Sex Criminals Doesn't Hit the Spot | Fanboys Anonymous

Sex Criminals Doesn't Hit the Spot

Posted by Unknown Wednesday, October 9, 2013
The comic book medium encompasses dozens of genres from horror to space opera, but with his new book Sex Criminals, Matt Fraction has added an unlikely party to the list: sex comedy. Although this may seem contradictory to the usual "youthful" image surrounding comics, the book takes a high concept approach to telling a story about humans and sexuality that wouldn't be possible in anything but a comic.

Artwork Sex Criminals Images from the Walking Dead creators

Sex Criminals Suze's time stopping powers in issue #1Sex Criminals, at its core, has a ton of promise. The premise is simple; every time leading lady Suzanne orgasms, she freezes time. It's fun, it's unusual, but it goes almost entirely unexplored in this first issue. The opening pages solve one of the immediate concerns surrounding a book with such an adult theme—the depiction of intercourse. In Sex Criminals, intercourse retains a sense of mysticism by being drawn with waves of color that hide the naughty bits of the parties involved. This is a nice way to lead into the origin story of Suzanne, a young girl whose exploration of sexuality leaves her largely disenfranchised and generally underwhelmed. She soon realizes sex isn't easy to learn about no matter how genuine the angle you may approach it from. There's a nice bit of heart in this section of the story as well as a nice societal jab. The structure of the issue, however, leaves all of this quickly behind.

The climactic moment in Sex Criminals issue one.The entire first issue encapsulates three timelines: Suzanne's middle school life after she discovers her powers, her meeting Jonathan at a party, and the two of them inside a bathroom "doin' the deed." Although the middle-school years are good for character development, and the period in which the book spends the majority of its time, this costs the series any real sense of driving action. The flow of exposition does meet an exciting impasse when Suzanne discovers that Jonathan, a young man she randomly hooks up with at a party, shares her ability. This is the book's one big stride toward establishing an overarching narrative for the series, but it is given only a couple pages to play out and no real opportunity to set things up apart from a single moment.

The final page shows Jonathan and Suzanne emerging from the bathroom in which our story began, guns in hand, toting large duffle bags. While this moment is exciting to me, it's only because I have heard interviews with the writer, who has explained that the story will go on to follow the two as they use their powers to commit crimes. This is somewhat implied here, but there's never really any action to drive the story or to imply the two would immediately turn to a life of crime. Although comics may certainly be comedies, an exposition-heavy issue such as this could really use something to up the ante and make it more than a bloated origin issue. That said, the issue sets up an interesting character in Suzanne, whose exploits outside the sack may prove to be more exciting than those in it in issues to come.

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