The mundane begins to mingle with the magical and leads to a tragedy in the latest issue of Faithless from BOOM! Studios. The continuing story features eroticism and horror in equal measures with strong adult content throughout.
As Faith’s magical ability begins to emerge, her life starts spiral out of her control. At first in wondrous ways but there is always a price to pay.
Brian Azzarello slowly builds the pace in the latest issue of Faithless by concentrating on the ordinary things in the character’s lives. Faith and Poppy’s conversation may be about magic but the naturalistic tone in the speech gives the impression it could be about anything. Poppy getting dressed, packing her bag, showing concern for her cat; it all has a relaxed, normality about it.
This is continued through the short scenes of Aya at home, relaxing. Azzarello keeps the atmosphere light and cheeky, lulling the reader into a false sense of security. This allows the shocks and the weirdness to become more prevalent. The story packs a punch with surprises that will leave the reader stunned.
Faith’s descent becomes all-encompassing and Azzarello is able to drag the reader down with her. His constant focus on the little things, the details in the character’s lives, makes the comic more believable and, in turn, the reader can accept the character’s decisions. There is a naturalistic flow through the speech and actions making Faithless a highly emotional read.
The emotional impact would not be so strong without Maria Llovet’s beautiful art work. She brings a softness to the world of Faithless that acts as a comforter for the reader. Llovet’s line work is fluid and free giving the scenery a used and loved feel. The characters inhabit the sets and the backgrounds are as much a part of the scene as the foregrounds.
The character work is equally impressive with subtle gestures humanising the complex characters within the story. There are some wonderfully choreographed scenes containing interactions between several characters. The contrast between these scenes inform the reader about conflicting personalities and the influence that one character has on another.
Llovet understands the complexities of movement and emotional reactions and she weaves this in to the fabric of Faithless. She creates scenes of shock, sadness, and eroticism, with seeming ease and takes the reader on an emotional journey.
AndWorld Design provides the link between Azzarello’s script and Llovet’s art work. The free hand lettering bridges the gap between the emotional visuals and the steady beats of the story. Elements of the story are given emphasis by the careful placement of the speech balloons. In some moments the punchline of a joke only works because of how speech is placed and presented in the panel.
The attention to detail and the focus on characterisation makes Faithless a spectacular read. The content is clearly adult in nature and at no point does the comic become about the nudity or sex; that is just another element of this world. In fact, the opening sequence of this issue is so naturalist, so obsessed with the everyday relationship between the Faith and Poppy, that the nudity becomes a part of the character building. These two characters have barely met yet they are comfortable with each other.
It is a testament to the story telling abilities of Azzarello, Llovet, and AndWorld Design that this comic is such a powerful, emotional roller-coaster of a ride. The reader is there with Faith through each high and low. As Faithless continues, shifting from reality to a place of magic, the reader is pulled 100% along with it having already committed, like Faith, to this emerging new world.
A spectacular read from start to finish with some of the most gorgeous art work gracing the pages of any comic being published today.