If you’re a fan of “Harbinger” over at Valiant Comics, odds are a big reason why is Faith Hebert, aka Zephyr. While she’s not the team leader, strategist or powerhouse, she’s the heart and soul, and the way that series writer Joshua Dysart depicts her makes her impossible to not love. Many readers have looked at the book and wondered when Faith was going to get another issue or book focusing on her – especially after Lucy Knisley’s astoundingly charming one-page story from issue #25 – and today, we have excellent news for all of you Faith fans out there: it’s coming.
In December, Valiant is proud to present “Harbinger: Faith” #0, a one-shot issue that finds Faith dealing with the aftershocks of the Armor Hunters event as she tries to figure out what’s next for her. But you don’t need me explaining what the book is all about, as there’s a solicit below to tell you all about it:
HARBINGER: FAITH #0
Written by JOSHUA DYSART
Art by ROBERT GILL
Cover A by JOE QUINONES
Cover B by LUCY KNISLEY
Variant Cover by BRIAN LEVEL
This is Faith #0!
Her first and only boyfriend to date is a little bit of a douche, her friends are all gone, and, after her insane adventure in Mexico City, Faith Hebert is feeling a little frustrated with the direction of her life. She’s just a normal super-powered young woman in an increasingly crazy world. Here’s the story of a true innocent and kind heart in a hard world. From the comic shop of her youth to the moment she found out that, despite her weight, she was actually light as feather. Zephyr is the western wind. Warm and kind, she blows across us all.
The only way a Dysart written Faith-centric book could be any better is with an exceptional artist, and we’re getting that in the form of Robert Gill, one of the brightest lights in Valiant’s artistic stable. Someone who is relatively new to comics, Gill impressed with his work on “Eternal Warrior”, and he’s certain to do the same on this upcoming issue. We talked with Dysart about exactly what Gill brings to the book, what makes Faith so special, and a lot more in an exclusive interview about the book. Take a look below, and make sure to get on this book come December. It’s bound to be a stand-out.
Josh Dysart: She’s a character in transition right now, and to make that transition really work, to continue to make her feel like a real person, we needed to touch base with who she is and who she hopes to be, what motivates her and where she’s going in her life. Plus, there’s just a joy in writing her and I like to follow my joy, just like she does.
Faith is hugely important in a book like Harbinger, as she’s really brings levity to a book filled with some pretty serious characters. How do you view her role in both the book, and what makes her so important to the once and future Renegades?
JD: As a fictional construct in the story she plays a role that’s traditionally built for the so-called “comic relief” character. But she’s so much more than that. She’s the “kindness-relief”, the “moral-relief”. And so if that’s her role in the mechanics of the stories it also becomes her role on the Renegade’s team inside of the fiction too. They see her as something nobler than them, something more important and precious, and even, at least psychologically, stronger. And that’s funny, because that’s exactly how she sees each and every one of them. So she’s the guiding light. I think that without Faith they might end up making some pretty bad decisions (or worse ones, as the case may be), and we’re certainly seeing that right now as the team is fractured and each person is following their native, instinctive path, more for the worse than for the better.Continued below
Even back in Jim Shooter and David Lapham’s run, Faith was a fan favorite, and for many of the same reasons as before she’s been a big part of the book’s popularity in your run as well. Yet she’s a bit of an anomaly in the mix of popular comic characters, as she’s both overweight and a huge nerd for things like Firefly and comics. Do you view a character like Faith as an important counterpoint to the frequent objectification of women in comics, and what is it about her exactly that you think makes people love her so?
JD: I think the fact that she’s an atypical hero is exactly the thing that makes her a fan favorite. I’ve had readers approach me and say that before Faith came along they’d never seen anyone that looked like them save the day before. Not just in comics, in any medium. And so, in that light, I really feel that Valiant and myself have a responsibility to make her as real and true as we can, because we’ve got something far more important than a trope on our hands here. We have a character with tremendous representational power for an under-represented population. It’s sad that real standards of female beauty are so lost in our culture and in our industry, but Faith is a very small attempt to help course-correct that.
JD: Actually, the zero issue will sort of graze up against that a little bit, but that’s all part of Faith’s psychological strength that I mentioned before. She may not be physically strong, or brilliantly tactical, but her emotional intelligence and psychological strength are unparalleled among the other Renegades. I think some part of her understands that her light is needed even more in a world where you can loose your friends and face down horrible swarming alien insects. I think she sees a dark and violent world all around her and instead of that corrupting her, it reinforces her. Again, there’s a hint of that in this issue, but it’s also about a question we all ask ourselves, where do we go from here?
Robert Gill’s someone I’d never experienced before seeing his work in Eternal Warrior with Greg Pak, but I quickly became a tremendous fan because the guy is just brilliant. What makes him such a great fit for this issue in your mind?
JD: It wasn’t until working with him on our Armor Hunters: Harbinger crossover work that I really started to see his potential for a book like this. He loves action and monsters, and does an amazing bang-up job of it, but this zero issue is striving for something more emotional and characterological than what he and I have done together before, but I’m excited to call out his dramatic side, his “actor’s” side. I’m excited to see what he does with it. I really enjoy working with quite a bit.