By Jody Houser, Joe Eisma, Andrew Dalhouse
The players take a final bow in Faith #12, effectively tying up loose ends and closing out the series’ initial run.
During its twelve-issue run, Faith documented the title character’s experiences, from heroic adventures to the mundane realities of adulthood. In many ways, it was a coming-of-age story. Faith floundered as she struck out on her own for the first time, eventually gaining confidence in her abilities. While she endured emotional ups and downs, this ultimately heart-warming tale of self-actualization defined Faith personally and professionally while never losing sight of her core values. Faith never compromised her ideals. She still embodies all that she stood for, but now she has the insight and confidence that experience brings.
“The Faithless” part 3 is the culmination of Faith’s arch-nemeses storyline. Comprised of villains previously thwarted by Faith, The Faithless joined forces to bring her crashing down. At the onset of the story, Faith has been captured. Attached to a psiot-dampening machine, she is at the mercy of her assailants, a strange crew running the gamut from the extremely powerful to the extremely vain. Regardless, as a team they have succeeded in what they individually could not: stopping Faith.
How she overcomes the situation is pure Faith. Even without her ability to fly, Faith is never helpless. It’s in situations such as these that Faith’s persona shines, revealing why she is beloved by fans.
As the final issue in the title, readers are likely anticipating a tidy finish to the storyline. There is closure, but it may not be what the fans expect. There is some unfortunate fallout from the villainy of The Faithless. As seen in the previous issue, Faith is wanted for murder. While this may temporarily clip Faith’s wings, she still has the support of her friends and is able to live her life undercover as “Summer”. This isn’t a “happily ever after” book, but it does look at the bright side of life (now is when Faith would make a Monty Python reference). The ending feels true to Faith’s personality and keeps several plot points active for future expansion.
Tonally, Faith as a title is spirited and positive. Even dire situations are handled with a lighter touch, keeping violence from being overly graphic or disturbing. This makes the title accessible to a larger audience. For instance, even though the storylines include adult themes, they are approached thoughtfully and carefully, making them appropriate for younger readers. Writer Houser uses humor and warmth – key components of Faith’s personality as well – to tell the story, allowing Faith’s personality and perspective to color all aspects of the book. Faith has grown over the course of Houser’s run. While we’ve flown the friendly skies taking on criminal plots, we’ve also witnessed Faith morph into a woman more confident in her talents and abilities as a superhero and as a young adult. She’s learned how to shoulder the weight of responsibility of being a public hero plus balancing that reality with a normal life of friends and work. Underneath it all, Faith is still the same nerd with a heart of gold that fans loved from the original Harbinger run. In going it alone, she’s shown that she’s capable of much more than just being a mascot. It will be interesting to see how this new-found ability plays out in team dynamics.
Artist Joe Eisma and colorist Andrew Dalhouse round out the creative team for the book. Eisma’s storytelling is on-point. This book is character-heavy, creating a strong dependency on the art to convey the characters’ mindsets and emotions. Eisma’s characters are emotive and clearly exude their feelings – you can see their thoughts on their faces. The best example of this is the character of Sydney, whose over-the-top expressions match her drama queen personality. Colorist Dalhouse keeps the colors bright but natural. He creates a distinctive yet smooth difference between the colors of the villains’ hideout versus that of “Summer’s” life. The subtle glow from the anti-psiot tech is a nice detail, and he keeps its effect on the scenes consistent throughout the panels. This artistic team works well. The last panel in particular embodies the best of Faith and will give fans the warm-fuzzies.
Faith #12 is a satisfying and ultimately empowering read. This is the last of the Faith title series for the foreseeable future. Fear not, ye of little Faith – she’ll be back in Faith and The Future Force. In the meantime, pick this book up to see Faith at her very best.