Review: Sex Criminals #9

It’s that glorious time again when Brimpers can rejoice--Lo, the return of the Sex Criminals is nigh. It’s another strong, hilarious entry in this delightful series from the two most deranged bastards to ever cash a paycheck, and I can’t wait for them to tie it together next month. This issue divides pretty decently into two halves; in the first, we learn about one of the icons of the sex industry in that world, and how she got involved in the business. In the second, we see Jon and Suzie make things worse and make things slightly better (as you do).

I was a little jarred by the beginning of this issue for two reasons: on the one hand, I thought I was misreading the panels, or I was missing a page (I’m not forgiving Image for their last snafu with a Matt Fraction book); on the other hand, I thought maybe it’d just been long enough since issue 8 came out that I had completely forgotten what had happened at the end of the issue. It turns out that one was kind of true, I’d forgotten about some of the library stuff from the last issue. I call this “The Saga Problem.” I fucking love Saga. Reading it in a sitting in a trade or the new hardcover is a delightful experience, and the six months when it comes out regularly are treasures. Unfortunately, as much as I like it, I almost always forget what happens while it’s on hiatus. I don’t want to begrudge Staples/Vaughan or Zdarsky/Fraction their lead time, but this is the kind of thing that kills television shows, when they move the schedule around, and there’s a reason for that.

Sex-Criminals-#9-12-10-14HAVING SAID THAT (sorry, gang), this issue fucking jams. It covers a side of an entry into the Quiet that would seem to be one fraught with danger and bad decisions, but framed in terms of agency and doing what is good for a person. Financially sound advice that you maybe shouldn’t take, but if it works for you, it works for you. Also, it is worth the cover price to see the most extended sexual burn on The Wicked + The Divine I never knew I wanted. Seriously, if you’re in the “not quite sold on WicDiv boat like I am, there will be nothing to brighten your day quicker than those few pages.

Zdarsky’s art is getting better and better. I don’t want that to come across like he hasn’t always been crazy talented, but he’s churning out crowd scenes that don’t just look like the same two faces over and over; they look like a crowd of real people. And the visual compositions are getting fancier and fancier. For a grown man with a Garfield costume who wants people to think that he is adrift and has no idea what’s happening, he is a consummate pro (at consummating, presumably). Fraction’s writing is still top-notch, bringing the character development and opening up the world of the sexual criminals. He’s wrapped us tight into this plot, opened us up to other characters who AREN’T sexual criminals, and he’s still bringing the laughs. Well-done.

I should also mention: as a non-fan of letter columns, the letter column in Sex Criminals is a goddamn delight. Every time there’s a new issue, it takes me three times as long to read as a regular comic, because I read every single letter, and pretty much every one of them cracks me up. It’s no wonder, they managed to make an insanely funny book of sex advice with a lot of this material. Props to both the letter-writers and the curators, for sure.

Pick up this book. There’s nothing else to say. It’s everything you need.

Score: 5/5

Writer: Matt Fraction Artist: Chip Zdarsky Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 12/10/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital