Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s new creator owned series for Image is an original, hilarious, and accessible “cuming” of age story. If you’ve ever experienced your own bout of sexual frustration “Sex Criminals” will speak volumes to you. The art is incredible and the script doesn’t have a dull page.
To say “Sex Criminals” is unlike anything you’ve ever read would be underselling it. The book is chock full of original ideas, and centered around an incredibly detailed analysis of the protagonist’s sexual history. The book brims with a certain sexual energy that makes it fun, risqué, and refreshing.
Fraction introduces us to Suzie as a young woman in the heat of a moment with her boyfriend John. They are going to the bonezone in the middle of a public washroom. Suzie takes this instant to fill us in on her past. What results is a surreal look at Suzie’s early days. She highlights her sexual history from the moment she discovered she had special powers.
When Suzie has an orgasm, she literally stops time. Everything freezes around her, and she can interact with the world unperturbed. Fraction follows Suzie’s sexual progression as she tries to learn more about sex. Her unique ability aside, she believes, at least at first that everyone must experience what she does.
She quickly learns that she is unique, and as the story progresses we see how this power develops Suzie into a strong and sexually independent woman. Staging older Suzie in the middle of these flashbacks allows for such incredible character development. Fraction shows you who she was, and who she is all in the same moment. It’s engrossing stuff that allows you to fully understand the character and her motivations.
Zdarsky’s work completely adds to the world. In a flashback with the slutty girls at school Zdarsky hits his stride. Fraction has the girls drawing insane sex positions on the wall of a bathroom stall. If Zdarsky’s crude depictions of Twerging, Brimping, or The Dutch Microwave don’t get you, then you have no sense of humor and should bury yourself at least six feet below the ground.
As if that wasn’t enough Fraction ensures John is equally as engaging. The scene in which the two meet at a party is cute, and doesn’t feel forced. The moment in which they realize they share more than a love for “Lolita” is near perfect. The relationship builds to one of mutual intrigue and attraction, but the final panel shows you what this series is all about. Ensuring that you’ll come back next month.
Zdarsky’s art is nothing short of incredible. His cartoony approach to characters using big eyes, and warm emotive facial expressions brings a certain flavor to the book. Nothing ever feels abrasive; in fact Zadarsky gives the book a playful feel. His depiction of Suzie’s ability is fantastic. The use of color, and whimsical lines give everything an otherworldly feeling that accentuates this book’s voice.
“Sex Criminals” manages to get just about everything right. The vulnerability of sexual discovery, the origin story, and the boundless limits of the comic book medium culminate into something truly original. I cannot recommend this book enough, and cannot wait to see where things go from here.
Rating: 5/5 Skulls.