Recap for Review Group Week 257! Casanova: Gula #1 by Matt Fraction and Fabio Moon as selected by Zero.
The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse's News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate.
The Review Group doesn't review reprint comics! Well, we didn't before Casanova: Gula got picked. Luckily, Casanova's a good comic to make exceptions for.
Review by Doombug
God I forgot how good this book is.
You ever read a book that excells at using the medium? A comic that has so much craziness and uniqueness that you just have to sit back and smile after reading it and then reading it another 2 times? That is what I experience everytime that I read Casanova.
The best of Fraction's independent comic work (next to Last of the independents of course) and easily the most ambitious. Casanova is the multiverses best spy and has a team that would make Bond/Powers/the avengers and even Nick Fury jealous. But when the world's greatest spy goes missing...what happens?
The mystery set up in this volume of the series is a fun one which gives a twist that if I remember correctly, no one was able to call...even if Zeph is wearing it right on her damn shirt. (Which I just noticed as of this reading)
Fabio's artwork is beyond amazing here though his work on the series does differ a bit from his brother as Moon's work seems to be a bit more slender to his characters bodies.
For each section only having 16 pages it's always been a surprisngly tight book, one that I really cannot find flaws with.
Therefore even when it's a reprint I have to give it: 10
Review by Jude Terror
Casanova is an awesome fucking comic book. It exudes sleaze and filth endearingly like a rock star. Lesser comics, in attempting the sort of vibe that Casanova naturally achieves, can die by the terminaldisease of "trying-too-hard- itis," but Matt Fraction and the brothers Ba and Moon somehow manage to take a whole lot of counter-culture weirdness, alternate timeline sci-fi, and espionage action and turn it into a neat, organic package.
Gula #1 picks up where Luxuria left off, this time with Fabio Moon on art chores. Casanova Quinn is no longer under the control of Newman Xeno and W.A.S.T.E., and on the side of the angels (E.M.P.I.R.E.), but he doesn't get to enjoy his new found freedom very long as he mysteriously disappears in the first few pages, leaving his friends, family, and a blue-skinned femme fatale from the future named Sasa Lisi, agent of M.O.T.T., all of them asking the question: when is Casanova Quinn?
Well, who the fuck knows, but I'm sure it will be an wild ride. Casanova's storytelling is a little bit insane, in a good way It leaves you wondering what the fuck is going on, but not feeling lost: a perfect amount of absurdity. If you haven't read this series yet, pick up the Luxuria trade and this issue. If you've read the Image version, pick it up again anyway to get ready for the third volume of all new stories that should be on it's way when this reprinting wraps up.
Review by God Man
Casanova was pretty good. I don't know if I'll keep reading the book on my own, but it was fun.
Review by Royal Nonesuch
It's always good to see a writer just cut loose on a book, and that's what Matt Fraction uses Casanova for. Every single panel just throws another bit of content at the reader, and the book is just totally manic. GULA #1 feels like it just keeps going and going and doesn't stop. As much fun as Fraction has here, Fabio Moon, one of the better visual storytellers out there, is the real star of the book. There isn't an out there idea that Moon can't effectively express. CASANOVA: GULA #1 is packed, and doesn't really take much time to breathe, but it is a lot of fun.
Review by Punchy
Story - Reading Casanova makes you cool. This is a fact, it cannot be disputed, Casanova is just one of those comics that transcends the medium and becomes a legitimate pop-cultural object of cool. And I have to say it, the fact that I'm one of the select few to have already read Gula makes me much cooler than you. Yes, you, and especially you.
Gula is the second arc of Casanova, encompassing issues 8 to 14 of the original run, and unlike the first story, Luxuria, it hasn't been collected, making people like me part of an exclusive club, of your social betters. Gulunatics maybe? I don't know. But basically, I've already read this story, which is important, as even though I've already read it, I'm willing to pay for it all over again, and love it all over again.
Casanova is a mad book, stuff happens and often you can't keep up, but then again, half the time, I don't think you're meant to keep up, the hyper-complexity of Casanova is pretty much one big joke, it's a comment on over-complicated science-fiction. But it is also itself over-complicated sci-fi. Fraction's ability to tilt the absurdity to almost-but-not-quite parodic levels is one of the finest writing balancing acts I've ever seen. The closest comparison I can think of is The Venture Bros, which manages to have an epic superhero mythology that is simultaneously a parody of epic mythologies. The fact that each issue of these Icon reprints is actually 2 Image issues only adds to that hyper-complexity, you aren't given a month to chew over what the hell happened, you are given a page!
