Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Review - Faith's Winter Wonderland #1 (@ValiantComics)


"Alice and Mister Rabbit! I haven't seen you guys in years!"

Wonderland really isn't a place that seems like it would be on the top of many people's lists to visit. For every bit of magic and wonder that seems to be there, it also seems as if there's even more evil and malice. Faith is tasked with helping out on the darker components in Faith's Winter Wonderland #1 from Valiant Comics. The issue is written by Marguerite Savage, illustrated by Francis Portela and MJ Kim, colored by Andrew Dalhouse and lettered by Dave Sharpe.

As cheer fills the air, Faith “Zephyr” Herbert is about to take a trip down the rabbit hole… and into a mind-bending winter wonderland where every day is something special! But hiding behind the tinsel, all is not what it seems… White rabbit meets red-nosed reindeer as Faith squares off against a realm of make-believe and merriment for a whimsical flight of superhero fancy!

The holidays always seem to evoke some sense of reminiscing and Savage uses that to her advantage in Faith's Winter Wonderland #1. Faith takes a trip down the rabbit-hole as a means of facing a perversion of her youth and Savage keeps up the pace by not rehashing the world of Wonderland. The story of Alice in Wonderland is more than well-known at this point and it was refreshing to see Savage instead decide to focus on Faith's interpretation of the world. There are some anti-consumerism messages on display in the issue that Savage pointedly draws upon to demonstrate a mindless commitment to profits, although the fact that Faith's trigger for her journey is the purchase of a nostalgic postcard that reminds her of her youth. Despite the somewhat heavy-handed approach, Savage still manages to bring the story around to be more about believing in the power of imagination over capitalism.

Splitting the artwork duties are Portela and Kim, both of whom collaborate well together. The real-world aesthetic fits the Valiant look pretty well, presenting Faith in a way that's easily recognizable. When things take a turn in Wonderland is where the really imaginative stuff comes into play, as the artwork emphasizes the somewhat dystopic tone the world has taken. There's a really solid page in Wonderland that shows dueling Alices back-to-back that underscores the forced consumerism narrative that Savage pushes throughout the issue. Dalhouse's colors are extremely vibrant throughout the issue in a way that really brings both Wonderland and the real world to life.

Faith's Winter Wonderland #1 is a harmless one-shot that adds a Christmas flair to an otherwise well-known fairy tale. Faith is a perfect character for this type of story as well because she offers an optimism that is needed in Wonderland at times. Savage's script has a deeper message to it that comes across a little heavy, but Faith is a great messenger. Portela and Kim do a phenomenal job on the artwork, giving the issue a great holiday feel that ends up being slightly twisted by the events in Wonderland. Faith's Winter Wonderland #1 is a lot of fun as it doesn't take itself too seriously.

Faith's Winter Wonderland #1 is available now.

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