Hot off the big news of a Sony feature film starring Faith Herbert, aka Zephyr of the Harbinger Renegades, Valiant Comics is releasing a new four-issue mini-series this fall called Faith: Dreamside, written by Jody Houser, with art by MJ Kim.
Dreamside finds Faith laying low, in disguise, as she deals with the fallout of "The Faithless" storyline in her ongoing series, which ended with supervillains Chris Chriswell, Murder Mouse, Sidney, and Dark Star framing Faith for murder, which makes her public enemy #1 to the Los Angeles Police Department. While she tries to regroup and figure out a way to clear her name, Faith finds herself in an adventure that puts her out of her element.
SYFY WIRE spoke with Houser about Faith: Dreamside.
Still a hero at heart, Faith finds subtle ways to use her powers and help others, but it’s nothing like before, when she could be out in the open. Faith soon realizes that she is being watched closely, but discovers she has the support of a friend in Animalia.
“Back when I was first talking about this story arc with [former Valiant Editor-in-Chief] Warren [Simons],” Houser shared, “the linchpin idea was what it would be like for Faith to have a sidekick. The story evolved a lot after that, but Animalia was part of it from the beginning.”
Oftentimes we learn more about a character through the company he or she keeps, and that played a part in what Animalia’s role is. The banter between the two is something that readers are going to like about this series, and as Faith leans on Animalia, so does Animalia on Faith with a problem of her own, as she is being haunted in her sleep.
“Faith's hero career started with her being a part of a team. So seeing her working with heroes like Animalia and Dr. Mirage after operating on her own so much is a great way to examine how she's grown as a person.”
Animalia’s needs push Faith out of her comfort zone, so she turns to parapsychologist Dr. Mirage. As the story shifts to a place called the Deadside and then later the Dreamside, where our unfulfilled dreams go to die, Faith embarks to a place where she doesn’t know how to apply her powers. It’s a dark and metaphysical journey, and one that’s new for Faith.
“For Faith, finding balance is important, especially when her life is in upheaval as it is when the story starts,” Houser explained. “The main idea here was to create a realm of the Deadside unlike any other we've seen in other Valiant titles. With Dr. Mirage as a guide, it was important for this world to be a unique challenge for her, too.”
But the heart of Dreamside is what makes Faith such a fascinating character; it’s not just the way she acts but how she thinks and solves problems. She's a fangirl, and that makes it easy to embrace her character. While many superheroes are such an escape from our reality, readers feel like they can relate to her even stronger because she feels less of a fantasy, whether it's her body-positive spirit or her burning desire to do the right thing.
“I think what makes her so relatable is the fact that her desire to be a superhero comes from a place that we all know and understand,” Houser pondered. “She has the same pop culture influences we do, and they shaped her desire to use her abilities to help others, as well as her methodology for doing so – with great power and all that. She is any of us who reads comics or goes to cons.”
SYFY WIRE has an exclusive first look at the first five pages (inked art, not colored or lettered) of Faith: Dreamside #1 that finds our hero in disguise, forced to restrain her persona as she remains an outlaw. Covers are by Marguerite Sauvage, Sibylline Meynet, and Adam Pollina. The four-issue miniseries is published by Valiant, 32 pages for $3.99 and on sale in print and digital September 26 (with an FOC date of September 3).