Kara O'Connor

Comic Review: Casanova: Acedia #1

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Matt Fraction returns to an old favorite and breaths new life into Casanova Quinn, in Casanova: Acedia #1

Casanova Acedia #1

Casanova: Acedia #1

Writer: Matt Fraction
Story: Michael Chabon
Artists: Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: January 28, 2015

Get to know this great series and order Casanova Acedia #1! Or get the wole collection Casanova Complete Ed HC Vol. 01 Luxuria, Casanova Complete Ed HC Vol. 02 Gula, and Casanova Complete Ed HC Vol. 03 Avaritia.

Recently, I’ve found myself comparing writer Matt Fraction to musician Elvis Costello. Maybe it’s because Matt has his own creative and romantic life-partner in Kelly Sue DeConnick the way Costello has Diana Krall. Maybe I note the resemblance because they both use noted pen names. Perhaps the similarities are there due to the comparable ten-year career climb to iconography. Or maybe it’s just the glasses. Either way, I can’t help but equate the two in my mind. Sex Criminals feels like Fraction’s romantic and quirky Everyday I Write the Book and Satellite Sam reminds me of Costello’s sexually scandalous Pump It Up. Hawkeye is akin to Costello’s own take on an old favorite with the musician’s cover of Johnny Cash’s Cry Cry Cry. But the comparison between the two really took hold for me when I started writing this review for Fraction’s latest release Casanova: Acedia #1. This new release is a continuation of a character that Fraction has written about since 2006. I found myself thinking of Costello’s 1977 album My Aim is True. One of his first published albums, this was the record that ultimately allowed the music icon to quit his day job to become a musician full-time. Casanova was similarly one of Matt Fraction’s early creations and allowed him to move over to Marvel for some high-profile work. While Casanova has seen a number of reboots, My Aim Is True has also been re-released and re-mastered a number of times. No particular song on that album stands out to me as defining who Casanova is, except maybe Pay It Back, a catchy retro jam about fooling yourself into being something you’re not. I think that’s the crux of Casanova Quinn – he’s always fighting to try and just be himself.

Who is Casanova Quinn? Or perhaps more commonly pondered in this story’s arc – where is Casanova Quinn? The 007 meets Archer meets Time Lord, Casanova is sexy, stealthy and sarcastic. He’s everything you ever want in a secret agent. When we first met Mr. Quinn back in Casanova, Vol. 1: Luxuria,  he is working as a free agent and is no longer in cahoots with his father’s agency, E.M.P.I.R.E. During his sci-fi escapades in Casanova, Vol 2: Gula, Quinn is back working for dear old dad, fighting robots, time-traveling and gender-bending. By Casanova Vol. 3: Avaritia, Casanova is back at odds with his father, chasing down alternate realities that must be destroyed. Now (due to all that reality chasing), Casanova has crashed landed in an alternate reality of Hollywood. He can’t seem to recall his name or what he should be doing and he manages to find work with a wealthy and generous fellow who goes by Mr. Boutique. In Casanova: Acadia, Quinn uses the moniker “Quinton Cassidy” and is employed by Mr. Boutique as his right hand man, protecting the fat cat from dangers off varying kinds. After Casanova is attacked during a lavish party by a sexy party-goer who recognizes him for his true self, Boutique manages to rescue the lad and offers to find out who he really is in exchange for the very same. See, Boutique also can’t remember who he is or how he got all this money. The newly named Quinton begins his quest at the local library only to be thwarted by a gang of angry modern art-ghost-thug things, who vanish into thin air when assaulted. Oh, and by the way, the world is supposed to end in just nine days.

Fraction continues to add to this mischievous and charismatic character in surprising ways, and he urges you to genuinely care for Casanova and about his story. Twin brothers Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba (who also have a new graphic novel of their own called Two Brothers) maintain the modern impressionistic quality that made me question if this version of Casanova’s reality is in fact ANY reality. Matt Fraction has successfully returned to the world that first helped to make him “Matt Fraction” and continually molds a beloved character into further existence. While Casanova remains unusual and perhaps specific to certain acquired tastes, it can’t be denied that Fraction is a paragon in the making, much like his kindred spirit and the art he creates. Neither “A Man Out Of Time.”

Glasses are cool!

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