(W) Brian Azzarello (A) Maria Llovet (L) AndWorld Design
Faithless #1 written by Brian Azzarello, drawn by Maria Llovet and lettered by AndWorld Design and signals an original story that strays further from Azzarello’s grittier books. This first gives off a tone closer to Azzarello’s Wonder Woman with an added emphasis on the horror and the erotic of the fantastic. For a book promising sex, satan, and, magic the first installment only explicitly handles two out of three but teases just enough to grab the reader’s interest for more.
The story centers on Faith’s search for something more out of life whether that be through magic or pleasure. The search is shown on the first page with Faith trying and failing to orgasm and the feeling of her needing more sets her on the path to meet Poppy and begins a series of events that are likely going to give Faith much more out of life than she can handle.
Maria Llovet’s artwork is what makes the book a must-read. Her artwork adds personality and dynamism to a comic that is mostly just conversation. Every character drawn is steeped in expression and variety. Many of the scenes lack straight lines and give off a sense of continual motion. Llovet is no stranger to drawing sensual scenes and this book is stronger for it. I was naturally hesitant to read a fifty-something-year-old man’s depiction of what a twenty-something woman’s sex life would be like but Llovet really does great work with pacing, and reactions. Faces show clear anticipation and pleasure that keep the scenes from being hollow and gratuitous.
Brian Azzarello’s writing of this issue does not disappoint. Dialogue bounces and has a very rhythmic quality while remaining mostly natural. Some bits of slang fall flat but overall the dialogue is a driving force keeping the story afloat. As for the story as a whole, it does very little in making the solicit text explicit up until the final page. Without getting into greater detail, the final page feels like it should have been much earlier, but at the same time, it does work as a hook for getting the reader to tune in. Azzarello seems to be playing a lot of the more explicit occult elements of the world close to the vest in this first issue, giving us touches and teases of what could be coming. While this would normally seem frustrating, the nature of this book is not meant to be a magic romp. The establishment of Faith’s world as one very rooted in our own makes what small elements of the supernatural stand out and makes larger unnatural manifestations downright frightening.
As a whole, the first issue does an excellent job in setting up the world of Faithless both visually and through defining what Faith wants and how she wants to get it. While Azzarello does excellent work building the story, I cannot claim how invested I would be in it without the art being as gripping as it is. I am drawn into this mini-series and invested in seeing how it will develop its themes of the occult, the erotic, and Faith.