Review – Casanova: Acedia #1 (Image Comics)

fde68d93-54ad-4451-93c2-20e229e35261Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba, Cris Peter
Release Date: 28th January, 2015

One of the hallmarks any great writer is their ability to place you squarely in the shoes of the characters they create, to the extent where you begin to think and feel as they do. At the conclusion of this intriguing, and somewhat bewildering first issue, I found myself in the same headspace as Quentin Cassiday; desperate for answers.

When we first meet him he’s stumbling from the burning wreckage of a craft downed in the Hollywood hills. Bloodied and barely conscious, he staggers toward the city, mumbling incoherently as he goes. As the story progresses we come to learn Mr Cassiday has an innate set of skills, although he has no knowledge of where he learned them, and his talents have been put to use by a mysterious benefactor named Amiel Boutique. After a veiled attempt to jolt Cassiday’s memory by baiting a honey trap goes awry, Boutique reveals that he too has no recollection of his past, and so promises to investigate Cassiday’s history in return for information regarding his own.

Fraction’s elaborate, and at times trenchantly self-referential prose is simply brimming with danger, intrigue and suspense even from the first few pages. On the surface, it’s a tense neo-noir utilising familiar plot devices and peppered with characteristic dialogue, but Fraction has constructed such a rich, kaleidoscopic universe that it also incorporates sci-fi elements, and hints at an impending dystopia lurking beneath the surface through the ominous symbols permeating the landscape.

Artist Fabio Moon’s vision of this world fits Fraction’s like a glove. It’s a fever dream of angular, and at times surreal characters set against deep blacks, punctuated by moments of raw, unflinching violence. Cris Peter’s colours, too, help accentuate the overarching noir feel, and are cleverly reflective of changes in mood through various tonal shifts.

Acedia is the fourth volume of this series, and for those unfamiliar with the universe’s lore, it provides an inviting, if fairly puzzling jumping on point, and it might take a little investment in previous volumes to fully appreciate the nuances of the story. However, there’s no denying the creators have conjured a challenging, visually arresting, and ultimately rewarding experience here; one that is definitely well worth the effort.

Rating: 5/5.

MDAVThe Writer of this piece was: Martin Doyle
You can follow Martin on Twitter
You can check out more of Martins reviews and thoughts on random retro things over at Retromuse

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