Review: Casanova: Acedia #1

I’ve been having more and more conversations recently about comics with people who don’t read comics. What strikes me about these conversations isn’t what the other person typically says about comics (they’re for children, they’re sexists, they’re not as literary as other mediums), but my response to these people. Often, I’ll point to certain comics I have in my literary holster, and make some argument about how they function as high art (See me talking about Jimmy Corrigan and page layout, Ant Colony and existentialism, All-Star Superman and myth, etc.). What I never mention though is that I like comics because I think they’re cool. They make me feel great when well executed because they allow me a measure of escapism unlike any other medium. I could offer some lengthier, more thoughtful explanation about why I don’t mention this cool factor, but it’s simply because a concern with cool is sophomoric, and remember, I’m trying to make people see comics as art. Art. However, I couldn’t get around to writing this review until I embraced the cool.

Casanova-Acedia-#1-1-30-15Until I told myself that in spite of not doing anything herein that feels as innovative as his work on Sex Criminals or his more recent comic, Ody-C, Matt Fraction knows how to write the shit out of a cool story. See exhibit A- an opener that starts with an amnesiac Casanova descending from wreckage nearby the Hollywood sign with sparse narration the way that Hollywood films would benefit from emulating. From there he moves things forward to Casanova, now under the name Quentin Cassiday, working as a majordomo for Amiel Boutique, a powerful older man.

Things soon escalate from this set-up with Cassiday engaging in a fight with a party guests. See exhibit B- humorous panty shot to flirtatious dialogue with would-be assassin followed by underwater fight. Soon after we learn that Boutique also has no memory of life prior to his mid-thirties, and so he tasks Casanova with the mission of finding out while he can on himself while Boutique does the same for him.

Once we get into Casanova’s dope car, and to the library that’s when the crazy occurs. See exhibit C- Casanova works diligently until interrupted by a squad of people in origami masks who speak in a language composed of intricate symbols. Then, oh ya, shit goes down and Casanova walks out the library, only losing one thing in the process.

Fraction’s confident script however would be nothing if not for the work of Fábio Moon, who always depicts scenes at the height of movement, such as when he draws the would-be assassin prior to and after revealing her underwear in a playful gesture. The two panels work well to convey the little time that passes between the gesture as the action around the woman seems to move quickly, a server out of frame in the first panel, and edging his tray in by the second. It’s a detail that exposes the blink-and-you-miss-it nature of the gesture. Of course, Moon does more than fabulous flashing work, giving Casanova and his origami attackers a great sense of weight as Casanova takes them down one at a time with unsettling precision and detachment.

I need to keep in mind that it’s ok to care about coolness in the work I read. There’s nothing wrong with saying that at parties when people ask why you read comics. I think I’m gonna start a support group. You are all invited. My name is André Habet, and Matt Fraction and Fábio Moon write a cool comic. It’s called Casanova Acedia.

Score: 4/5

Writers: Matt Fraction Artist: Fábio Moon Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1-28-15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital