Sex Criminals #6
Becka Kinzie – Color Flatting
Thomas K – Editing
Drew Gill – Production
Review by Joey Braccino
Sex Criminals #6 marks a new “arc” as it were in Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky critically acclaimed, raunchy and rowdy series. Over the course of the first five issues, we’ve had sexytimes (obvs!), bank robberies, phosphorescent orgasm police, a delightfully-named villain (Kegelface), and s**t-plants. Oh and a musical sequence that ended up all the more hilarious due to copyright infringement. Of course, the real highlight of Fraction and Zdarsky’s Sex Criminals has been the hilarity, the romance, the honesty, and the sincerity of Jon and Suzie blossoming relationship. Sex Criminals, in addition to being a sex-caper of sorts, is about two lost souls finding each other, and it’s that thematic core that has driven the series over the last five issues.
Issue #6 marks a significant turning point in the series. Last we saw Jon and Suzie, they had outsmarted the sex police and escaped certain doom. Suzie reveals in the opening narration that our ne’er-do-well orgasmic Bonnie & Clyde have essentially hit the straight & narrow, abandoning bank robberies in order to save the library through more honest means. And then Fraction and Zdarsky switch us over to a neutered, colorless, lifeless Jon for the remainder of the issue. “Honeymoon’s over” as Suzie gets to work saving the library and Jon is left to… well… deal. Pushing Jon’s descent into indifference is a burgeoning paranoia over the omnipresent Sex Police.
Sex Criminals #6 is a much bleaker, much darker issue in what has otherwise been a rainbow-colored, sexy-joke parade from cover to cover. And it’s a welcome change of pace from Fraction and Zdarsky. I wouldn’t say “serious”; there are still several laugh-out-loud moments in Sex Criminals #6, but this issue is very much a “chickens-come-home-to-roost” type of character study for Jon. We already knew about Jon’s laundry list of issues—some manufactured, others lined to his ADHD—and Fraction explore how losing Suzie to her work and the increasing paranoia associated with the Sex Police literally sucks the life out of Jon.
A serious draw for Sex Criminals has consistently been Chip Zdarsky artwork. His brilliant visualization of Fraction metaphorical, surrealistic post-modern story is an absolute feat, and it really must be seen to be believed. Much of the humor and the symbolism and the mystery of Sex Criminals is the result of Zdarsky inspired layouts and layered staging.
BUY. While there is a distinct shift in tone for Sex Criminals #6, the brilliant artwork, the on-point characterization, and the themes of love and connection are still very much apparent. Plus, this is a great jumping-on point for new readers!!! If you’re not already reading this series, you absolutely must. Check it!