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Sex Criminals #5 Review: Upping the Ante

After the robbery gone wrong was dragged on for a good five issues, we’re finally given a resolution. Issue #1 opened up with Jon and Suzie in a public restroom shedding their clothes and having sex, while someone outside the door was calling for them to come out and surrender. At long last, we find out what happens. To cap off a three month-long hiatus, Sex Criminals is back with issue #5, and the next leg of the journey promises to be anything but dull. [Spoilers to follow] I am still more than on-board with Sex Criminals at this point. I find it as funny as it is creative, and the core idea of the story is brilliant in its simplicity (ejaculation that stops time—who wouldn’t want to read that?).  Still, like most books, Sex Criminals has its highs and its lows. Over the course of the series thus far, I’ve grown to love Jon and Suzie. They seem to be fun, intelligent, and generally understanding people. That’s part of the reason why Suzie surprised me in this issue, and not in a positive way. sexcriminals05-pg1-130d7 You’d think that for two people planning to rob a bank, pooping in the plant of your awful boss wouldn’t be that big of deal. Apparently, I was wrong to think so. When Suzie catches Jon doing just that, and he explains that he was diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder for which he used to be medicated, she reacts, I thought, in a very unfortunate way. Pressing him as if medication is the best route, despite what he told her about the emotionless state of apathy he found himself in day-after-day, Suzie acted as if Jon was wrong in his decision to stop. What could have passed as a minor conversational truth-session was spun into a drama that occupies the core of issue #5. Another thing that didn’t quite jive with me is the way they managed to drag the robbery on for five issues. At the end of every issue except for the first, we would basically be presented with Jon and Suzie with their backs against the wall, obviously trapped and unsure what to do next. If there was any advancement at all, it was minor, with the exception of the discovery that there are other people who can enter “the quiet.” I simply could not believe that there were more flashbacks to throw at us, just when it looked like we were going to find out what happens next. Oh, and I don’t buy that they would go ahead with the robbery when they knew they had been found out.

sexcriminals05-pg2-1d87e Still, Matt Fraction has done a great job with the writing. Even though I’m not a fan of how Suzie reacted to Jon’s diagnosis, I really appreciate that there’s more being explored beyond sex toys and poop plants. The dialogue is also exceptional. While subtle, I feel as if every character has a unique voice; that’s only something you notice when it’s done improperly, and in Sex Criminals, it most certainly isn’t. He’s also taking the story in what I think is an interesting direction. Are Jon and Suzie now fugitives? I have to say, despite the title, I did not see that coming.

Chip Zdarsky’s artwork has been lauded for its design and color technique, referred to by some as “candy-colored art.” It certainly has a unique look, and it actually complements the tone of the story quite nicely. Chip is known for his sense of humor as well, and I’d be very surprised if he didn’t play a role in writing dialogue and plot development. Sex Criminals is an incredible creative collision between two of the industry’s top young talents. I’m not only thrilled about coming issues of this, but also future projects that these two will work on, together and apart. sexcriminals05-pg3-92c50I’m a huge fan of the way this issue ended. I think this series will continue to surprise me in only the most positive of ways. My criticisms, while lengthily elaborated upon, are minor in the greater scope of things. My issue with Suzie wasn’t with the quality of the writing—in fact, my issue with her character in that single instance might have even added depth. After all, I’m thinking about her like she’s a real person, and if that’s not a tribute to the writing, I don’t know what is.
  • Consistently hilarious
  • Believable and witty dialogue
  • Beautiful color palettes
  • Interesting character development
  • Moves the story along at a snail's pace
  • Strange point of conflict at the core of this issue


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