“It’s called “Fuck Shit Up” and it takes place on the moon,” teased Fraction in the backmatter to the original Casanova #11. And that’s exactly what #12 was: it was called “Fuck Shit Up” and it takes place on the moon. Comprising the first half of Gula #3, the title remains, as does the moon. But now -- color!
“Fuck Shit Up” is easily the most action-packed issue of the series thus far, an ultraviolent 16 pages of Zephyr Quinn murdering dozens of E.M.P.I.R.E. agents on their own moonbase. There are at least two decapitations, a gouging and lots of people being sucked into the vacuum of space. It’s harrowing, shocking and even heartbreaking as Zephyr straight up murders a few regular characters. All of it’s made even more powerful by Fraction’s use of wordless balloons (“>--<”) to signify the lack of sound. What happens here, kids, is beyond dialogue.
Cris Peter’s colors do astonishing work in this chapter. She renders the first page in the usual Gula cerulean, but quickly switches to a burning red for Zephyr’s rampage and a minty sea green for when the book cuts to the main characters. Which encapsulates one of the many reasons I love Casanova -- in each volume is a dramatic shift from the previous one, and why would the recolored reprints be any different?
The second half, “Some of the Things That Happened to the Murderers and Murdered Among Us” (holy shit) is, at first, a disappointment as Fraction takes back a lot of the previous issue. But the parts that stay permanent are even more powerful because the permanence is exclusively character-driven.
Ultimately the second half of Gula, with its “remember how it used to be” flashbacks to “deleted scenes” from the first volume, serve as a requiem for the earlier portion of the series. It’s as if Fraction, after “Fuck Shit Up,” is stepping up and taking full responsibility for what he’s done and what he’s about to do -- you stuck around through Volume 1, and now he’s going to shatter everything into a million fragments.
This month’s backmatter features a brief chat with Brendan McCarthy, the last bastion of psychedelia in comics. It’s not my favorite backmatter in the series thus far -- these have always been best when Fraction talks to someone he’s friends with --but the conversation is lively and not-boring. Plus, it fills a few gaps in my knowledge of the ‘80s British invasion of comics.
If you’re a Casanova virgin, I’m really excited for you right now -- the final chapter in this volume is, for lack of a better term, a fucking doozy.
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