REVIEW: Sex Criminals #2
Last time around, we were introduced to Suzie, a young girl who discovers that her sexuality brings with it the ability to bend reality (or at least the passing of time.) Years later, she met Jon, who had the same strange ability, and things ended with what seemed to be a robbery… What’s going on here? Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
An amazing story-telling technique.
Creative, lively and perverse.
Ordering this is a minefield of potential misunderstanding and wackiness.
SEX CRIMINALS #2
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Chip Zdarsky
Colorist: Christopher Sebela
Production: Drew Gill
Editor: Thomas K.
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously in Sex Criminals: Thanks to the accidental ministrations of the bathtub faucet, Suzie discovered that her orgasms had the power to freeze time. She thought she was the only one, until she eventually met Jon, who shares her particular talents. Now, they’re in the middle of the “criminal” part, robbing a bank in the spaces between (after a quickie in the bathroom. But there are a few things we don’t quite know yet…
“EGGS IS MY PROBLEM.”
The most fascinating thing about issue one, at least for me, was the narrative techniques used, as Suzie didn’t just tell us her story, she spoke directly TO us, the readers. The voice the Fraction has created is remarkable, full of character and wry humor, and that continues in this issue, as she wonders what the hell she and Jon are doing as they prepare to rob a bank. The plot thickens with the appearance of three strangely-garbed individuals who seem to also be able to move within the frozen-time of what Suzie calls ‘The Quiet.’ Their story is going to have to wait, though, as the bulk of this one is taken up with JON’S origin story, the tale of how he discovered his own abilities. I’ll say this: Growing up in the time and the place that I did, I find a lot of familiar truths in Jon’s story of finding a random pornographic image hidden in the woods (when I was a kid, the legend was that one of the storage areas under the fairground bleachers was full of Penthouses) and his first interactions therewith. The subtle differences between what he does and what Suzie does are outlined as well, and the parallels to the differences between male and female sexuality are flat-out brilliant…
A VERY UNUSUAL NARRATIVE…
Once again, Suzie is our point-of-view character, even as Jon tells his story to her, and she even has/imagines a conversation with Jon’s first pornographic crush, the delightfully named Jazmine St. Cocaine (a conversation, by the way, wherein Jazmine calls her out for a judgemental attitude towards sex workers.) There’s an infectious sort of joy in this story, from the amazingly expressive art (Suzie’s aside glances to the reader are wonderful) to Fraction’s clear enjoyment of porn naming. (The adult novelty store that Jon immediately sneaks into when his powers kicks in is called “Cumworld”, a nomenclature that he immediately adopts for the world outside time, something for which Suzie needles him repeatedly.) After reading issue #1, I was utterly in love with the execution and ideas of this book, and the fact that it doesn’t treat the sexual themes as either prurient or filthy, but instead as an integral part of the work’s ecology.
THE BOTTOM LINE: ANOTHER HOMERUN (IN THE SEXUAL VERNACULAR, NOT SPORTS.)
The introduction of the external threat in this issue reminds me that there’s a mystery at the heart of this book, something that has put Jon and Suzie on the path to criminality, and a game-changing realization that our power couple aren’t the only ones who can bend time. Still, all of that takes a backseat to the wonderful interplay of character between Jon and Suzie, as well as the embarrasing, yet hilarious tale of Jon’s earliest adventures. (There’s a Family Circus joke in here that left me laughing out loud…) Sex Criminals #2 is phenomenal work, easily as good as the excellent #1 issue, earning 5 out of 5 stars overall. With this one, I’m in for the long haul…