REVIEW: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Faith,” Issue #1

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Faith #1 - But Why Tho?Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Faith #1 is a comic published by BOOM! Studios. Written by Jeremy Lambert with art from Eleonora Carlini. The colourer is Mattia Iacono and the issue is lettered by Jim Campbell.

This first issue takes place at multiple points of Faith’s life. Mostly based around a movie theatre, we see different parts of her story told in sequence. From her admittance into a children’s home, through to early training and modern-day, Faith Lehane is trying to piece together her life, practically chiseled into becoming a slayer. Multiple vampires are slain and unknown mysteries of her history begin to unravel.

The narrative is very unstable but is told through an ingenious method. It is initially difficult to judge which timelines are which, but this is intentional and starts to get clearer as the issue progresses. The parts of Faith’s lives are being played out whilst she is in a movie theatre, seemingly dreamt by her in the present day. The plot will bounce from a flashback to the present day, constantly unsettling the reader. What makes it harder to follow is the very fast pace. Trying to process what is happening in each timeline would be easy if it didn’t move so clearly.

Once the reader starts to grasp that there are time jumps, they may start to settle. The motifs of movies are clever as Faith’s own memories play out like different film genres, from horror to action and adventure. The focal point of the theatre and movies has two purposes. It allows the different segments in time to begin from similar anchor points, but it also fits thematically with Faith’s internal monologue. 

Faith appears to be as confused about her life as the reader is. She tries to process these memories, deciphering what is and isn’t real. There is trickery throughout Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Faith #1. People disappear between panels, Faith is transported to different time zones, different places. But Lambert allows her personality to shine through as she changes and evolves as a slayer and a person. Her iconic wit is there, the sassiness delicious to absorb. In combat she is confident, doing it absent-mindedly at times. Her mind is clearly twisted which is partially why she is so abrasive towards people.

There are other characters that make appearances at various points in the comic. From first impressions, most of them are interesting. But the fractured timeline and emphasis on Faith prevent them from being explored to a more elaborate extent. But they are the basis for much of the mysteries that have started to be spun. One factor that is made clear from these people is that ever since she was a child, Faith Lehan has never been in control of her own life.

The art is fascinating. There are different eras and genres of films shown on a movie screen, and parts of Faith’s life are played out like they were on a movie screen. And so Carlini adapts their art repeatedly to reflect this. This has a huge impact on the bizarre nature of the comic. When in the children’s home and school, the faces of those around the young slayer are twisted and frightening. Her parents are imagined as horrible, terrifying monsters. In an early training scene, the proportions of the characters are more exaggerated, both large and thin.

Not only are these dynamic changes jaw-dropping in their skill, but they result in Faith’s ages being more noticeable. From a small child to a teenager to her modern-day, these alterations are easy to spot. This is needed to make sense of what time the comic is portraying in that scene.

Faith’s facial features are large, allowing for beautifully crafted emotions. She bites her lip. She smirks. She panics. She snarls. Carnilli really captures her personality just by physicality. The fight scenes are fluid and energetic and the vampires are all unique and monstrous in design.

Also aiding in world-building are the colours. Iacono fills each point in time with different colour schemes, occasionally mimicking the shades classic movies were filmed in. The first panel is an old romance movie, rendered in black and white. But there are other moments where there is a brown “filter” over the page. In the parts where Faith’s childhood features, which has monstrous figures and warped faces, it is already coloured in unsettling grey and black. But Iacono goes one further and turns their large teeth a glowing orange. For some reason, this makes these figures even more terrifying. 

Iacono shines in modern-day or full-coloured moments as well.  The texture of the surfaces and objects comes across superbly, to the point where one gets memories of what those materials feel like. From the scratchy chairs inside a movie theatre to smooth leather clothes, it adds depth and detail to the panels.

The letters are easy to read and very clear, which is extremely helpful within a book with this perplexing narrative style and ever-changing art.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Faith #1 is an intriguing yet confusing read. The concept of the issue, using the theme of cinema and movies to tell the story is a fascinating one. But the constant time skips and bad pacing make it hard to focus. I appreciate the writing and art as so much experimentation is on display, but the structure can make your head spin. What is admirable about the comic is how much it revolves around Faith. This feels like her own world and her own story with none of the Scooby Gang to divert that attention. And if the story starts to streamline then the creators have a gem on their hands.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Faith #1 is available where comics are sold.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Faith #1
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TL;DR

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Faith #1 is an intriguing yet confusing read. The concept of the issue, using the theme of cinema and movies to tell the story is a fascinating one. But the constant time skips and bad pacing make it hard to focus. I appreciate the writing and art as so much experimentation is on display, but the structure can make your head spin. What is admirable about the comic is how much it revolves around Faith. This feels like her own world and her own story with none of the Scooby Gang to divert that attention. And if the story starts to streamline then the creators have a gem on their hands.