Sex Criminals #6: Review

The plot of Sex Criminals’ takes a very meta-turn as readers ask themselves the very same question that dogs Jon in issue #6 of this series’ newest arc: Is the honeymoon over? Or can Jon (and readers) keep the passion of the last five issues alive for the long haul.

Here’s the official word from Image:

After their narrow getaway from the Sex Police, Jon and Suzie are learning that this is “just the tip” of a massive iceberg. And what happens after the rush of a new relationship fades? Are they in love, lust, like, or just lame? Sexy fun times returns: We missed you so much, brimpers.

Anyone following Sex Criminals already knows how special this title from writer Matt Fraction really is —Fraction STK642009has masterfully mashed together that handful of genres readers typically love: romance, coming-of-age, sci-fi, and even a little sexy burlesque. And like many readers I *loved* not only the premise, but the humor of the first five issue arc which, in retrospect, was nothing more than set-up for Fraction’s hardest task to come: to make this a real on-going series. Yes, the the glow of the first arc is over. We’ve established our staple characters (Jon ahnd Suzie); explored their special powers (freezing time); established the essential question (will Suzie lose the library? And what’s the true nature of these powers?); and even met our villains (the Sex Police).

Now what to do with it?

Having already thwarted our hero’s bank-heisting plan, Fraction spends most of issue #6 unpacking a dry spell that hits Jon and Suzie’s new relationship — Jon is feeling restless (read: neutered), and some of his crazy habits are slowly starting to return. Given Fraction’s careful attention to capturing the real rhythms of a relationship this pause in the action reads true; the honeymoon is literally over for Jon. And just as the character seems to struggle with what comes next, so does Fraction. This is to say I didn’t get a strong sense of direction for this issue — at best its offers a bridge to whatever’s coming next, but Jon’s quest to uncover the secret of the Sex Police doesn’t feel urgent. He mostly just seems curious. Or pissed. Or maybe a little bit of both,

But hey, who cares? The premise is unique enough that it’s still propelling things forward (at least for now) and Chip Zdarsky’s art is simply outstanding — clean, sharp, and engaging. He fills each page with visual gags, offers some of the best expressions I’ve seen ages. Best, he captures the spirit of this title in a way that’s never grossly sexualized.

Sex Criminals is one of the strongest comics out there. Let’s hope that this new arc helps it stay that way.

Author
Max Delgado is the founder and curator of The Longbox Project (@LongBoxProject), a memory project for comic geeks. You can check it out at www.thelongboxproject.com