"Casanova: Avaritia" #3 continues the trend of being an oblique and quite direct personal masterpiece for Matt Fraction. Never has there been a story that is a better autobiographical journey into madness combined with a kick ass spy-fu tale. Casanova's mission to wipe the man who will become Xeno Newman continues in strange and elliptically warped ways.
Straight off the bat, praise goes to Fraction and Gabriel Ba for putting out 32 full pages of glorious comic and cosmic insanity. The price might be high but the content in quality and quantity matches it. "Casanova: Avaritia" #3 offers up a plethora of shiny and broken moments for your consideration and pleasure. This is a book that wants you to enjoy it as much as it wants to make you squirm and feel uncertain. This entire arc is a rare gem deserving of multiple readings and will yield varying results as the reader changes and deals with the text differently. A layered text is hard to find, especially one still so enjoyable in a plain and ballistic fashion.
Against all odds, "Casanova: Avaritia" might just be a love story. It might be Casanova's unlikely quest for love (or the closest approximation he seems doomed to find) or it might just be Fraction's valentine to his love of comics -- and (it would appear) why that love might just be toxic at times. There is no doubting "Casanova: Avaritia" is a beautiful metaphor for Fraction's comics career. It's part declaration and part self-fulfilling prophecy. It's also disguised quite brilliantly while the connective tissue is still openly on display.
"Casanova: Avaritia" is an assault on the senses. The colors, language, and density all work together to ensure you either devote yourself entirely to this book or you cede defeat. This is not thin culture, this is a message you really should decipher. In fact, the major fault of the issue is it possibly attempts too much. Fractions weaves every little character onto these pages and it makes things feel saturated at times. It would be nice to not have to cross-reference everyone with their previous entries -- especially with the inclusion of time travel.
"Casanova: Avaritia" proves why Gabriel Ba should be drawing this book right here and now. He brings this psychedelic and bizarre world to life in ways not many other artists could. He's detailed but also hyper-cartoony and the result is a pop book unlike anything else. However, the real hero of the whole issue is Cris Peter who brings an assortment of arresting colors to every scene. She infuses emotion and tone into these pages. The ways she makes you feel and think are masterful.
"Casanova: Avaritia" #3 is a very good book. It certainly is not for everyone -- that much must be made clear. This is a positive review and that is because the book speaks to me. I do acknowledge this book will not work for everyone and most likely won't work for many. If you enjoy all the variously aimed adventures of Casanova Quinn, then this one keeps the current arc trucking along. It's not as good as the last issue (which was a mild masterpiece) but it certainly draws a lot of strings together and sets us up for plenty more to come.