Faithless #3 brings us to the half-way point of the BOOM! Studios five-part series written by Brian Azzarello, with art from Maria Llovet, and letters by AndWorld Design. As a series, Faithless promised to bring us on the journey of the bored Faith as she discovers the reality of magic and the Devil. While the first issue was a great start to this journey, the last issue was a shift turn down a messy path that did the exact opposite of the first.
In issue number one, I praised the portrayal of intimacy between Faith and Poppy, it wasn’t exploitive in its explicit illustration like most depictions of women having sex. Then, in issue number two, Faith chose to force men on the street to have sex with each other in a way that felt like exploitation and portrayed the sex as a humiliating act, one void of choice and one that played same-sex intimacy for shock. It was jarring and a sharp turn from the promise of the first issue.
Now in issue three, I figured that I would give it another chance. In Faithless #3, the magic inside of Faith is now awakened, she’s different, confident, someone new. She’s happy and she’s alive but it proves to have dire consequences for her friends as the magic dog that has shown up previously reaches through technology to take a life of her best friend.
When tragedy happens, Faith doesn’t know what to do. Poppy has flown to Italy for unknown reasons. Poppy uses the word relationship continuously and Faith says she’s in love – after two nights. Now, she’s drawn into the arms of the creepy and probably high or drunk Louis, which leads her to deepen her connection to unknown forces and powers beyond her wildest imagination.
Faithless #3 is uneven. The pacing of the story to this point is frustratingly fast and Faith’s actions are frustratingly inconsistent. She’s in love and then she’s not. In fact, the romance with Poppy’s father is out of left field. While there was an attempt to build sexual tension between the two last issues, it came off more as creepy old man tries to take advantage of a single young woman – which is repeated in their scenes here.
Azzarello’s writing around the concept of grief is good. It’s recognizable to me, living in grief, accepting it, and letting it move you instead of fighting it. But out of Faithless #3 that was the only piece of dialogue that works and feels real. Everything else felt like forced shock value specifically In the inclusion of an old woman grabbing Faith’s crotch for some mysterious reason. This moment does little to build the story and does everything to show that the comic that I had praised for putting care into it’s moments have turned to shock value.
That being said, Llovet’s art is still beautiful and raw. Her depictions of the female form and sexual scenes are emotive when the dialogue is not. And it’s also more realistic than the rushed pacing. The colors and line work lift the story from the page in ways the story doesn’t but at the same time, the art can’t carry a book alone.
Overall, this will be my last review of Faithless. It’s direction shift and shock jock scripting is frustrating. Sadly, this limited series is one that I have been waiting for and I’m saddened to see where it is now with only two issues left. I will be following Llovet’s work, but that’s the only takeaway I have from this series.
Faithless #3 is available everywhere comics are sold.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.