Posted by: Graeme McMillan on August 12, 2007
The first thing you’ll notice about CASANOVA #8 is that it’s very, very blue. The shift in color palette is initially completely overwhelming – writer Matt Fraction’s said online that it’s pure Cyan, and given the way that it practically glows on the page, I believe him – and it was only after a second read-through that I realized how smart a move that was, pulling the reader away from the change in artists from Gabriel Ba to Fabio Moon so that, by the time your eyes have recovered from the blue, you’re already used to Moon’s less-Mignola-esque, prettier, artwork (As much as I love Fabio’s stuff, it’s still awkward to see him draw characters that I’m so used to Gabriel’s take on; I think I like it, but there’s such a sense of “That’s not the way they look!” that I’m not sure. Having a few pages of Fabio in your system while you try not to be distracted by the color choice helps, though).
The second thing you’ll notice is that Fraction’s a smart writer – It’s not the way that you’re dropped right into the story and only given the exposition midway through (It’s just like Mission Impossible, if Tom Cruise wasn’t, you know, Tom Cruise!), but the way that the story’s structured so that the reveal at the end both comes as a surprise but also makes complete sense within what you’ve read up until that point that convinces you that there’s something worth paying attention to happening here. Which isn’t to say that this second series isn’t as playful or unexpected as the first (to the point where it seemed as if it was unexpected even to the creators, sometimes), because it is; the sense of “anything can happen” is, if anything, amplified by the time you get to the last page of the story, with the introduction of an element that almost seems too fantastical for a series that’s made its mark by being full of spectacle and the fantastic.
This issue pulls of the trick of being both a reminder of, and reinvention of, what you enjoyed about the series the first time around. It’s both familiar and unknown, full of confidence (arrogance?) in knowing what it can do and wanting to find out what else its capable of at the same time. Pretty much Very Good, then.