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Arts & Entertainment

Action Packed

Casanova delivers the espionage goods'at times, too many of them.

By Trevor Hale
Posted // June 11,2007 -

The comic industry was built upon a steady diet of superheroes, and that’s what most people think when they hear the term “comic book.” But every so often, a writer shows up like Matt Fraction, who’s not afraid to try something new. With Casanova, he and Gabriel Bá put a Twilight Zone twist on early James Bond and take readers on a wild, if bumpy, ride through the weird world of espionage.

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Casanova Quinn is the world’s greatest thief. His father heads an international government agency, and his sister is its best agent. However, at some point in the first issue, Casanova finds himself in an alternate reality where he is the trusted agent and his sister is the thief. Stranded in this reality, he’s used as a double agent, working against his father for a rival agency.

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The first issue starts with a bang'a kidnapping gone wrong, robots and spaceships'but also feels a little crowded by throwing out too many ideas in what feels like a crash-course introduction to what lies ahead. There are so many themes hinted at and so many great characters to introduce that the plot feels rushed and might leave a few people confused (especially when dealing with alternate realities).

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That aside, Casanova Quinn is a great character and the definition of a charming rogue. He never quite lets on to his motivations, and his actions catch everyone'including those he works for'by complete surprise sometimes. Fraction’s scripts are full of so much energy that it’s not hard to see how much fun he’s having with everything.

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The art has a great hyperkinetic feel to it, and every scene has its own flair that matches the energy of the script. The green color tone is an interesting choice, but plays well to the sci-fi aspect. Using straight black and white would have given the book too much of a “noir” feel, and that’s obviously not what they were going for. One drawback, if it can be called that, is that like Fraction, Bá tries to fit too much in too small of a space, but his attention to detail is amazing.

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First issues are usually a bit of a tease, in that they never reveal their true colors, hoping to draw the reader back with unanswered questions, but that’s not what Casanova has in mind. Everything this book is going to be about, and every idea the authors want to explore, is crammed into the first issue. If Fraction and Bá can find a nice middle ground and not let their ideas get away from them, they’ll deliver an energetic, action-packed story every time'at least in this reality.

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CASANOVA
Matt Fraction
Gabriel Bá
Image Comics

 
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