After months of patiently scanning previews and release lists and not seeing a peep about Sex Criminals, it’s finally back. Hopefully they take the time to catch us back up because it’s been a long while. Is it good?
Sex Criminals #16 (Image Comics)
The issue opens with a ten page primer to catch us back up, since this book’s been away for “like eight months” (Fraction’s words, not mine). This obviously makes this a great jumping on point if you’ve read the rave reviews for this series but didn’t want to start at the beginning.
Basically, Suzie’s dad dies when she’s young after a stock market crash takes everything he has, she discovers she can stop time when she orgasms, eventually meets a guy who can do the same, and they use this frozen time to rob said bank. This attracts the ire of the so-called sex police, who track down people who can enter The Quiet (as Suzie calls her orgasm time-stopped world)/Cumworld (as Jon so eloquently calls it). They meet some other people who can also stop time by cumming but it doesn’t go so well.
In between all that there are actually a lot of touching, introspective moments and interesting ideas at play, as well as some super meta humor you won’t really get anywhere else in comics, so please, just read all the back issues. It’s a great series, promise. The primer is written in typically funny fashion for this series, though, so even if you’re a Sex Criminals vet, definitely give it a read.
As for this issue itself, all I can say is I’m really glad Sex Criminals is back. No comic has ever captured both the essence of being in a relationship–the good and the bad–and struggling with depression so perfectly. Or as humorously–seriously, this is one of the funniest books on stands, while at the same time being one of the most relatable. It will punch you right in the feels one frame and make you laugh out loud the next. It’s a lot like a relationship itself in that way.
It’s a fast read, but it catches us back up with the main characters and gives us an inside look to Suzie and Jon’s relationship. The issue starts with a fight between the two, but their relationship becomes all the stronger for it as they start figuring stuff out.
This issue may disappoint those looking for action and the “criminals” part of the title, but it was a necessary reset after being gone for so long. And on the last page, Fraction promises to get back to the criminals next issue, so fear not.
Chip Zdarsky’s artwork is as solid as ever, including the background puns and gags. It never takes itself seriously and that juxtaposed with the at times extremely serious topics of love and depression, helps make Sex Criminals the emotional roller coaster it is.
Is It Good?
Never leave us again, Sex Criminals. There was a huge gap in my pull list for the type of emotional resonance and laugh-out-loud humor that only this book can provide, and its return issue for the first time in months lives up to the series’ own lofty expectations and then some.