In the final installment of Faith: Dreamside, Faith and Doctor Mirage must battle monsters and heart-ache in the Deadside to rescue Monica Jim.
Faith: Dreamside No. 4
Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: MJ Kim
Cover Artist: Marguerite Sauvage, Sibylline Meynet, Stéphane Roux
Faith: Dreamside No. 4 cover (Credit: Valiant Comics)
Faith and Doctor Mirage have been navigating the Deadside in the hopes of finding Monica Jim, whose soul was sucked into this world in the previous issue. Along the way, they met Faith’s doppelganger and Mirage’s husband Hwen. In Faith: Dreamside No. 4, the two heroes are confronted by the realm’s most dangerous villain – Belu.
Belu looks like a slithering nightmare, but what he represents is something much worse. Faith’s powers are diminished in the dream realm, so how will she save her friend? Monica Jim is trapped in Belu’s cave and is just as powerless. Do these heroes of the Valiant-verse have it in them to defeat their doubts, and the monster?
The conclusion to the all-too-brief Faith: Dreamside series is surprisingly melancholic, yet filled to the brim with comic book goodness. There’s a sense of hope that threads every page together, despite the downright creepy visuals on display. Jody Houser’s writing is most comfortable when she’s highlighting interpersonal struggles, and her work shines through in Faith: Dreamside No. 4.
MJ Kim’s art, along with Jordie Bellaire’s colors, are outstanding in this issue. They are given a wide tableaux to create, from flashbacks to inescapable traps and triumphant battles; all of which are executed to perfection, with a touch of whimsy but plenty of heart.
Faith is beautifully portrayed in this finale, and one can’t help but get a little teary at the end when we see her embrace the person she should be. It’s been a tough road for this heroic psiot, what with her enemies besmirching her good name as hero of the people, which makes Faith: Dreamside No. 4 read almost like a coming-of-age story. What a perfect analogy for a hero who is low on morale at the moment.
Doctor Mirage in Faith: Dreamside No. 4 (Credit: Valiant Comics)
But Faith isn’t the only hero in this series; at times it seemed like Doctor Mirage’s story encroached on Faith’s characterization, but there’s a pathos surrounding her circumstances that made her a worthy ally for Faith during this adventure. Mirage is an expert on the Deadside, yet her own emotions and sadness do not make her invincible; nor do they hold her back.
Mirage became something of a mentor for Faith during the four installments of Faith: Dreamside, and one wonders if the editors at Valiant Comics will be re-introducing this character in a series of her own. It was fantastic to see two female protagonists fighting side by side with nary a moment of animosity between them. Why is this still so rare in modern entertainment?
Faith: Dreamside No. 4 ends with a bold declaration that Faith will return. But when? Fans of this wonderful character have been given precious little over the years, and now that we’ve had a taste of Jody Houser’s solo series, we crave more. These mini-runs have been all well and good, but a long-standing solo series with Faith is what’s needed. There are plenty of loose threads to tie up and, now that she seems to have got her groove back, Faith deserves a longer run so she can finally clear her name, bring her extensive rogues gallery to justice and maybe even get the guy!