Singles Going Steady is Comics Bulletin’s weekly review roundup. After a short hiatus, were’ back with big middle finger to the Big Two. We instead opt to take a look at some of the releases coming out of Image Comics this week.
CASANOVA IV: ACEDIA #8 – “Hail, Hail the Frog Queen” (Image Comics)
(W) Matt Fraction, (A) Gabriel Bá, (C) Fábio Moon
I’m getting old. My memory ain’t what it used to be. For a man who has trouble recalling what he had for breakfast, expecting me to remember something that happened four months ago is asking a lot.
See, it’s been four months since Casanova IV: Acedia #7 came out. Looking back, Casanova IV: Acedia #1 came out in January of 2015. Casanova as a series was first published in June of 2006. I’m not sure that this is the kind of release schedule that allows for building an audience. My sense is that Fraction, Bá, and Moon are now in this for themselves.
And love-struck fools like me.
But like I said, having a poor memory makes it hard for me to make heads or tails of anything going on in the book anymore — and I’m beginning to wonder if that even matters anymore. All I know is that Bá is making beautiful art, and Moon is putting the color palette to use perfectly, and Fraction is making Donna Tartt jokes, and I don’t even care anymore because it all just works so well.
It’s like a little gift that comes out of nowhere for no particular reason other than to make you smile.
Somewhere I read that this issue ends the second volume of this series and this confuses me also. I assume that has something to do with the Trade Edition that is coming out now too. Maybe you should wait for that?
I don’t know.
It doesn’t matter.
Casanova IV: Acedia #8 is its own spectacular thing. Go on. Take the gift. You’re worth it and your smile is absolutely beautiful.
— Daniel Elkin
Kill or Be Killed #7 (Image Comics)
(W) Ed Brubaker, (A) Sean Phillips, (C) Elizabeth Breitweiser
With a title like Kill or Be Killed, you’d think that any issue that lacks even a modicum of violence would be a disappointment. You want to see Dylan blowing away some scumbag while his internal monologue contemplates whether or not his deal with the devil was worth it. You definitely don’t expect a character study on his ex-girlfriend/fuckbuddy, but that’s exactly what Brubaker, Phillips, and Breitweiser give us.
And you know what? Good storytellers tell good stories.
I know, that’s a really profound statement. But anyone can tell a story; few people can tell stories a consistently high level of quality, regardless of the subject matter. Here we have Brubaker taking readers away from Dylan to focus on a character who, up until now, only exists to drive his personal narrative forward. That may still be the case, but now readers are given an added layer of context and understanding to the decisions she has made and will make going forward.
The art itself is great, as is usually the case when Phillips and Breitweiser get together. Yes, the cover image is a bit misleading given that the issue consists of Kira talking with either her therapist, step-sister, or mother (not one shotgun to be found). However, the duo’s use and manipulation of Kira’s family photographs parallel the dialogue in an effective and affecting manner.
Is this what I expected from this series? No. But hey, good storytellers tell good stories.
— Daniel Gehen
Eclipse #5 (Image Comics)
(W) Zack Kaplan, (A) Giovanni Timpano
Good science fiction is entertaining, but great science fiction works within the genre (or occasionally subverts it) in order to provide commentary on reality. The opening arc to Zack Kaplan’s Eclipse entertained, but the start of this next arc sees the series take a step towards becoming great. However, there are some kinks that need to be ironed out before that title can truly apply.
But let’s start with something positive: the art by Giovanni Timpano. The cover art is striking enough to pick up the book on a whim, and it remains consistently high-quality throughout. In a world where sunlight exposure is certain death, the book hinges on his ability to manipulate and render light and shadow, and he delivers in spades.
The biggest strike against this its indecisiveness about what it wants to do. Because of how solid the murder-mystery plot of the first arc was, Kaplan’s script reads as though he feels beholden to the characters we’ve seen previously. It’s understandable, but the secondary plot featuring energy thieves (yes, that’s a thing) and this world’s law enforcement has more layers for discussion.
Given how climate change is inexplicably a subject for debate in the U.S. (everyone else seems to have their shit figured out), Eclipse is a surprisingly topical book that has the potential to be a meaningful contribution to the comic industry. And if nothing else, it definitely entertains with a solid story and outstanding artwork.