Comic Review: Sex Criminals #16
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist & Cover: Chip Zdarsky
Just in time to come (ahem) the day after Valentine’s Day (and following an EIGHT month hiatus but who’s counting), everyone’s favorite raunchy comic returns. And what better way to welcome your long-patient fans than with an EIGHT page recap of the series thus far. Is a clip show really necessary? I feel we’ve endured enough meta-jokes – the sooner I can forget the FOUR pages in #14 (you know exactly which ones), the better. I want to stay mad at you, “Sex Criminals”.. but dammit, I can’t. From ripping on the excess of space-themed books (“Image publishes like ninety of ’em right now”) while sporting an Image 25th Anniversary tag on the cover to opening with an homage to Nighthawks, you are just too charming.
Fraction and Zdarsky go together like peanut butter and (KY) jelly, blending all-too-real interpersonal dramas with sex jokes and dirty background gags. Our main couple is evolving, hashing out arguments like adults rather than devolving into a bout of name-calling like we’ve seen in previous issues. But more than that, our creators use DIALOGUE to show us this, rather than fourth-wall-breaking schtick. It is through these interactions we can see the points of tension between Jon and Suze. Jon’s constant use of immature humor (“butt stuff is life stuff”) is a defense mechanism for his mental health issues while Suze, being more prudent, sets aside a day for the couple to plan goals, complete with color-coded markers. Will their differences compliment each other or tear them apart? Will Jon’s love for Suze keep his issues in check or will Kegelface manipulate him into catastrophe?
16 issues in and, while “Sex Criminals” is anything but PG, our leads are taking their relationship beyond just hot-and-heavy bone sessions into a new, mature plateau. However their goal making session does turn into a wildly dynamic bone sesh, which Zdarsky shows as running all around the apartment with a dotted line, like the most X-rated edition of “Family Circus”. While I’ve felt some of the past issues have not as been as visually engaging, Zdarsky has really kicked off this new arc with expressive faces and poses.
Review 5 (out of 7) – Suze and Jon’s relationship continues to mature, sharing the not-so-sexy realities of making an adult relationship work. But hiatus or not, Jon’s psych files in the hands of Kegelface is too big a thread to be ignored.