Favorite comic books of the year post, PART 2! (I almost typed Part @ cause I held down the shift key. And you would have been yelling “Part AT what, Paul? Part at WHAAAAAT? So you’re welcome for me saving you from that agita). As is common in this Western culture of ours, we must sum up the things we enjoyed during the period of the fiscal year in order to…well…seem smart to all our friends. I wrote part one yesterday, go read it if you haven’t. I’ll be waiting.
Today, I’ll be focusing on one book: Casanova: Avaritia by Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba.
I wrote about the mini series preceding Avaritia, Gula, a little while back. That is one of the few things I’ve written that I’ve liked recently. But enough about me. I’m talkin’ bout Casanova. The interdimensional super spy that can’t help but hurt everyone he loves and hates himself for it. I read both Gula and Avaritia this year. As I mentioned, Gula floored me. Avaritia…it ALMOST floored me, but was still pretty damned amazing.
Fraction’s second issue involves dimension hopping as well as airing his anxieties as a writer, AND some anxieties about the medium as well as genre that he’s chosen to tell this story in. Not in a “comics are bullshit and I want to be a novelist” way, but really in an honest, “step back and wonder what it is you’ve done and how much your audience is reading into things (answer: A LOT. See this post – Roy)” kind of way. It’s also done in a hilariously entertaining manner via Gabriel Ba’s kinetic artwork and Fraction’s self-mocking dialogue.
But oh yeah, there’s also a story in this thing. This tale of a super spy living in the wrong dimension with no friends, no family, only a mission. His mission (which he didn’t choose to accept), is to kill every single version of his arch enemy Newman Xeno, sometimes destroying entire universes to do so. It takes a toll on the guy.
But after killing so many versions of Newman Xeno before he can become a totally evil guy, something funny happens.
Casanova has a conversation with the guy and sees he’s not so bad. He sees the potential to undo a wrong (turns out all this dimension murdering and time travel CREATES his archenemy) by making sure that one of the Xenos (real name: Luther Desmond Diamond) can live a normal life and be a good guy. He also manages to fall for him in the process. EMOTIONS? You just got taken on a ROLLER COASTER.
You can buy this series in all the places I tell you to buy things, but you really should start with the first book, Casanova: Luxuria. If you’ve already read that, as well as Gula, then you’re set! Go ahead and read Casanova: Avaritia, worry free (except for the worry that you might cry, cause there’s a good chance you will). This is one of THE BEST comics I read this year, and honestly one of the ones that restored my enthusiasm in the medium.