If you didn’t read my last Ody-C/Sex Criminals review, let me just first clarify that I love both series. Ya, I do. Like, totally. You can no longer trust this review to be objective in any way. It is not. At all. That is especially true given that writer Matt Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky printed my fanboy letter this issue, and Zdarsky responded with an image that has had me spontaneously giggling over the past twenty-four hours, and anything that can provoke giggle fits makes life substantially betterER. I think you should be reading this book if you like comics, sex, sexual discourse, sex comics, or things that are funny that also make you realize that there’s a vast continuum of sexuality that’s fascinating, and also affirming in the manner that lots of arty art things are, but you know, with dick jokes. This issue mostly departs from Jon and Suzie’s quest, following their encounter with that cum angel last issue, to focus on Alix, an asexual character that I think we’re only now being introduced to [the site fact checkers failed to get back to me]. Like the early Sex Criminals issues about Suzie and Jon’s sexual awakening, this one looks at Alix’s youth and sexual maturation, or more accurately the fact that she awakens to the fact that she has no interest in sex. Through Alix’s narration, we learn that at an early age she suspected she was an alien, and from there we see her grow and explore the world of weird teenage sexuality, a land rife with too much tongue and weak ass mustaches. As Alix navigates the loss of her brother and her affection for a sensual Carl Sagan, she also begins to recognize that her interest in sex merely rests in trying to be a normal teenager, which she recognizes in the midst of a blowjob attempt. Tapping into her unique cum powers through base-jumping, an adult Alix encounters a newcomer, potentially leading to a pairing that rivals Jon and Suzie in terms of sheer laughs per panel.
Fraction does great work here both introducing Alix, and giving her a voice that’s distinctly her own. I love that we first meet Alix in this issue as an adult, counseling most likely some high-powered executive on what they ought to do in the midst of some sort of crisis. It does a great job of subverting the stereotype that asexual people are introverted, non-assertive, or any of the other regular bullshit people spew. Although she doesn’t talk as often as some of the other Sexcrims, it’s apparent even in the flashback scenes that Alix is a smart person simply perplexed by her peer’s investment in a biological activity she only perceives as ‘sweaty wrestling.’ Once she recognizes her asexual identity, Alix follows up the sweaty wrestling bit by saying that she’s not anti-love, or anti social, simply asexual and she doesn’t apologize for it in spite of the interpersonal difficulties it’s brought on for her. Plus, she’s interested in stepping on some necks, and this comic can definitely do with more of that.
This issue is undoubtedly funny. Seriously, don’t doubt that. What I like most about the humor here as opposed to other wackier issues is how grounded it is in typical teenage experience that’s lacking in time freezes or orgasm ghosts. For instance, the previously mentioned blowjob attempt wonderfully illustrates the awesomeness of many small panels on a single page as a means of expanding small bits of time while also ramping up the scene’s tension. With a penis foregrounded in the center of each panel, the reader looks on as Alix make several tries to come at it from different angles only to give up and question her dumb teen boyfriend about the logic of blue balls. Looking at that page, I realized I had never seen a blowjob either in real life or pornography from such a perspective, and it made me come to a new level of appreciation for the feat people accomplish by putting an odd meaty thing in their mouths. It also made me laugh throughout as I recalled every sexual experience wherein I or a partner displayed a similar level of sexual curiosity that was logistical rather than hormonal.
You should read this comic whether or not you like comics, know what comics are, or even if you don’t give a hoot about sex in its many permutations. This is a comic that makes you feel less alone if you’re the right reader, and this issue in particular will hit you in your belly, and heart just as much as your groin. And all of that happens prior to the #dickduck.
Score: 5/5 (Definitely biased, but still 5!)
Sex Criminals #13 Writer: Matt Fraction Artist: Chip Zdasrky Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital Release Date: October 14, 2015