Sure, she’s been the villain of the piece, but… You kind of have to feel for anyone named ‘Myrtle Spurge.’ Childhood was likely not easy for her… Your Major Spoilers review of Sex Criminals #17 awaits!
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Chip Zdarsky
Colorist: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Letterer: Chip Zdarsky
Editor: Thomas K.
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Sex Criminals: Jon and Suzy both have the ability to stop time when they orgasm, and having discovered each other, they’re now a couple. Thanks to economic forces, her library has closed, and they have only recently given up using their time-stopping powers to steal money from Jon’s employer to try to support new libraries.
Of course, none of that is important, as this issue is all about their arch-foe, Kegelface.
*NOT* FOR THE SQUEAMISH
This book is really hard to talk about and even more difficult to review, thanks to the title and the unusual nature of the material. That said, this is an enjoyable issue, if somewhat off the book’s beaten path, following the self-appointed Sex Policeman Myrtle in her attempts to track down another person whose sexuality presents itself as the ability to manipulate time.
It’s not for the squeamish.
But, it is very interesting, as we meet Todd Stubaker, whose parents messed him up really early and whose powers (if that’s the right word) arrive in the form of tiny homunculi that follow his bidding in the frozen world of The Quiet. Myrtle and her team track him down and use a VERY disproportional idea of “justice” to punish him for his not-really-crimes-at-all, and only at the very end of the book do we even get an appearance of Jon or Suzy…
This issue is a tough read on a couple of levels: First, the reveal of the psycho-sexual forces that made Todd a Sex Criminal are Freudian, personal and uncomfortable, but the revenge that Myrtle wreaks on him is even worse, leaving me feeling powerless and angry, with the hopes that she’ll get her comeuppance eventually. Zdarsky’s art is remarkable in this issue, and I especially enjoy the use of a splash page from “Criminal” with Myrtle’s face “taped” over that of the protagonist, and the creator’s names crossed out. The creators have promised that S.C. will be a monthly title for the entirety of this arc, thanks to planning ahead, and I’m looking forward to finding out what in the world is going to happen. As with so many second arcs, the focus of the book is changing, and it’s not yet clear where the story is going, but in a world this full of character and personality, I’m perfectly willing to let Fraction and Chip show me the way to more awful sex-puns.
THE BOTTOM LINE: IT’S DIFFICULT TO AVOID INNUENDO
As always, the caveat that it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea is in place, and also my warning that it’s not for the under-18 set, but Sex Criminals #17 is fascinating, icky, charismatic, lovely, infuriating and flippant in all the right ways, and makes me happy that a book this unconventional has found a publisher and a willing audience, earning a more-than-impressive 4 out of 5 stars overall. The most difficult part of it all is explaining the premise to new people, but once you’re past that part, this story and these creators have a lot to offer a reader who is open-minded and has the appropriate sense of humor…