and a big villain reveal will have readers eagerly turning pages. All of the separate plots are beginning to entwine, and we begin to see where individuals fit into the bigger picture. There’s a lot of players on this field. Expect to be surprised where some of them line up.

As with the previous books, the focus of the story is Faith, but there are plenty of cameos from other Valiant heroes. Despite this, it is ultimately Faith dealing with the villains by herself – and she’s showing that she’s grown in ability both as a psiot and as a decision-maker. There’s also some visual cues that will tip off readers of the larger Valiant Universe just who is behind the crimes. There’s a twist here as well, making it both fit perfectly into this universe and still be unique within it.

Faith is a different tone than most of the Valiant offerings. It’s more light-hearted and has a sense of whimsy to it, but this should not be mistaken for the content being fluff. Kidnapping, murder, and conspiracies are serious topics. It’s the presentation that makes the difference here. This adventure is written through the eyes of Faith, and as such, has her sensibilities. Faith is a young woman, not yet world-weary from a lifetime of battling crime. She’s a fan of pop culture and still culpable to being star-struck or having celebrity crushes. She’s also serious about making the world better. Safer. This story is as much about her finding her path to do so as it is about the current threat she faces. Houser has given readers a modern version of the superhero origin/coming-of-age story and it’s just plain fun.

Without giving away anything, some of the notable highlights in this book are not directly related to the plot, but more to her character. There’s a pivotal moment where Faith must make a decision whether or not to eschew a custom that she holds dear – and she doesn’t disappoint. It’s a game-changer for her, and readers will cheer her decision. It’s also a bit of a thumb-of-the-nose to traditional hero stories. A tongue-in-cheek nod to another Valiant book is another detail that make this story enjoyable for those aware of the wider Valiant Universe.

Art team Francis Portela and Marguerite Sauvage team up again to depict Faith’s universe, physically and psychically, respectively.  Portela continues to do a good job of making his characters act. Facial expressions, gestures, and the physical acting all feel natural. The smooth panel flow and bubble placement make for easy reading. Sauvage’s fantasy sequences give readers an insider’s perspective on Faith’s self-image. Her depictions are as glamorous as always, even when Faith’s inner turmoil results in some negative daydreams. Inker Terry Pallot gives their creations depth and significance without taking away from the artists’ personal styles. Colorist Andrew Dalhouse, along with Mike Spicer, give Faith’s world a bold pop look without taking away from the realism. The overall effect is a book that’s look matches the tone of the story: fresh and fun.

Faith #3 delivers both humor and excitement. The action is hitting close to home now, and for Faith, it’s about to get even closer. The first two books in this mini introduced readers to Faith and built her world while establishing a murky conspiracy. Now that those points have been established, Houser and co. hit us with the truth, making us realize just how important this story is. Readers will be clamoring for the finale.

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