How Houser Assembled Valiant's Heroes for Faith & the Future Force

This July sees Valiant's newest Timewalker travel through time and space as she assembles together the greatest collection of heroes the Valiant Universe has ever seen for a mission which affects not just the future of everything they know - but their past as well. And when looking for the greatest heroes of all time, who do you choose to lead your team? Who else but Faith? A four-issue event series, Faith and The Future Force sees writer Jody Houser teaming up with a rotating series of artists including Barry Kitson, Steven Segovia and many others for a tale which crosses time, space, and dimensions. Almost like a certain "Doctor" Faith is a well-known fan of...

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With the event set to kick off in July, CBR spoke with Houser about continuing on the adventures of Faith, what she and her team (including Timewalker, Dr Mirage, Ninjak and countless others) will be up against, and just how multi-dimensional this whole thing's going to get!

CBR: Faith works as her own hero or as part of the Harbinger Renegades - but now we’re going to get to see her lead a team of her own, the Future Force. Who are the Future Force, and what first brings them together?

Jody Houser: The Future Force are the heroes that Faith and Neela [Sethi, the new Timewalker] bring together to try to keep all of reality from being destroyed. As to who comprises the Future Force, well that really depends on which timeline we're talking about...

Issue #3 Cover by Audrey Mok

CBR News: What was it that interested you in this conceit; taking characters from the breadth of Valiant’s chronology and bringing them together into a team here?

Houser: I think some of the most fun comic events are the ones that really take advantage of the shared universe and bring all the players to the table against a massive threat. Not to mention the fact that Faith has been talking about wanting to have a time travel adventure since I started writing her.

Have you enjoyed getting to bring in some of the characters from the wider Valiant Universe, here? Are there any you’ve particularly enjoyed getting to write?

I'm excited for the chance to tackle Ninjak again... I had a lot of fun writing a backup for him before in X-O Manowar #50. I'm also enjoying writing Neela, who was shown in Ivar, Timewalker to not really be a fan of Doctor Who - unlike Faith.

Issue #3 Variant by Afua Richardson

The series will feature several artists, because every time you shift to a new timeline, the artist will change in turn to draw their take on that timeline. Has that changed the way you think about the story, and how you script it? Does it make you break up the story and give you a chance to play around with different styles of story, or genre?

I actually got my start in comics writing multiple-artist stories with the two Womanthology collections. This is really more like going back to my comic roots and taking advantage of a style of storytelling that wouldn't really work in any other medium.

The first issues will see you starting with artists Barry Kitson and Steven Segovia, with many more to follow in subsequent issues. What’s it like to work with so many different artists on the same story? You’ve experienced it with Faith, but does it change the collaborative process?

I think it affects the collaboration less on a project like this because everything on both sides is funneled through editorial first. They help make sure that the pieces come together and the book feels consistent, even with all of the different voices contributing.

How does Faith change when she’s in a team setting? What were your thoughts on how she would act when she hits this role as leader of a superhero team?

I don't think she really does change all that much, aside from having more people that she's looking out for. That's one of the things I've always liked about her--she doesn't let being on a team really affect her sense of self. I think we saw that best when she walked away from Unity.

What is Faith’s mindset when she’s first approached for this? Out of all the heroes across space and time, Neela chose her - how does she respond to that?

She reacts much like a Doctor Who fan meeting the actual Doctor would. She's very, very happy.

The villain they’re facing in this story is described by Valiant as being “sentient history” - what or who are they/it? And what is their goal?

It's less sentient history and more an A.I. who understands how to manipulate history in a way that most time travelers can't. He knows how to destroy the fixed events that other beings can't, which makes him a threat to all of reality. And that's exactly what he's after.

Your work on Faith has always looked to use classic-styled superhero storytelling as a way to address real and contemporary issues, and it’s tempting to perhaps wonder if we can read anything into the idea of a villain who wants to rewrite history to suit their own purposes. What was it that you found most interesting about the idea of setting Faith and the Future Force against a villain like this?

I think it was more about having a villain different in style and scope than we've seen in Faith before, while still feeling like a villain that fits into Faith's world specifically. If you've seen the design, he's weirdly cute for an entity that wants to kill everything and everyone. Hopefully Faith and the others don't underestimate how dangerous he is...

Far from rewriting history, you’ve recently helped write history, as Faith was nominated for an Eisner this year for Best Ongoing Series - your first nomination as a writer and I believe one of Valiant’s first as a publisher. What’s it been like to get to build up a character like Faith over the last few years, and see her reach this larger fan-base, and hit the mainstream attention?

It's really gratifying seeing how comic readers have connected with Faith. I've heard so many stories about people who are trying out comics for the first time because of seeing a hero they can relate to. At the end of the day, it means the world to be a part of a story that means so much to so many people.

Faith and The Future Force begins at Valiant this July.

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