It is with a throbbing, erect heart that I bid farewell to volume two of Fraction and Zdarsky’s Sex Criminals. After spending something like an entire year singing its praises to the faceless void that is the internet, this will be my last review of the series. Heed my words now, or forever be cursed to awful sex. We pick up our story again with Jon and Suzie convincing their two friends that they have to go find Ms. Kincaid, the hero of Jon’s sexual awakening, and the only scientist in the world looking into the how/why of The Quiet/Cumworld. The overarching plot of the issue is very much the lead up to a heist scenario, with tools being assembled, casts of characters having their last-minute doubts, etc. But, as per usual, the emotional core of the issue is the reason to stay: Jon trying to deal with therapy that may actual work, if he lets it; Robert Rainbow discussing the reasons why he’s an OB-GYN, and why pussies are just another part of the job for him; Suzie’s growing distance from Jon.
The dirty secret about 2013/2014’s raunchiest sex comedy is that it will take every opportunity to break your heart. It’s a romantic comedy, but it’s also kind of the sequel to a romantic comedy; imagine it more as a sexual, naked version of the movie that may have picked up with Benjamin and Elaine after their bus ride in The Graduate. We’ve had some raunchy fun and laffs in the first volume, but after falling in love, will these characters actually ever live happily ever after? This book has been about the ways you have to work to find a happily ever after for awhile now, and it only makes it a richer, more satisfying work. Fraction maintains there’s a wobble in the structure of the book when they realized (early on) that it wasn’t just a one-arc gag book with his buddy, but that it had a passionate following and maybe even something to say-- if there was one, the whole team has recovered in stellar fashion for this second volume, and I can only hope that high quality persists through volume three.
Let’s talk about Chip Zdarsky. Since launching Sex Criminals last year, the man’s been on a huge (probably boner-shaped) trajectory, announcing two writing gigs (possibly the only man who could interest me in what he has to say about Howard the Duck), and doing all kinds of cover work. For a square with a newspaper job from Canada, Zdarsky is killing it this year, and hopefully in years to come. It’s clear why, looking at the work he puts into Sex Criminals every month. His characters’ faces have become more expressive (dig Suzie’s impersonation of Kegelface in this issue), and his ever-present, ever-hilarious background gags (the “Bearanormal” section at the bookstore). It’s a continual joy to see what kind of things Canada’s favorite pervert can bring to Image’s raunchiest comic book every time it hits the stands.
I’ve been accused (by myself, and rightly so) for being an unflinching Fraction fanboy. Many of his books are ones that I will hold up as being without peer. Sex Criminals is one where I don’t feel the lurking presence of “Do I just love this as a fanboy?” behind. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone, anywhere and everywhen. It’s got something for just about everyone, and it seems that Team Sex Crims is working to up their representation game even more. You can’t be all things to all people, but Sex Criminals makes a concerted effort to at least include all people and try to address their parts (role-wise, and genital-wise) in this weird, stressful, rewarding experience we call sexual relations with another person.
It’s been fun, gang. I look forward to reading issue 11 purely as a fan.
Writer: Matt Fraction Artist: Chip Zdarsky Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 1/28/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital