Sometimes, you just know.

 It’s that pit-of-your-stomach, straight-from-nirvana sensation that creators and collaborators everywhere and of anything, must feel when they find that they’ve hit upon something that, simply put, just works. In fact, there’s rarely a substitute for the kind of essential quality that finds its way to the page of a comic book when a blossoming creative partnership comes to shining fruition and nowhere is this precept more supremely evidenced than in imaginative smorgasbord of ideas that is Casanova.

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So before it’s possible to delve headfirst into any kind of appreciative understanding of the values and merits that Casanova deservingly rewards its readers, there’s first an importance to be discovered in highlighting the supporting talents that have made the achievement possible. Chief among whom is Eisner, Eagle, and Harvey Award-winning comic book writer and luminary Matt Fraction. Responsible for a plethora of provocative and punchy contributions to the medium, while Fractions’s resume needs no repeating, it does stand worthy of unrestricted discovery and Casanova is a shining jewel in that crown and one that sees no shortage of the writer’s trademark originality and sheer inventiveness. Supplement this, of course, with the resplendent and audacious artwork from Brazilian twins and artistic compatriots, Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon, and the result is a rich, gaudy, and magnanimous contribution to graphic literature, the likes of which readers would be hard-pressed to find in duplication.

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So what exactly is it?

In earnest, any one-line description of Casanova, would serve as a heavy disservice, tantamount to reducing Star Wars to just science-fiction or equating a Vonnegut novel to mere literature. Part spy fiction, part noir-thriller, psychedelic science-fiction, and murder-mystery Casanova—as with all lasting artistic contributions—is a multifaceted, fluid, bold, and frankly complex series that draws its inspiration from more than just a single, boilerplate well of creativity and outputs its thoughtful homage and raucous ideology in an ocean of dividends.

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So what exactly is it?

The on-going series follows the eponymous Casanova Quinn, a cheeky and unruly, James Bond-esque character—equal mixtures of gentleman thief and super-spy—who finds himself drawn back into the fold of his wayward and estranged family after a mysterious death sends him homeward bound. From here, Quinn struggles to tackle of host of difficulties offered up from everything from his father’s absurd and acronymized global spy network, (supplemented by its own, respective “evil” rival organization), to idiosyncratic aliens, sentient androids, and time-travelling, full-body-bandaged super-villains.

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Casanova obviously spares no literary expense.

Yet this is precisely the appeal of the intentionally diverse and peculiar series. Its tongue-in-cheek, boisterously flippant attitude towards the established tropes and stereotypes of comic books, film, and literature elevate the series masterfully from something conventionally haphazard to deliberately eccentric. A series as such owes an unconscious debt to the talents that see it through from inception to execution and in lesser hands or with poorer acuity Casanova would undoubtedly lose itself on the borders of considerate tribute and inane parody but the series is thankfully anything but. Casanova, never crosses the proverbial line into besmirched caricature; it’s far too clever to fall for its own tropes and instead presents as a self-aware, genre-bending masterpiece of an on-going series. The first album of which smartly and rightly takes great strides to ensure that it never take itself too seriously.

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But this doesn’t preclude it from serious discussion or meaningful contribution. Fraction has always possessed a sincere talent for presenting significance, philosophy, and thematic gravitas from humour and Camusian absurdity. Casanova levels off the seemingly-ridiculous with genuine and existentialistic insight into ideas of identity, family, loyalty, and the motivation to pursue right or wrong or oftentimes both. Quinn combatively faces a labyrinth of moral precepts and genre tropes, to the point where both work the page hand-in-hand in a kind of happy and unexpected marriage that would struggle to make sense if it weren’t ink on paper as proof of its own distinctive worth.

Of course all the literary flamboyance and diversity in the world would be moot for a comic if the artwork ever stumbled but rest assured that this is never the case. Bá and Moon—the former contributing to the first-half of the album and the latter the second—have always been unshakable contributors to the medium so that any reader should be as excited to see their names emblazoned across the covers of a limited series as they might be to see Fraction’s. As is expected lines are clean and crisp, details dizzyingly bodacious, and the colour palette is an appropriately psychedelic batter of light a shadow that wraps the whole book in a satisfying glow of artistic prowess.

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The first of a planned-seven albums (one for each of the respective seven deadly sins), Casanova: Luxuria is a cultural and aesthetic tour-de-force that offers readers a chance glimpse into a totally realized world (and for that matter, a creative universe); one that only begets exploration. Chock full of dark corners, humourous reprieve, original characters, and a fittingly impressive storyline, Luxuria stands a testament to the power of the innovative and profound effect that creative freedom can have on a medium, particularly when great writers and artists find their way to one another. The results, as Casanova so deftly proves, are undoubtedly beautiful.

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Even if the hero might not exactly agree.

Casanova can be purchased at your Local Comic Shop, on Image’s website, or at Comixology.

Overall Score
96 %

Casanova is a competent, genre-melding, masterwork that further exemplifies the creative talents of Matt Fraction et al.

Story 98%
Writing 94%
Pencils and Inks 97%
Colours 95%

About The Author

Kabir Chauhan is self-professed lover of video games, photography, fine films, and Oxford commas. When he isn't indulging in any of that, he enjoys the occasional comic book or two...or three as well as talking about himself in the third person.

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