Review - Faith Dreamside #1 (@ValiantComics)

"Once upon a time, I was a superhero."

Faith is an unsung hero for all that she does. She thoroughly enjoys her role as a hero, but there are some who don't enjoy her doing it as much. In Faith Dreamside #1 from Valiant Comics, Faith learns to cope with a public that no longer adores her. The issue is written by Jody Houser, illustrated by MJ Kim, colored by Jordie Bellaire and lettered by Dave Sharpe.

Even before Faith Herbert, AKA Zephyr, gained the power of flight, joined the Harbinger Renegades, and soared through the skies of the Valiant Universe, deep down she was always a hero at heart. But what’s a hero to do in the face of a foe that exists only in nightmares? Face them head-on, of course! To protect the dreams of her teammate, Animalia, Faith must venture into a fantastical new realm the likes of which we’ve never seen…and she’ll need some help from the world’s premiere parapsychologist, Dr. Mirage, to make it back with her subconscious mind still intact!

Houser is going in a somewhat new route in Faith Dreamside #1 by looking at a Faith Herbert "without" her powers and how she makes due. Zephyr is still very much in play, but events from previous issues have essentially made her a criminal and Houser does a great job of presenting Faith's conflict about staying hidden and helping those who really need it. Animalia is also worked in quite subtly as well as Houser provides an avenue for her to appear without forcing the storyline. There's some ambiguity on the reader's part as to where the story is going at the end of the first issue, yet it's very apparent that Houser has a plan. And despite Faith's crisis of, well, Faith, Houser still manages to work in some light humor that's very much in character for the lead and provides some levity.

Kim's artwork is very cinematic in terms of how panels are framed. Kim emphasizes facial expressions quite a bit throughout the issue that allow the reader to fully understand the range of emotions Faith is going through. The linework for the characters is very subtle and blends in well with the background settings. There are a few pages as well where Kim completely empties the background and the characters are engaging with one another against a stark, white background that allows better emphasis on their conversation. Bellaire's colors are subtle and a great fit for the story.

Faith Dreamside #1 is a pretty fun issue that launches a new chapter in Faith's life as both a superhero and citizen. Faith is struggling to reconcile her desire to help with a public perception that she can only hurt. Houser's script is very easygoing and informative, ensuring the reader doesn't miss any of its beats. Kim's artwork is solid and captures the essence of both Faith and Zephyr as she adapts to her new situation. Faith Dreamside #1 is a great read that slots perfectly into the Valiant universe, but is open enough where new readers won't feel overwhelmed if they want to check it out.

Faith Dreamside #1 is available September 26.