Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Maria Llovet
Release Date: 25th December 2019
Faith is a dabbler in the magical arts, a habit her friends reluctantly indulge as harmless fantasy, but when she bumps into Poppy (literally), she finds herself drawn into a world of magical, erotic fantasy. Lurking on the edges of this world, however, is something dark and sinister and Faith may just lose herself and her soul in the pursuit of her dreams.
Having now had a chance to digest all six issues of Faithless, there is no doubt whatsoever that the primary driver of this series is to produce erotic fantasy. Where there was initially a promise of something more liberating and affirming in the press releases surrounding Azzarello and Llovet’s story, it seems to have mostly gotten lost in translation.
Yes, there is a story outside of the purely erotic – this is after all a story of temptation and the cost of making deals with the devil – but make no mistake, the notion of this being an exploration of female identity and the promise of intellectual reflection that was the key selling point of the series has become diluted beyond recognition. I find this quite disappointing, if I’m being honest. Azzarello is an excellent writer who normally produces stories and characters with a lot more depth and range than this, but ultimately Faithless becomes issue after issue of just waiting for the next sex scene.
When the first issue of this series came out I shouted from the rooftops about Maria Llovet’s artwork, and despite my misgivings about the story itself, the artwork remains spectacular and this series is very much her show. Reminiscent of the styles of Guido Crepax and Sean Phillips, Llovet manages to capture some real emotion and depth with the characters that she’s bringing to life on the page. The eroticism in Llovet’s art is without question, and there are some incredibly well delivered scenes. What Llovet can do with a simple glance or gesture is superb, and the framing of the panels creates some real tension and heightens the moment.
However, it’s not just about the eroticism (okay, it’s mostly about the eroticism), and there is some beautiful world building and character design that progress the story without the need for titillation. There are some events that are truly tragic for Faith, including the loss of those closest to her, and in these we do see some really skilful artwork and some truly human moments.
At the end of the day, while I’m really underwhelmed by Azzarello’s story, this is still a great vehicle for showcasing Llovet’s impressive talents, and I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with in 2020.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek