After escaping from his current timeline (again), multiversal special agent Casanova Quinn finds himself in Hollywood without his memory. Now living as Quentin Cassaday, he works as a majordomo for Amiel Boutique, a man of wealth and influence in the community. Boutique has a similar problem to Quinn as the old man can’t recall anything about his life before he was thirty. After an assassin tries to kill Quinn at one of Boutique’s parties, the old man proposes that they work together to solve the mysteries of their respective pasts. This being “Casanova,” it leads them to masked killers speaking an unknown language, Satan boobytrapping Quinn’s car (twice), large triplet assassins, and lots of clever wordplay. Meanwhile, in the backup strips, a group of female killers posing as a rock band -- or is it the other way around -- are jumping through the multiverse trying to kill as many Casanova Quinns as they can get their hands on.
For all of its weirdness, wit, and style, this first volume of “Acedia” can be easily dismissed with a “If you liked the previous volumes, then you’ll like this one too!” It can be hard to follow at times, as well as prone to taking narrative digressions that slow down the story’s momentum, but it is never, ever boring. Yet this is the first volume of the series to not work as a complete story in and of itself. While the first three volumes formed their own kind of interconnected arc, vol. 1 of “Acedia” ends on a very “To Be Continued” note. While I’m not complaining about the prospect of more “Casanova” on the horizon, what we have here isn’t satisfying enough to make the wait feel anything other than immensely frustrating. Yes, even with the utterly amazing art from Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba on display here.
“Acedia” also features back-up stories illustrated by Ba and written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon. While “The Metanauts” isn’t any less inventive or witty than the main story (which it’s eventually revealed to have very strong ties to), it also takes longer to come together. Good thing that Pulitzer Prize-winner Chabon has Fraction to carry him with the main story.