Faithless is set to be a 5 issue mini-series coming out of Boom! Studios, promising an "erotic depiction of faith, sex, and the devil in the tradition of the divine comedy." Writer Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets) and artist Maria Llovet (There's Nothing There) debut the writer's first real experience in writing a sexually explicit series. With covers by Paul Pope, and Eisner-Award winning artist, Faithless has all the keys to be the next gritty story to hit the comics scene.
Perhaps not intended for more conservative or younger audiences, I don't exactly see this winning fans in other serious fan circles either. Although the cover offers a refreshing (albeit bloody) scene of the main characters embracing in a bloody shower, the actual story falls a little short in delivering anything impressive in terms of believable human interaction. Azzarello stumbles in creating believable context and development as the story progresses.
Hermione is introduced as a sexually frustrated woman who is dabbling in the dark arts, specifically with drawing spells out in her notebook much to the chagrin of her friends. After a particularly heated interaction, she runs into Poppy: an eccentric model who immediately whisks Hermione into an array of interactions and coincidences that lead you to believe her spell book might have more power than previously indicated.
Azzarello stumbles a bit with creating a believable bond between the two women, specifically with Poppy's interaction with her former flame Michael. After it's suggested that Hermione's influence made Michael commit suicide on the local news, Poppy cracks a joke that pavement is the fastest way to a woman's heart. This nonchalant behavior is dismissed by Poppy as a defense mechanism, but it really just cements her as being an unlikable character and all exchanges with Hermione read very uncomfortably.
The comic ends with a 5-page sex scene between the two women and closes out the first issue of this limited series run. Although Faithless is advertised as erotica on the cover, I expected much more dynamic writing and better pacing. The story felt too rushed in world building and slowed uncomfortably between every sexy interaction with Hermione and Poppy. There is nothing relating this to the Divine Comedy as advertised, specifically no interesting protagonist venturing to hell and back for her angelic lover.
Beneath everything, Azzarello leaves compelling clues at Hermione's knack of influencing people around her and being unmistakably lucky are more than just coincidence. If you're a fan of the raunchy and have faith in Azzarello's penchant for finishing a story strong, I recommend picking up Faithless at the very least for the art. Maria Llovet had no flaws in this brilliantly drawn first issue, and the very last panel does end with a disturbingly rendered cliffhanger.
The potential of bringing Faithless to the next level with top tier writing can still be achieved in issue #2, however this read more as a man trying to write women in a compelling way and ended up with an awkwardly paced porno.
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