Sylvia Faust #1

Written by Jason Henderson
Art by Greg Scott
32 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

It may sound silly, but sometimes all you need is a good title to get a reader’s attention. Jason Henderson certainly found that in Sylvia Faust. Faust alone brings up memories of Dr. Faustus and his deal to sell his soul to the devil, but somehow the name Sylvia being attached adds a certain level of class and style to it. With that alone, I felt like I just had to give the book a try.

Sylvia Faust doesn’t fit in. She’s tried being a bike messenger and a telemarketer, but when you’re someone with mystical powers who isn’t used to the real world, it’s difficult to take on these sorts of jobs. What she doesn’t know is that her path is about to intersect with theatre owner Tim Klass, and if anyone could use her help, it’s him.

Henderson’s script to Sylvia Faust #1 is a fun introduction to his characters. By bringing us through a day in their lives, we see how Sylvia and Tim both deal with the world around them in their own unique ways. When they finally meet at the end of the first issue, we’ve got a strong impression of who they are as well as an interesting idea of what the two of them together could turn out like. There’s a large cast of characters surrounding them that hopefully will be fleshed out in future issues; they’ve got the potential to be interesting, but right now aside from Sylvia’s mentor Annie it’s hard to get a feel for any of them.

It’s odd, looking at Greg Scott’s art, to figure out why it does and doesn’t work for me. I think the big problem is that it looks almost like it was drawn at a much smaller size and then blown up into comic book dimensions. The lines are big and thick and grainy, but the lack of any sort detail in-between them just looks odd. The frustrating thing is, this could look so much better. Scott’s got a good sense of anatomy, and his cover illustration doesn’t suffer from any of the strangeness of the interiors. In fact, when I scanned in a panel or two and reduced the size, it was a distinct improvement. I’m not sure what exactly happened here (perhaps Sylvia Faust was originally intended to be printed in smaller dimensions?) but it’s a shame that it doesn’t look as good as it should.

To be honest, if future issues just had Sylvia and Tim working together, that’d be enough to keep me interested. Henderson also sets up a subplot about Sylvia’s past, though, that should certainly provide some additional story fodder. Hopefully future issues will have the oddness of the art a little more under control, because the writing for Sylvia Faust deserves better.

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