Okay, so this next installment (and the one after this one most particularly) is going to spoil the huge reveal at the conclusion of the second Casanova series Gula. Which is truly a beautiful and glorious piece of mind fuckery that’s right up there with some of my favorite shocking twists in anything ever. What will happen here is that once I do spoil it for you, you’ll probably want to run out and read the entire thing for yourself, because what I’ve told you simply can’t be possible. And even though being told what the ultimate twist is will undoubtably rob you of a portion of the dramatic impact from the whole deal, pretty sure it’s still going to be awesome and a thing of storytelling beauty.
But, you know, last chance…spoiler warnings and such…
Okay, cool. Excellent. Now back to the work of discussing and dissecting the greatness of Matt Fraction’s Casanova. Already knew that #14, which contains the aforementioned big reveal, was set for the Anatomy Lessons treatment, but wasn’t sure which other story from Gula I would do, and I kept changing my mind with every chapter. That is until I hit Some Of The Things That Happened To The Murderers And Murdered Among Us, which is an excellent script that solidifies some very important character and plot developments, and does so in a way that’s both intimidating and inspiring. Pure, unadulterated Casanova, in my opinion.
In this very penultimate issue, Fraction effectively and efficiently sets the stage for his upcoming reveal, connecting both past and present story lines with the return of Casanova Quinn. Having appeared briefly throughout this entire arc, these sudden bursts into the past seemed a curious choice on my first read, but I was immediately struck by the narrative thread connecting them. In all of the clipped vignettes, Casanova Quinn is doing good—saying important things to the people he cares about, and inspiring them in the process. This chapter is all about the good Casanova can do when he applies himself, which is vitally important to a character that’s always been considered the “evil twin” of the piece and is preparing to make the ultimate sacrifice.
I also love the fact that while this story is essentially laying the groundwork for the big finish, it both informs and deflects from the big twist. You’re supposed to think, “Oh damn, this must mean Casanova’s coming back soon,” when in fact he’s been here all along, doing the exact same thing he’s now doing in the form of his sister Zephyr Quinn. Trust me, it’s even more strange than it sounds, but we’ll dig more into that later on. Point is here that Fraction manages to turn an entire chapter of narrative prep work into a thing of beauty, packed with meaningful character moments for almost everyone in attendance.
It’s a quiet, reflective piece that’s ALLLL about these great characters and the emotional beats are just perfect, with Kaito Best getting the most dramatic material. His absolute refusal to transfer the consciousness of his deceased robot girlfriend Ruby Seychelle into an all-new robot body, and the crushing wave of absolute grief on his shoulders gives the story a number of great moments. His insistence that a copy of her will never be the same woman he fell in love with is heartbreaking, as is this great exchange between him and Sabine Seychelle—
“That’s not her. That’s a copy of her.”
“That’s the point, my dear boy—no one ever really dies anymore.”
“Then no one ever really lives. I have to believe in her. In her intrinsic unique-ness. In her
her-ness. My love cannot be duplicated, even if she can be replicated.
She died, Sabine. Help me make that mean something.”
On top of great stuff like that, the scene transitioning is simply superb, and as someone who admires well-done transitions, and tries really hard to get them right in my own work, it’s like Fraction putting on a small scripting clinic. Hard to describe how he does it, but he uses certain words and themes to jump back and forth and it’s all quite smooth, like silk or butter, or other smooth, seamless things.
I love this story because it (like a lot of the series) has great heart and something important to say about life, death, and the power of our relationships—how they can doom us and save us almost in the same instant. And you know, the smooth, buttery-like transitions thing which I just pointed out is very nice too.
Nothing left now but to wrap this all up with the mind-blowing final issue of Gula, which turns the entire arc (and a few things before that) upside down and inside out…
Back soon with it and here’s a link to the first piece in case you missed it and am wondering what the hell this Casanova thing I’m going on and on about is…