Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s “Sex Criminals” builds its world this month. The effect is staggering. The larger context still allows for plenty of comedy, sexual perversion, and a steaming pile of mystery.
“Sex Criminals” is written with such casual intimacy that is feels completely exposed and real. The characters are relatable and the world is infinitely interesting. Fraction and Zdarsky have crafted a masterpiece by embracing their insanity. They choose to buck the trends and just have fun. The chemistry between the two creative forces is palpable and people may even start to talk…
In reality though they have crafted something truly amazing. Zdarsky’s paneling is robust but never overwhelming. The sheer amount of panels per page would usually spell death for any other book, but feels completely at home here. I don’t know if it’s a product of the world we’re in, or the product of the book itself but the quick snapshots of different situations work remarkably well in communicating the narrative.
Telling the story out of order seems to be Fraction’s best choice. Every issue the plot progresses forward, but with a baby step instead of a leap. However, we learn so much more about the characters and their pasts that the entire thing feels completely engaging. The pacing never hits a lull because the book jumps through time so much. Any moment in which the narrative seems to slow is immediately exchanged with another slice of time.
Zdarsky and Fraction are clearly having the time of their lives creating this book. Amongst all the comedy and sexual perversion there is a layer of exposed character. We’re learning a lot about John and Suzie with every page, who they present to one another isn’t exactly who they are. It’s one of the mysteries throughout the book second only to whoever the fuck these sex-police are.
“Sex Criminals” dares to be different. It’s created by a team who are clearly not interested in doing things the same way as everyone else and the comics community is much better for it. I can’t think of a more interesting book to pour your money into every month. As departures from the norm like these need to be supported and nurtured into fully-grown beasts.
I have no idea what the future holds for ”Sex Criminals.” I trust that Fraction and Zdarsky will answer all of the questions they have posed. I’m completely along for the ride. There is no other book that will make you laugh as much as this one, and no other book out there that is daring to play with the structure of its narrative so much. Every month another slice of the story is revealed and it proves to be more interesting than the last. I can’t recommend “Sex Criminals” enough. Really, and truly to me this is the best book Image is putting out.
Rating: 4.5/5 Skulls.