Or – “Now That The Accidental Controversy Is Over…”

Simon Cooke’s return to his old stomping grounds has been full of unpleasantness, as well as some strange lettering choices and gratuitous nudity.  What does Saturn City hold for the former Armored Saint this month?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

SUMMARY

Pros
Good looking book.
The strange colored dialogue is less obtrusive.
Cons

Still unclear on what the story is going to be.
Moving Oh-So-SLOOOW…

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

READER RATING!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 3.29 out of 5)
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Sex4Cover SEX #4
Writer: Joe Casey
Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Colorist: Brad Simpson
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Graphic Designer: Sonya Harris
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Sex: Simon Cooke is an enigma, a former super-hero known as the Armored Saint.  He has returned to Saturn City as a new man, trying to find a life as a mere millionaire industrialist, while the crime and vice of the city continues.  The former villain known as The Old Man is up to no good, while he former rival/lover the Shadow Lynx still carries a torch for him, but Simon seems to have given up the caped life forever…

WHAT GENRE ARE WE WORKING IN, HERE?

As the issue opens, we once again find Simon in his abandoned Batcave headquarters, trying to break into something called the “Space Wing Database” for reasons unknown.  We also find that, just as the Shadow Lynx has memories of him, he seems to still have a thing for HER, which will be important later.  Cut to The Indra Club, where young Keenan (who has possession of a mysterious hard drive full of information, one might recall) gets the information that there’s a fight out in his restaurant.  It’s kind of a shocking moment when he leaps into action, and goes hardcore super-hero fighty-fighty, taking down the armed attacker with acrobatics, a plate of food and a mean right cross.  Until that moment, actually, I had thought this series was going to be another of Joe Casey’s derisive takedowns of the superhero genre and form, but Keenan’s actions make me wonder if something entirely different isn’t happening here.  Of course, the fact that, four issues in, I still can’t tell you what the game is, much less the stakes, is a story-telling problem that is hard to ignore.

FABULOUSLY DESIGNED, BUT THE STORY IS ON PAUSE…

Don’t get me wrong, this issue, like the previous three, is pretty gorgeous to look at, and even the horrible parts (a scaly old man getting an oral favor, the aftermath of The Operator having his teeth pulled last issue *shudder*) are still quite pretty.  There’s multiple foci to this book, and it’s becoming clear that we’re not looking at the story just of Simon, instead Casey treats it like an ensemble cast, with each character getting his or her moment to shine.  Simon’s confrontation with his lawyer is particularly nice, as both characters get to be awesome (with the lawyer even smirking that he only helped out in the first place because he liked the money) and their conversation over drinks is quite lovely, even as it takes fierce and merciless aim at parts of the Batman mythos (specifically the “Batman is the real face, Bruce is just a mask” thought process) to interesting effect.

THE BOTTOM LINE: GETTING SOMEWHERE, BUT *SLOWLY*…

There’s great character work in these issues, but I can’t help but feel that if I weren’t reading this as an ersatz Batman story, it would be much less enjoyable.  On the strength of its own merits, without the expectations of the iconography, this is an average story told with very striking art.  If I read this thinking who represents what member of Batman’s entourage, it’s a more enjoyable and deep story, but I can’t decide if that is a weakness of the book, or its secret strength.  Sex #4 avoids some of the complaints of the last couple of issues, but is still moving at an utterly glacial pace, a luxury which I’m worried won’t serve the book in finding an audience, but manages to differentiate itself enough to earn 3 out of 5 stars overall.  It’s still a book that’s preoccupied with matters erotic, but there’s a lot of interesting places Simon’s story could end up going.  I just hope that it’ll start getting there, soon…

Rating: ★★★☆☆

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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