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[Comic Book Review] “Casanova Volume 1: Luxuria” Bold, Self-Aware, And Humorous

Casanova Quinn is spy material, from his combat and espionage skills to his Bond-esque love of women and booze. He is, due to a strange time paradox, his own evil twin. He’s not sure exactly what he’s doing or where he’s going, in a big-picture sense, but he does know that he doesn’t want it to involve his dysfunctional family. This narrative is a prime example of Matt Fraction’s signature self-aware and absurdist humor. It follows the character of Casanova Quinn in and out of time and space, mostly against his will, as he navigates the politics and ethics of various comic-book-acronym-named agencies (W.A.S.T.E., E.M.P.I.R.E., etc) in Casanova Volume One: Luxuria.

CasanovaVol1HC_Cover

WRITTEN BY: Matt Fraction
ART BY: Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
PRICE: $29.99
RELEASE: November 19, 2014
Reviewed By: Katy Rex

Collected in a beautiful glossy hardcover, this volume collects EXECUTION DAYS, PRETTY LITTLE POLICEMAN, MISSION TO YERBA MUERTA, DÉTOURNEMENT, COLDHEART, WOMEN AND MEN (PARTS ONE AND TWO), and bonus story I THINK I ALMOST LOVED HIM, of the ongoing series, As a bonus, it includes the backmatter and letters from the creators that went into the original issues, from both the Icon-published issues and the Image-published issues, which they’ve even annotated in some places (nerds). Fraction has even included the titles and some brief descriptions of some of his major influences, both in this work and in life, leading the reader to realize how important and personal this piece is for him.

The art is boldly inked and angular, emphasizing an exaggerated expression of bodies and fucking and explosions. The character designs are more like caricatures of tropes; the femme fatale, the muscleman, the geek. The panel layout is both creative and direct, as the action flows freely from one page to another. The colors are bold, and they don’t always follow the inking, shifting the reader’s perspective.

If you haven’t started reading this yet, this is a great jumping on point. Fans of Fraction’s other work, especially Hawkeye and Sex Criminals, will find a similar tone in this series. If you’re already a fan, this collection features some great extras, with Gabriel Bá’s take on the limitations of cover art, Dustin Harbin comparing lettering to playing the bass in a band, and Cris Peter talking about the advantages of having a finite palette of 45 colors. There are tons of great discussions between Matt Fraction and various other dudes, like Michael Chabon and Howard V. Chaykin.

yoyos2Katy Rex writes comics analysis at endoftheuniversecomics.comcomicsbulletin.com, and bloody-disgusting.com. She also writes scholarly articles for various academic journals. She really likes butt jokes, dinosaurs, and killing psychos and midgets in Borderlands 2. She has a great sense of humor if you’re not an asshole.
Twitter: @eotucomics
Instagram: @katy_rex

 



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