Oh hey, Sex Criminals is back, just in time for the finale of the first arc. Will this issue eventually try a new format of telling its tale? Will it actually focus for once on the criminal element of Sex Criminals? Will Jon be hit again with another glowing dildo? Will this comic be actually funny, and most importantly: Is it good?
Sex Criminals #5 (Image Comics)
So the bank robbery… fails and Suzie and Jon are captured by the actual Sex Police. But enough drama, let’s flashback to just before the two commit the robbery (because there is still plenty of stuff to squeeze in and focus on instead) and where we can get a message about ADHD and about medicine… for some reason.
Suzie! Focus! Stop talking to the audience and focus on this plan I spent all night thinking of!
We have reached the end of the arc and it is pretty flat. Due to how much the story has been dragged out and the whole not having an issue for two months lapse — this issue felt rather weak and underwhelming. The story is again split into three parts. The main story in the present is broken in two and shoved in the front and end of the book, while the majority of the issue is taken up by a flashback, again, before the robbery and planning things out. The middle portion, while important, is just not as compelling and engaging as the robbery itself. Honestly, the way the first arc should have been set up is that the final issue should have been just focusing on the robbery instead of stretching it out.
Character wise, the story drops the bombshell that Jon has ADHD and that… does not really add anything to the comic and feels almost out of place. It is such a serious moment, but it does not change the character at all and everything about it comes across as a forced statement by writer Matt Fraction about medicine and disorders. In fact, if you were to remove this part of the comic, nothing would really change. I’m all for adding elements to the story that are supposed to say something, but the whole thing is kind of ruined since this is the explanation for why Jon craps in his boss’s potted plant.
Yeah… serious moments don’t really work together well here when this is the lead in.
The rest of the cast is okay. There is no new development or backstory for Suzie at all (I’m guessing the comic squeezed as much as it possibly could out of her in past flashbacks) in comparison to previous issues, though there is a bit of characterization for her at the library in one scene. Besides Jon, there is really no development for anyone here. That is a real shame because the sex police characters come across as potentially interesting individuals that could be neat to learn about. In fact, after all of these issues, I’d rather spend some time with them than the actual main characters.
Now comes the most important part: the comedy aspect. Is this issue actually funny in any way? Unfortunately, it’s pretty darn lackluster and this had to be the flattest issue of the series so far. Outside of one panel and possibly two others, there was nothing even remotely funny or attempting to be funny. Nothing worked since there was no timing, some scenes came off as being too weird or bizarre, some “jokes” were beaten into the ground too much in previous issues (that f**king *insert noun here* is just done and over), and other moments were just groan inducing. I completely understand that humor is extremely subjective and it can vary greatly; it’s also not like I can’t enjoy inappropriate or immature humor, since I greatly enjoy comics like Chew and Change 123. However, that does not change the fact that this comic does a poor job at being a comedy, because even if I don’t get or find the joke funny, I can still tell when the material and moments are supposed to work or be funny. Here? Not so much.
HA… ha… haaaaaaaaa….. ugh.
Chip Zdarsky’s artwork is fine. It always has been when it comes to the series and there is no exception to that here. The characters are perfectly fine looking and have a decent range of emotions, with a simple style at play. The layouts are simple and easy to follow. The locations/backgrounds are fine and also employ a simplistic style with little detail and empty looking areas (though at one point, the shelves in the library look like slim, rectangle boxes than actual shelves). Points must also be handed out to the coloring by Becka Kinzie, whose colors are very nice and easy on the eyes (the book says she does color flattening, but she deserves credit as much as possible). Outside of a rather odd body physique issue, the comic is well drawn overall and is sadly wasted as well.
Um… why does he have breasts?
Is It Good?
Sex Criminals #5 is just a really flat and empty finale to the first arc. The humor does not work, there’s no character development outside of one bizarre choice that adds nothing, the main story is ultimately stretched thin and the ending feels a bit hollow. The comic has nice artwork and while the main characters have been fully fleshed out (besides that bizarre choice), the comic just really does not have much otherwise.