The first issue of Sex Criminals kind of fell flat for me. It was supposed to be a comedy but I honestly didn’t find it all that funny. However, we got a well-developed character and good artwork out of it, so I’m not willing to write the series off that easily. Now that the setup is over, is it good?
Sex Criminals #2 (Image Comics)
After an odd recap page (I like to imagine it is being narrated by a Valley girl who ate an entire bag of sugar), we start back with our two main characters, Suzie and Jon attempting to rob a bank while in The Quiet — Suzie’s name for the period of time when time stops after sex/orgasm. However, their attempt is being stopped by three odd glowing figures who can also move around in this zone. But enough about that story, it’s time for Jon’s backstory, where we get to find out about when he first discovered he could stop time through masturbation.
Wait… did I just write that?
Anyways, good news! This issue is actually really funny, and not just in an awkward/creepy way that the last issue suffered from (for the most part). The dialogue and scenes feel like there is actual humor in them and some moments can get some smiles and chuckles. Sure, there are some groaners and dumb jokes that are not funny (Ass-Jeeves? Seriously?), but hey, at least there are attempts to be funny. I personally did not laugh or chuckle at all, just smile a few times (personal favorite goes to the Benny Hill bit), and that’s mostly due to a lot of gross out humor. Then again, I’m reading a book called Sex Criminals, so what did I expect?
Also on the positive side is that dialogue and flow are good this time around. I found the narration and interactions to be pretty dry in the last bit, but the exchanges here were pretty good and they feel pretty human. The breaking the fourth wall bits were pretty flat and a lot of dialogue quirks (for instance, how Suzie refers to Jon in her narration) got old quickly. Then there is the story flow, which is much more manageable and easy flowing. Last issue, the story constantly jumped around to different moments and times in Suzie’s life where it actually got hard to follow. This time, the story does not jump around a lot and when it does changes scenes, they fit together much better and don’t leave you wondering when it is happening.
I still have some problems with the story besides the ones I mentioned. I found the initial story with the two characters robbing the bank to be far more interesting than Jon’s backstory or the scenes with him and Suzie after they first had sex. I mean it’s good to get some development and characterization for him, but what was shown in the beginning and end I found far more interesting. The ending is also a bit confusing in a way due to the last sentence. What did he exactly mean by “too late”?
The artwork by Chip Zdarsky hasn’t changed much since the last issue, and that’s not a knock — the art here is good. I like the use of color, the panel layouts (again, the Benny Hill scene), the character models, and how the artwork helps to improve upon the humor. In fact, a good chunk of the humor (whether I found it good or bad) wouldn’t have worked nearly as well without this art, though there is something off about it this time around. I think the faces and expressions this time around are much more crude at points. It maybe just me, but that’s what it feels like.
- The characters and dialogue feel natural.
- The humor and story flow are better.
- The artwork is still good.
- The humor is hit and miss.
- Needs to get to focus more on the main story.
Is It Good?
Sex Criminals #2 does something that I do not see very often from comics that start off poorly: it is actually good and feels like it has improved immensely. It feels like there is actual humor instead of uncomfortable story bits trying to be funny (whether it worked or not) and it didn’t feel like a pain to read and understand the book. It still has its problems and I’m still not fully invested in the characters despite how well defined they are (that’s a personal thing), but I do see a step up in improvement. I’m definitely going to stick around to see if this book continues to get better.