COMIC REVIEW: CASANOVA THE COMPLETE EDITION VOLUME 3: AVARITIA / AUTHOR: MATT FRACTION / ARTIST: GABRIEL BÁ / PUBLISHER: IMAGE COMICS / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 14TH
Avaritia, Vol 3 of Casanova, gathers up the full uncensored story arc first time in this complete edition of the sprawling ballsy sci-fi series. The issues are unusually short at only 16 pages a piece, and the volume is made up of 12 issues in all. It’s a heady and idiosyncratic story from the demented mind of Matt Fraction, with all his deadly wit and nihilistic humour.
Astronaut Casanova Quinn is the greatest killer humankind has ever produced, and volume 3 sees him chronically ill and at odds with his father. E.M.P.I.R.E. have a new mission on their agenda, to destroy Newman Xeno, by killing every alternative timeline they can find in the past in a transdimensional crusade. But in one of those timelines, Cass discovers Xeno’s real name and, having killed multiple versions of him, soon develops a warped affection and decides to spare one of the versions. The rest? Well, that’d be telling.
There’s infinite variations of the world, and we only ever glimpse a few, whether its steampunk, Blaxploitation or the Wild West. Within this shifting multiverse, there’s pages that are often hard to swallow, especially the shooting at the comic convention, mirroring an all too familiar gun culture. The bombastic spacey saga is pootled along with moments of genuine genius. Issue 6 is especially inventive, winding up the great swathe of action movies, using the formulaic dialogue to rib tickling effect.
Of course, the story itself is nothing without Gabriel Bá’s art, in all its strange shapes and proportions. It’s transcendental and super psychedelic, especially the final issue which is like a kaleidoscopic trip through art as we know it. It leaps off the page with bold colours from Cris Peter. There’s even one panel in 3D, so if you have your specs spare, you’ll be laughing.
Bursting with back matter, almost fifty pages worth, with process art, covers and a ramble from Fraction which charts the difficult journey of the third volume, complete with letters pages. Strikingly inventive, daubed with eroticism and crammed up the wazoo with subversion, Casanova is a Meta treat.