Review: Sex #18

If you are searching the market for something that is a little (well maybe a lot) change of pace, then I think this little opus being created by writer Joe Casey and mostly drawn by Piotr Kowalski might be right up your alley.  Sex follows the travails of many citizens in one Saturn City.  The City itself is a metropolitan area that has some serious issues with crime (and dirtiness), but up until about a year ago, that crime was being dealt with brutally by a vigilante called the Armored Saint. Unfortunately for the City, retirement of the Saint as he delves into a more er uh interpersonal pursuit has left several different crime factions working to take control of the city. It’s bedlam and a powder keg of gang war is just about to explode in one powerful blast. Not too bad for a comic that has gratuitous penis shots and more serious intimacy art than you might be used to seeing in your average title. But to say that Sex is simply a comic about sex is a gross understatement.  Underneath the surface is an immensely complex and well written story that delves into many areas of the city and its various characters.  What Sex comes out to be is a comic book style version of the television show The Wire with a little more color and glitz, but with just the same amount of complexity showing both sides of the law. It’s good and worthy of a read.

Sex-#18-11.26.14I have been following this title for damn near a year now. And as I continue to read it, I see Casey developing quite an impressive story putting into play many factors that should all come to a head in the future in full frontal spectacular glory.  Recent issues have begun to focus less on several characters in one reading and more with individuals and their back stories.  Last month, we got to take a long hard look (pun intended) at dishwasher/former sidekick/current hero at large Kennan Wade and his history as well as his continuing infiltration into the dreaded Breaks street gang.  The tale was epic in its telling and really showed that this sidekick is way more and has the potential to be way more than that.  Up next in this month’s offering, we learn the back story of The Prank Addict who Casey himself has described as a “remnant” who’s “on the prowl”, and “unhinged”.  This guy has been what would seem like a minor character in the grand scheme of things as he has no real power and he has appeared to be a little out of step with the political dynamics of the criminal world in Saturn City.  After going through his back story however, a layer of complexity has been introduced to this bizarre little fellow that definitely allows the reader to understand the “unhinged” description.

Before the end of the last issue, The Prank Addict had been out of commission for a while as gangster kingpin The Old Man had dealt the Addict a pretty serious blow taking away his dignity, his masculinity, and damn near his life.  But lucky for the Addict he was able to escape and be sent to the hospital falling into a coma.  Casey works the Addict’s story magnificently as he is conscious, but catatonic and not answering questions.  But as the reader, we delve into his story in full force. It is a nice touch and plays to a strong effect.

Art wise, Piotr Kowalski is still around for the framing sequences, but a guest artist in the form of Luke Parker brings the Prank Addict and his tale to life. Parker’s style has a dark edge aesthetic to it that fits in well as we get to see darker times for the Addict and his rise to power that fits nicely with Casey’s writing.  It is a good flow, but never runs away from the focus given by Kowalski and his framing.

What we finish in is yet another winning issue that is starting to become the norm for this title.  The shock value of the “sexiness” of Sex has been slowly being peeled away as a deeper and more serious graphic offering is being made.  It is well worth the buy if you wish to try.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Joe Casey Artists: Luke Parker (Guest Artist) Piotr Kowalski(Framing Sequence Artist) Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 11/26/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital