Sex Criminals got off to a bad start by being far more uncomfortable than funny (though any comic that has underage girls orgasming is more than guaranteed to throw some off). The second issue was better, though its humor still needed work and it really needed to actually get to the “Criminals” part of Sex Criminals. However, we seem to finally be getting to that part with this issue, so I am bit curious to see where this title will go now. Is it good?
Sex Criminals #3 (Image Comics)
After one page of the main characters getting cornered by the sex police (?) in the present, we yet again flashback to the past where we get to see Suzie and Jon bond together (while also seeing the scene where Jon lost his virginity) after discovering one another’s abilities. We also get to learn the reason why exactly they are even robbing the bank in the first place, but honestly, that’s it.
There’s also this… thing singing. I’m not sure, but I’m guessing this is supposed to be funny.
The story, like the last issue, still has not really started at all. We are still dealing with learning more about the characters; in this case, we get to see them bond and date a little bit. We also get a bit from what is happening in the present as the characters get cornered by the glowing weirdoes as they tried to rob the bank. I am a guy who does appreciate character related stuff, since I find that for a story to be good, it needs good and reasonably well developed characters. The characters here are good and reasonably well written, to the point where we could see why they slowly coming together (ahem…no pun intended) and their reason for robbing the bank is actually surprising and gives them a bit more depth.
However, while the character work is solid, the story is just so dang slow. In these past few months, it feels like the tale is barely moving a muscle and very little is being accomplished. Most of what we got has just been backstory and the main story, that is currently happening, is mostly shoved aside to one or two pages in the front and back of the comic. The main story with the main cast and these glowing police characters is probably the most interesting and mysteriously intriguing part, so it is often disappointing we don’t get to see more of it. Maybe just a bit more focus could help here.
Now, Sex Criminals in general is supposed to be a comedy. However, like with the first issue, this one is just not funny. It’s not because it is uncomfortable or extremely awkward like that issue, but more of a variety of reasons. Some jokes just feel strange or more bizarre than funny, like the Esteban one (if it is supposed to satirize something, the joke is completely lost on me and is way too driven into the ground for it to work even if I did get it); some of the immaturity of it (though the aftermath of the shitting in the planter thing worked), and some of the more self-referential humor can be dragged out way too long to where the joke stops being funny and becomes annoying (when Suize tries to sing Flat-Bottom Girls, there are post-it notes from Matt Fraction explaining why he can’t show the lyrics). Honestly, I’m not seeing it with this comic here with its humor, especially when it tends to wear out a joke very quickly.
Why yes, I think I will take a pamphlet.
The artwork is by Chip Zdarsky and it looks the same as always. It’s the same amount of quality you would expect from him if you have been liking it. However, with the lack of anything particularly interesting or unique looking happening in the panels, there is just nothing that stands out in the comic. Last issue, we had a very amusing full page (or at least took up most of the page) scene of a kid running around a porno shop dodging employees. The first issue had odd but occasionally funny bathroom stall doodles of what sex is supposed to look like over a couple of pages. Here? Nothing really, except for the interesting choices in colors for the attempt at the musical number. Just kind of forgettable in terms of art this time around.
- The characters are still fully realized and well written.
- Potentially, the main story is quite intriguing.
- The humor just does not work this time around.
- Very slow paced with the story still taking its time to go.
- The artwork has nothing to work with this time.
Is It Good?
Sex Criminalslost what steam it gained with the last issue in this one, mostly losing sight of how to be funny and how not to wear out a joke. Combined with the fact the story is very slow and nothing really that visually interesting happening, the comic actually became rather dull overall. For a comedy, that is something that should not happened at all. Hopefully with the next issue, the comic will correct this grave error and deliver on the premise and the funny.