Jody Houser is back with Faith: The Faithless, a trade paperback that contains Issues #9 through #12. Kate Niemczyk is the artist for Issue #9, and Joe Eisma is the artists for the rest. In this book, there are two plots, both of which make sense and follow each other logically, so that is an improvement over Faith: Superstar. In Issue #9, a new intern shows up at Faith’s day job, and the perky young woman seems mighty suspicious about why “Summer Smith” keeps running out when there is an emergency. This is a basic open-and-close plot; the intern could come back in a later Issue, but it’s unlikely. It’s important to have these smaller plots that don’t get dragged out to show how Faith’s daily life can be hectic as she balances being a superhero, friendships, romance, and a day job as a content creator for an online magazine.
Issues #10 to #12 are all continuous, and it’s also fun to read these longer threads in which Houser leaves readers on a cliffhanger and must wait a month for the next Issue (unless you’re like me and wait for the trade paperbacks). I enjoy how Faith faces problems specific to her or her city; I’ve said it before, but I’m so relived she doesn’t have to save the whole city/country/planet/universe, which makes superheros unrelatable for me. In The Faithless, four foes from previous Faith comics come together to form a group, The Faithless. They all want revenge on her for personal reasons, though they can’t seem to agree on who the leader is (or their name). Disorganized, humorous, and unique — the villains are part of the fun in the Faith series.
My favorite villain to come back was the entity trapped in a cat’s body. You know, the one that sucks the energy out of people to feed? We see him drinking champagne out of a cat dish, after which he gets drunk and stumbles around a bit. And when the villains start fighting among themselves, one yells out, “Take them all down! And don’t let the cat eat your mind!” That phrasing had me in giggles, as it’s both silly and true about the character.
Looking at the drawings, I found Kate Niemczyk’s work superior. In her hands, Faith is funky (throwback style of clothes) and realistic. Her size is not minimized, nor is her body often hidden behind something else, a tendency Joe Eisma has when he’s the artist. Here is an example of Niemczyk’s rendition of Faith:
If you’ve ever taken a drawing class and had to learn anatomy (I have), you know it’s hard to capture the body in a variety of poses: standing, sitting, laying down. Joe Eisma hasn’t quite master what to do with a fat woman’s body, which is a flaw in his tool kit (and probably why Faith’s bust is all we see in most of Eisma’s Issues). From a side angle, Eisma draws Faith with her recognizable belly — and I’m glad to see he didn’t alter her appearance to make her more attractive this time — but when he draws Faith straight on, her shape changes. That’s because it’s hard to draw a fat person straight on without making them look cartoony. Compare:
I’m happy to see that Eisma didn’t try to change Faith’s appearance in The Faithless, especially since he was hired to do most of the artwork, but I’m hoping the publisher, Valiant, thinks about hiring Pere Perez again or bringing back Kate Niemczyk on future issues. Even Eisma’s choice of clothes for Faith look ridiculous to me — she’s got a shirt pattern like a poncho in hideous colors and a high-neck white shirt underneath . . . in the summer. Is he trying to strip away her sexual aspects and nerd her up?
Overall, though, a fun, funny, easy-to-enjoy superhero comic that sticks to problems that face Faith and the people in her city. The plots are improving, though the artwork is still being smoothed out.