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‘Casanova: Acedia #1’ – Comic Book Review

Matt Fraction. That should be all I need to say to recommend his newest book from Image Comics, Casanova: Acedia.

It used to be that I followed artists. If the artist I liked was moving to that comic, I’d follow them. In this slightly more mature period of my life, I follow writers, and Fraction (multiple Eisner and Harvey Award-winner: Hawkeye, Sex Criminals, ODY-C) is one of the best around. But, enough about him. Let’s talk about Casanova: Acedia.

Location: Los Angeles. The jumping-off point of this story is reminiscent of classic, hardboiled, noir stories (many of which took place in Los Angeles, by the way), and along with that comes a very poetic feel to Fraction’s words. There’s a rhythm and imagery in the words within the images. But, there’s also an incredibly intriguing, Hitchcock-ian setup that reminds me of Strangers on a Train. With this surreal, pseudo-fantastical end of the world scenario and people with heads that disappear into grey boxes. Color me fascinated.

This is apparently the fourth series following the character of Cassanova (and there may be three more!). Where have I been? But, you don’t need to have read them, because part of the mystery presented in this first issue is “Who is he?”

Fabio Moon’s art is fantastic. He knows how to capture the tawdry elegance of Los Angeles. Cris Peter’s colors are stellar. I feel Los Angeles when I read this book, which is excellent. I’ve wanted to read stories that get away from the East Coast and start treating the West Coast as the dark, mystical, intoxicating ride it can be.

But, that’s not all you get! No! You get two stories for the price of one. The second, written by Michael Chabon, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction thanks to his truly wonderful book, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay. Read it, if you haven’t. Like stop reading this right now and go and read that. Not only do you get a story by Matt Fraction in this book, but between the same two covers, you get a story by Michael Chabon. His story, "The Metanauts: Kawaii Five-O," is intriguing. One of the central characters is a musician, the other is a music critic. It’s strange, but in a wonderful way. Gabriel Ba has zeroed in on this almost German Expressionist style of art that makes it feel like you’re in a very heightened world.

Together, this is a knock-out book. Don’t miss picking it up.

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