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Faith: a superhero we can relate to

A review of the new comic book Faith

Valiant Entertainment Faith.
Valiant Comics
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Superheroes have long represented the best of humanity, but they’ve never represented all humans — a concept that comics are only just beginning to figure out. Enter Faith Herbert, a.k.a. Zephyr, a superhero who happens to be plus-size.

Faith is a geek, she’s a little bit awkward, and she has the power of telekinesis — the ability to move objects with her mind. She’s also working at a viral news website and has a dowdy civilian alter ego. And through it all, her story becomes an exploration of the gulf between fantasy and reality and what those terms mean when it comes to being a hero.

The debut issue, released in January, was a winning one, as we got a glimpse of Faith’s day-to-day life, her fears, and her romantic daydreams. It really established her as a character we can both root for and laugh with.

But there’s also something sinister — something that involves creepy blonde clones and missing teens — looming.

There are moments when the comic, from writer Jody Houser and artists Francis Portela and Marguerite Sauvage, feels like a modern update of the classic Clark Kent story. But it also manages to find its own voice, and its own dark chords to hit.