Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s influence on pop fiction is hard to underestimate. Without Buffy, I find it hard to imagine shows like Supernatural, Smallville, Arrow, or Veronica Mars ever happening, and you can see its effects in shows even in the present. And, unquestionably, Buffy borrows a lot from comics. Willow is Jean Grey, in many ways. Xander has a good bit of Peter Parker in him. Buffy, unquestionably, is just Kitty Pryde as a vampire hunter. Joss Whedon’s affection for Kitty Pryde isn’t exactly a secret.
Faith is a product of the recent BOOM! Studios relaunch of the Buffy comics line, which is an interesting idea in and of itself – transforming a media-tie-in property to a uniquely comics-specific one is a gamble that I’d like to see pay off. And moreover, it’s what makes this comic basically palatable to me. Given the recent statements by Charisma Carpenter, Michelle Trachtenberg, and others, a comic that is entirely based off the Whedon-based Buffy-verse would be an instant no.
Which makes it unfortunate that Faith #1 isn’t any good.
So, in the show, Faith is the other vampire slayer, the one that isn’t Buffy. She serves first as an ally, and then as an antagonist to Buffy, and a thematic foil. She is what Buffy would be if Buffy abandoned her friends, her allies, and her normal life – if she was all Slayer, all the time. Suffice it to say, that this doesn’t end well for Faith.
The comic Faith starts well before Faith and Buffy meet, or before even Faith realizes that she is a Slayer. Instead, she is working at a movie theater, seemingly on her own, and having mysterious moments of lost memory – she’ll sit down and then blink her eyes and it’s been a day. (These, it is revealed, are because Faith is out there being trained to be a Vampire Slayer, and then having her memories erased.)
Also, Wesley Wyndham-Pryce is there.
Writer Jeremy Lambert’s story is often incoherent and confusing, but more importantly, it ignores the thematic depth that makes Faith an interesting character. She’s not a character worth a spin-off because she’s just a stabby girl in tight leather pants – she isn’t the Venom to Buffy’s Spider-Man. Rather, Faith is interesting because of the thematic difference. She’s so alone, and so desperate for approval, that she ran from Giles and Wesley and Buffy rather then facing the consequences, and was then so easily manipulated by the Mayor. Lambert’s Faith is just a stabby girl in tight pants. That thematic depth just isn’t there.
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