The comic whose title makes it impossible to recommend to your friends is back for its final arc! Your Major Spoilers review of Sex Criminals #26 from Image Comics awaits!
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Chip Zdarsky
Colorist: Jennie Pennifer
Production: Erika Schnatz
Editor: Thomas K
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 29, 2020
Previously in Sex Criminals: Suzie and Jon can stop time when they have sex. Somehow, this has entangled them in a convoluted plot to bring down the bank that closed the library where she works and the people who want to stop them (and a few who want to help.) It’s the last arc, so things are probably about to get even weirder…
IN WHICH ONE OF THE MAJOR PLOT POINTS JUST SORT OF FALLS AWAY
This issue begins with an origin, but in standard fashion for this comic, it’s not what you think. It’s actually the moment where Suzie’s mother and father conceived her, smash-cutting to a diner where our assembled players (Jon and Suzie, Kegelface, Alix, Bud, Dewey and the artist formerly known as Jasmine St. Cocaine) has come together to talk about their plan to rob the bank. Amazingly, they come to the conclusion that they can’t really hurt a bank, that there’s no point in trying, that their real problem is going to be Badal, who shares their strange ability to manipulate time via sexuality. Suzie has a strange sort of flash-forward episode, forcing her to leave, and she and Jon return home where she tries to talk to him about the nature of trauma and time. The second half of the issue gets seriously non-linear, jumping back and forward in time as well as showing Suzie’s strange precognitive visions, ending with a rather shocking final page reveal. Seriously, even for this book, it’s a truly unexpected moment.
LAST SEEN IN 2018!
There’s something truly fun about this comic and the meta-nature of its commentary, with characters routinely breaking the fourth wall or discussing the fact that their narrative is in a comic book. For instance, a Suzie ends up going roller skating with Dr. Glass, causing him to comment that its good to get out of the same diner and that’s it’s probably more fun to draw. Add in the backmatter, in which Matt Fraction explains that the reason that Jon and Suzie no longer cared about the bank robbery was that he, as a writer, no longer cared about it, and it seemed better to divert the story’s final arc than force it. It seems to be a good choice, as this issue is a fascinating read, moving through temporal space in ways that shock and change not only the characters, but the reader. It’s been a while since this book came out, so I had to double-check where everyone left off, but once I caught up, everything went smootly. Zdarsky’s art is as evocative as ever, including the amusing opening sequence (in a parked car overlooking the city, I might add) and even the fact that much of the issue consists of back-and-forth conversations doesn’t mean that things get predictable or boring.
BOTTOM LINE: GLAD TO SEE IT BACK
Though I’m sorry to discover that this will be the final arc, it’s good to have such a strange, personal book back on the stands. Sex Criminals #26 is a return to form for this book, and even the course correction in the plot feels natural and a little bit messy, fitting the real-life(ish) themes of the book, with lovely art and an ending that makes me want to read the last arc RIGHT NOW, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. And while it should go without saying from the title, this isn’t a comic for those under the age of 18 or easily embarrassed.
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SEX CRIMINALS #26
It is a shame that the book is about to end, but this is an excellent issue and the back matter with the writer's thoughts on the whole thing is even more fascinating...