Some titles don’t really say much and Casanova: Acedia #1 is the perfect example of vague. However, despite a few difficult problems, it’s opening issue suggests a potential title ripe with narrative flare.
The official description from Image:
Marooned in Los Angeles with no memory of his past, Casanova Quinn takes on the mystery of his criminal benefactor’s tangled and bloody history—as strange occult forces from the future conspire to… do stuff? To him? To Los Angeles? To you? YES. Featuring the first in a series of backup stories by Pulitzer Prize winner MICHAEL CHABON and CASANOVA
From the start, Casanova: Acedia #1 tries to evoke a specific look and feel. It thrives on immitating the criminal and the gangsta. Yet, by the second half of the book, it’s also introduced the satanic and cultist elements. The final combination is a weird mix between Van Helsing and Quentin Tarantino. There are, however, just a few key faults that stop this from getting past a good idea.
In terms of writing, Matt Fraction (writing the main story) and Michael Chabon (writing the side-story) go for a very specific atmosphere. At first, this channels the gangsta elements, but quickly divules into over-titlation. Both stories go for simple shock and awe at first, mixed with message about high society, before getting to anything interesting. There is plenty of potential here – indeed, Fraction’s writing serves as good opening exposition.
The biggest problem, however, lies in the art work. The artistic team – Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba – use a very striking style for their pencils. The angular approach is striking and works well with the dynamic of the title, yet the poor color choice just annoys me. The entire issue focuses heavily on a blue and orange contrast. By the 4th or 5th page, the panels start to blur together – every page is a wash of blue and orange hues. It’s not very diverse and the title suffers as a result.
In short, there is plenty of unrealised potential here. If the art style updates itself and the writing nails down what it wants to be, there is a lot to look forward to here. However, that may be a big thing to ask for issue #2.