THIS REVIEW OF ‘FAITHLESS’ #5 IS SPOILER-FREE.
by Lauren Fernandes. Faith is just your average urban girl. She chills in parks, hangs in coffee shops, spends time with her pot-smoking roomie, has a fabulous blue-haired girlfriend, and she loves working on her art.
Her art that, as it happens, seems to be connected to some sort of satanic magic. Your basic millennial stuff, really.
Brian Azzarello is the writer and bus-driver of Faithless, No. 5. He steers this issue away from what we’ve seen so far—the sex and sensuality are put on pause (briefly) and finally we get to see Faith stripped down. Bare. Fully exposed.
This is something this series has been lacking up until this point. Azzarello has given us this spread of very interesting characters, but until now we’ve only seen just enough to keep us interested. With this issue of Faithless, Azzarello digs in a bit more to a couple of these interesting faces, deepening the story just slightly. That seems to be his tactic here: set up a fascinating plot with great characters, but keep them relatively flat until he drops a kernel of new interest.
In Faithless No. 5, Faith is grieving the loss of two of her best friends and roommates. A part of the success of this series is the way Azzarello has kept readers guessing about Faith’s magic, and this issue keeps with that trend. I’m still not sure what is going on. I’m still not sure what Faith’s powers are. I’m not sure if, or how they’re connected to her sexuality (and is there some kind of statement there?) but she doesn’t know either. It’s a confusing ride and Azzarello keeps you seated right next to Faith. I don’t think we will get to know much of anything before Faith does, and that right there shows Azzarello’s skill—there’s just enough of a tease, just a little glimmer of something in the distance to keep you interested. And the glimmer is damn interesting.
This series is like people-watching on a public transportation bus and not knowing where its going. You could get off the bus at any stop, but just when you think you might end your ride, someone interesting shows up and you stay in your seat to see where things go.
That is, if people-watching were a tad more late-night television. When I mentioned this issue paused the sensuality, I meant pause. Because it definitely hits “play” again.
Maria Llovet’s art in Faithless is a fearless expression of sensuality, without glazing over the rest of what being human is. Llovet has heroically drawn the ugly cry, with puffy red eyes and messy hair and body language that you feel. The body language in this whole issue is so well done. It is clear, direct, and feels so natural. Faith’s heavy moments of crushing grief, her exhausted post-cry demeanor, and her moments of fear are shown expertly, in ways that connect you to her pain. In fact, these frames are the most connected I’ve felt with any of these characters in the entire series.
Llovet also delivers erotic, unapologetic moments. The lips of her characters part in moments that take your breath away and bring color to your cheeks, if you’re reading in public like I was. The angles pan around fiery moments, showing each heated touch with the intent of a skilled cinematographer. They bring us into the heat of the moment, building in intensity and pitch like the sweeping climax of both an intimate encounter and a horror movie.
Until we’re cut off.
Until the last page.
Confused, intrigued, and wanting a little more. I’m on the bus next to Faith, waiting to find out what secrets she’s going to uncover about herself. Waiting to find out where Azzarello is driving this thing, and waiting to see what new horrors or carnal moments Llovet will have waiting for us when we arrive. Sometimes predictable, sometimes shocking. Sometimes a perfect mirror of human emotion, sometimes a reflection of seemingly thoughtless lust. Either way, it’s definitely a ride.
BOOM! Studios / $3.99
Written by Brian Azzarello.
Art by Maria Llovet.
Letters by AndWorld Design.
6 out of 10
Check out this 6-page preview of ‘Faithless’ #5, including a variant cover by Eduardo Risso, courtesy of BOOM! Studios!