Faith #1, the one-shot comic that released on February 24th from BOOM Studios, reveals the never-before-told backstory of one of the most popular characters in Buffyverse.
Written by Jeremy Lambert with captivating art by Eleonora Carlini, and a gorgeous cover by Kevin Wada, the official synopsis from BOOM reads as follows:
“THE FUTURE OF THE BUFFYVERSE BEGINS HERE! * The future of the Buffyverse begins in an all new one-shot revealing the secrets of Faith the Vampire Slayer. * With no Watcher, no idea how to harness the power in her and no idea where it came from, Faith has fallen back on old habits -and morals - to guide her. * But what happens when those morals don't line up with the Council's… or with Buffy's? * The origin of Faith is revealed here for the first time, with a shocking ending to this issue! * A perfect jumping on point for new and longtime Buffy fans alike that sets the stage for shocking events to come.”
To be honest, I don’t feel that the comic entirely lives up to this synopsis. Although it does help explain why Faith Lehane is the way she is, as well as how and why she ended up in Sunnydale, the rest of the synopsis has nothing at all to do with this comic.
Faith #1 takes place before Faith ever meets Buffy, and Buffy isn’t even mentioned in this comic. Which is fine, because this is a comic about Faith, not a comic about Buffy or any of the rest of the Scooby Gang. However, if you read the synopsis and assumed that this comic was going to be about Faith being the same misfit Slayer in Sunnydale that you see her as in the Buffy tv series, which is what the synopsis seems to imply, you’d be sorely misled.
The first several pages show Faith watching a seemingly endless stream of movies alone in a movie theater wearing a ripped white t-shirt and possessing her usual cynical Faith attitude. A romance movie is on? Oh, well, that’s lame and ridiculous, according to Faith. A movie like “Die Hard” is where it’s at though!
Just when you think you’re beginning to understand where the comic is going, however, there’s a scene shift and suddenly you see Faith still in the movie theater, but in an entirely different outfit. She’s alone and confused about why she’s there. She doesn’t know what time it is and she runs around the theater trying to figure out what’s going on.
The problem is, at this point, the reader is also trying to figure out what’s going on. The reader begins to see flashbacks from different points in Faith’s life. You see her as a child, her parents depicted as monsters, and as a young teen picking a fight with a boy at school. These flashbacks are colored in black and white, and the authority figures are always seen as monsters with large, sharp teeth.
Next, the reader sees Faith training as a Slayer and confidently fighting off vampires with that trademark Faith confidence and sass. It’s then that the reader discovers that there is a trio of “trainers” that have been wiping her memory, and it’s insinuated that this is something that has happened more than once.
It’s a little bit of a spoiler to reveal this info, but it’s something that I desperately wish that I had known going into this comic. Sharing Faith’s confusion of the events happening in the comic might make a reader feel more emersed in the comic but, for me, it was really off putting. I had to read nearly the entire comic to figure out what was even going on, then read it again to write this review.
I think Faith sums up the experience best herself in this line of internal dialogue from the comic “It’s like everything is…like someone else takes over for me halfway through the day and does whatever the hell, and bring me back here, plop, start the same, wicked weird movie I never finish. I don’t know how to stop it.” Her memories are a mess, her history a bit of a mystery even to her, but somehow it all seems to center on this movie theater that she finds herself in again and again. One of the most intriguing things about this comic is that the reader gets to see many sides and emotions of Faith, all of which are depicted brilliantly both across her features and in her stance by artist Carlini.
Although in theory I like the idea that Faith is being programmed to be a killer and having her memory wiped repeatedly because it’s something new and different, I don’t know that it’s really a necessary plot device. Knowing that she had a troubled childhood and that her Watcher was killed by Kakistos before she arrived at Sunnydale seems like enough of a reason for her to have trust issues and a surly attitude. However, it does relieve the burden of morality from anything that she does. It means that she can’t help it if her actions are a bit unethical at times – she was literally programmed to be that way.
One thing the synopsis does get right is the fact that there is a bit of a surprise at the end of the issue. I won’t give it away here, but it leads directly to how Faith ended up in Sunnydale in the first place, leaving the reader to believe that there was more to that event than the tv show ever needed to explain.
Fans of Buffy will most likely enjoy this comic, especially fans of Faith. Once you get past the confusing format that it’s constructed in, you see a different version of the usually edgy, tough Slayer that usually graced your television screens, and instead see the side of her that’s truly worthy of redemption. Also, although this comic is a one shot, it hints that it will lead into the larger Buffy comic book series in the near future. It will be interesting to see how this new insight into Faith’s past affects her presence in future comics.
Angela “LaLa” Rairden is an avid fan of comic books, Star Wars, and most things nerdy. A cosplayer, she loves to attend comic cons dressed as her favorite fictional characters, particularly Harley Quinn. Although her day job is at a grocery store, writing has always been her true calling. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is currently writing her first novel.