A Review of ‘Faithless Vol. 1’ Reveals NSFW Magic

Writer: Brian Azarello / Artist: Maria Llovet / Boom! Studios

It’s very easy to fall into reading the same genre over and over again. You get accustomed to a certain style of storytelling, common archetypes and stand-ins, narrative beats. It becomes familiar and easy to fall back. But when we don’t push our boundaries, we miss out on a wide catalog of stories that may also intrigue and captivate us if given the chance. I, like many others, make sure to ask my friends at the local comic book shop what they’re reading and what they recommend to try and broaden the proverbial months. And many, many months ago, one of my friends recommended Azarello’s and Llovet’s Faithless. I picked up the first issue and enjoined it enough but didn’t get around to adding it to my regular pull. Flash forward to the present day, Faithless II is getting ready to drop and considering I have a little bit more time on my hands, I decide to revisit the book properly and lemme tell you: I have not read anything quite like it, and I was blushing a good three quarters of the books.

Best way that I can describe Faithless is that is a supernatural horror erotica comic, and those adjectives may or may not be in the correct order. This is very much a not safe work piece of fiction, rated M for mature, but if you’re willing to take the plunge, you’ll be treated to a visually tantalizing book that re-contextualizes the unholy trinity of sex, death, and magic. And as sacrilegious as it might be to say, I think that’s a good thing.

Faithless appropriately focuses on Faith, a casual practitioner of the dark arts, who manages to fumble her way into some strange bedfellows and starts down a strange road and an unexpected evolution of her hobby. It’s hard to go into any more specifics without getting into spoilers, but the general idea is that doors to a different lavish lifestyle open up and Faith buys into the allure and temptation of underground rock concerts, secret art shows, and power. Faith’s descent into the dark is a slow burn that unfurls over the entire volume, and the entirety of this first volume very much points to a sequel, that this is very much only a fraction of a larger story.

That said, Azarello gleefully plays with language and the curt dialog of the story has a wonderful cadence to it from the moment to moment. The exchanges between characters feels eerily natural, but also has a vague sense of foreboding festering in the subtext. I will say that there when taken holistically, there are a couple of missing details and questions still lingering on why exactly Faith’s corruption unfolded the way that it did, but the fact remains that as I was reading it, I was engrossed in what was happening, the cohesiveness of the first half be damned. The second half felt a little bit more coherent and structured into something Faustian adjacent, but the story got me so hooked that I was very excited for Faithless II.

However, my favorite, favorite, favorite aspect of the book is Maria Llovet’s artwork. It is visually remarkable, sultry when it wants to be, and utterly grotesque when it needs to be. Llovet’s art is the scaffolding that sells Azarello’s story, and captures a very specific sensation of the seduction of the vulnerable, a myriad of forbidden pleasures. As I said in the beginning, this is a supernatural horror erotica, and Llovet very easily transitions between all three to meet the exact needs of the story.

In conclusion, Faithless does a lot of very interesting things, and I’m glad to have revisited my friend’s recommendations. I would not have this book anywhere in the vicinity of a child, but it captures a unique intersection of magic, sexuality, and discovery in a way that I’m looking forward to seeing how Faithless II continues the saga next week.

8.5 “QUIPS” out of 10

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  • Mikkel Snyder is a technical writer by day and pop culture curator and critic all other times.

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