Reviews of trade paperbacks of comic books (mostly Marvel), along with a few other semi-relevant comments / reviews.

19 August 2008

Casanova, v. 1: Luxuria

Collects: Casanova #1-7 (2006-7)

Released: February 2008 (Image Comics)

Format: 144 pages / monochrome / $12.99 / ISBN: 9781582408972

Casanova, v. 1: Luxuria is a book that is simultaneously all thriller and all filler. Casanova is filled with enough high concept to make a movie studio exec’s head explode at 20 paces. Which sounds like a complement, especially if you’ve seen Norbit, but it’s not.

Casanova, v. 1: Luxuria coverWriter Matt Fraction puts explosions, spy organizations, and supervillains above likable characters. This is one of those books that doesn’t convince me to like the protagonist, Casanova Quinn, who starts out as a high-tech king of the cat burglars and is then drawn into a parallel reality. He has flexible morals, and while he tries to stop short of killing, 1) that’s not always possible, and 2) I have the feeling he’d do anything else if Fraction thought it was cool.

Gabriel Ba’s long and stylized art gives Casanova the distinct look the book needs. Ba’s Quinn looks like no one else. Impressively, despite a limited palette and a style that skimps on details for the big effects and atmosphere, all the characters remain distinct. I’m not convinced pale green, black, and white is the best color scheme for this book, but it does give the art an extra unmistakable look. Ba’s art and the color is as much a part of Casanova as Fraction’s writing, and I don’t say that sort of thing about art very often.

In many ways, Casanova is the mirror image of Nextwave: gloriously high concept, over the top, and rapid paced. But I like the cast of Nextwave; writer Warren Ellis makes me laugh. Fraction’s writing makes me think he’s in too much of a hurry to get to his next “cool” idea. Don’t get me wrong — there are cool ideas, and Fraction has obvious enthusiasm for all of them. But I don’t care enough about them to continue following this series.

Rating: Image Comics symbol Image Comics symbol (2 of 5)

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