To be fair, the first few chapters of Gula are fairly straightforward by Casanovian standards. Casanova takes out a ridiculous villain (Dokkktor Klockhammer), and is then called in for a new mission, to discover the mysterious H-Element. He then disappears. 2 years later, Kaito is now a super-agent, and a weird 4-armed alien chick shows up. None of this really matters, it's just a hook for cool dialogue and action. But at the same time it all matters. We then follow the adventures of Casanova's evil sister Zephyr and her new boyfriend Kubark Benday. The plot here is largely irrelevant (or is it? It's both!), what matters here is the sheer joy, fun and invention that leaps off the page, the one-panel blaxploitation poster for example, it's just great to see someone play around with comics.
In re-reading this issue, you see how Casanova actually does have hidden depths, there are clues here to the question of 'When Is Casanova Quinn?' that at the time seem like goofy jokes, and may have actually been jokes at the time. That's the problem with intellectually discussing Casanova, it robs it of it's Casanova-ness. It's a comic which is deep, but doesn't particularly want to be, to discuss it seriously is just a dick move, it's a lot more fun to just sit back and enjoy the insane ride, and cool dialogue, because not caring is what cool people do, and cool people read Casanova, not once, but twice, and three times on Sunday.
Art - One thing you do have to take seriously when it comes to Casanova is the art, because it really is one of the best looking comics on the stands. For this second arc, Gabriel Ba is switched out for his twin brother Fabio Moon, and really, they're both as amazing as eachother. Their styles are similar, but Moon's is probably a little looser, and a little more expressive, but whatever, whichever of the twins it is (and if you're fourthman, you think they're the same person) you're guaranteed 10/10 art all the way. These Icon reprints of course also add extra colours to the book, the original Image run being in only blue and white, which I loved, but hey, the market demands extra hues, and Cris Peter does a good job of adding more colour when it's needed, but in general keeping the blue tone. I don't really think the added colour is necessary, but if we have to have it, it does look good.
Best Line - Too many to choose from! 'I could go for like, 200ccs of fuckin' awesome injected in'ta my heart... stat' is a good'un, but every page has something worth a chuckle.
Review by Mammon, Fool Breaker
Cover- Nothing to flashy, but the color scheme was nice, the layout is good. (5/10)
Story- A little bit confusing at the start, but after a few pages and meeting all the characters things became much more clear. The murder of the poor magician twins was particularly memmorable. (6/10)
Art- My first time seeing art by Fabio Moon, it fit the story well, and I never found myself confused by the art. (5/10)
Overall- When compared to Weird Worlds #1... this was freaking amazing! (6/10)
Final score- (5.5/10)
Review by BlueStreak
There are few books that deserve multiple printings. Casanova is one of them. Witty and absurd, smart and thought-provoking, Matt Fraction provides the comic book medium with a book that shines above its peers. This is a book that is awesome even when it's not trying to be. With gorgeous art, strong pacing and fantastic characterization, Casanova provides hope that the comic medium will endure forever.
Review by Greg
I was pleasantly surprised. I read the very first Casanova issue when it was released by Image Comics and while it became a cult hit, I just couldn't get into it for some reason. I found myself easily confused and just uninterested. So I wasn't expecting too much with this one though I did keep in mind that maybe I'd be proven wrong. And thus I was. I very much enjoyed all of this. I don't know about much of the praises and trashing Fraction gets, but based on this one read alone I can see myself being very much into his writing. It was fun and zany and just plain catchy. The characters with their own voices just popped and it was very much like watching a guy come up with random pieces of ideas and toys and finding a way to piece them together to make sense of them. Another thing working well for it was that you definitely had to keep your mind invested in order to keep up. That may have been my problem with the first issue of the series as a whole. Based on this alone I'm quite interested in checking out the previous runs. I wasn't completely wow'd, but a book like this definitely reminds me of why I love the medium of comics and just what can be done with it when a creative team just lets themselves enjoy themselves without editorial mandations... or just plainly having skills to execute a good and trippy story.
Another plus goes to the book having no decompression in sight and also the fun interview in the back of the book. Definitely felt like money well spent.
Review by Frank Einstein
Casanova is terrible in singles. Casanova is great in trades. In double issue reprints? Eh, it's okay. On the one hand, yay super fun comix. On the other, somewhat disjointed and unsatisfying. I don't know how far I was into the second issue before I realized Casanova disappeared midway through the first. Awkward. On the art side, Fabio Moon is awesome, but it doesn't quite do it for me the same way his brother's art does even though the differences are subtle. Also the colors were nice compared to most other comics, but I hate hate hate hate hate hate the abandonment of the two-tone look of the original publication. The 'interview' was super rambley and didn't really add anything, but BLOM is greatness so I guess it wasn't a total waste of paper.
Review by john lewis hawk
I enjoyed it but I like the original coloring better.
That gives Casanova: Gula #1 a group score of 8.53. Very respectable score. Now where's that oversized hardcover for Gula to match my Luxuria book?
For what McKegan calls "all the geeky, bitchy arguing about comics you'd expect from a comic message board condensed into absolute awesomeness", check out our Casanova: Gula thread and post your own review in The News Stand forum.
Written or Contributed by: John Martin