And now, for the comic book that it’s nearly impossible to talk to your friends about, but you should totally be reading anyway… Your Major Spoilers review of Sex Criminals #23 awaits!
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Chip Zdarsky
Colorist: Chip Zdarsky
Production: Drew Gill
Editor: Thomas K
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 4, 2018
Previously in Sex Criminals: “It’s all been building to this: Alix gets hit by a bus.”
The solicitation for this issue isn’t wrong, nor is it a tongue-in-cheek bit of black humor, but it’s also not even the tip of the iceberg in these pages, as nearly every cast member gets a moment of isolation, angst or general dysphoria. We find Jon at a sex club, where he sees a familiar face, and ends up leaving (even though he and his roommate arrived together.) Suzie is home alone at her mom’s, dealing with mom’s awakening, while Dr. Glass has his own issues, and even Kegelface is dealing with a profound sense of disconnection. Weirdly, though, even that is almost hopeful, and as the issue ends, there are a couple of new wrinkles: The Bus Driver, utterly devastated that he thinks he hit someone, ends up meeting Dewey, and Suzie comes to a sudden realization in front of Van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night.’
A STUDY IN ISOLATION
I’ve long believed that it can be healthy to embrace media that leave you melancholic, and this issue does that in spades. Nearly every page of the book features someone dealing with some serious issues, and rather than end up being depressing, it’s a fascinating issue of comics. Maybe the most interesting part comes in this month’s truncated letters page, where Fraction comes clean about faking a letter in a previous issue, explaining his reasons and apologizing (with a shot at Chip that makes for a really funny capper.) This entire arc has been unusual, even in the context of a book this weird, and I have to say that I enjoyed it. I did find the lack of focus in the first half of the issue to be hard to engage in, at first, but once I was able to get into the traveling narrative, it was a very interesting read.
BOTTOM LINE: I DON’T ALWAYS UNDERSTAND THIS BOOK, BUT I LOVE IT…
I am now intensely curious what Suzie’s epiphany actually is, and will be counting the days until the next issue of the book. I’m hoping that it all leads to a resolution where Jon and Suzie end up back together, but I don’t know that I believe that’s where a book with this much realism (if you can say that about a title where sex leads to superhuman abilities.) Sex Criminals #23 is another winner, an issue I recommend reading more than once to absorb the nuances, earning a very impressive 4 out of 5 stars overall. I don’t know if this book has a set end point, but I hope that it’s not any time soon…