“Sex Criminals” #69

By | October 30th, 2020
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

There’s only one number that this series has to end on, so let’s jump ahead a few years to the future and see if everyone turns out pretty okay.  Spoilers for the final arc and this issue within.

Cover by Chip Zdarsky
Written by Matt Fraction
Illustrated by Chip Zdarsky

FINAL ISSUE! SERIES FINALE in which we skip ahead 39 issues and check in with how it all ends up a few years down the line. SPOILERS: pretty okay?

When we left Jon and Suzie a few months ago, Jon was in jail for destruction of property, and Suzie was . . . well, it looked like she had died but after a trip through what looked to be a near death experience, she returned three months later.  And life returned to normal for her. Well, not without a little bit of revenge against Badal while she waited for Jon to come home. (Which he did, once his sentence was commuted to house arrest.)

And if things ended there, everyone would be happy.  But as Suzie says in the final panel: “Hold on.” There’s one more story to be told.

And with that, we jump three years and three months later. It’s time for a wedding on a private island, and the happy couple is Dewey and Bud.  (After recent news of this week, I have to ask: did they all have 2 weeks of health screens and quarantine first though, for this brief moment in time of normal?) Now ridiculously wealthy TV stars, the soon to be newlyweds host a reunion of all the friends from back home while they tie the knot. Suzie and Jon are there . . . but not together, perhaps a bit of a shock after their blissful reunion at the end of issue #30.  Suzie’s got a new man in her life (and a doctorate in progress) and Jon’s there alone, though he has a new career in art therapy in the prison system to bide his time.  The wedding proves itself everything a wedding should be (along with a rollicking party), but as the party ends and Bud and Dewey go off to be happy newlyweds, another (ex) couple takes a moment to savor their shared history together, for one last time.

Part of you (and part of me) wanted Jon and Suzie to have that happily ever after, still together, still having great sex.  But that’s the too easy ending.  And one of the things I loved about this series from the start is how Matt Fraction played fast and loose with storytelling convention. (And in further reflection, I wonder if that beautiful final panel of issue #30, with Jon and Suzie in post-coital bliss, had a hint that all was not right in their little corner of paradise.)

So we get the happily ever after for Bud and Dewey, with all its sweetness and romance, and a sort of happily ever after for Jon and Suzie.  They moved on, closing that door of their lives and finding peace in other forms, but still have that shared bond that ties them. Both tug at your heartstrings in their own way: happiness and joy for a life to come, happiness and joy for a life that was. Beginnings and endings. Love in all its facets and forms, the heart of this story from its beginning, even if we didn’t realize it until issue #26.  They may not be Mr. and Mrs., but they’re both happy with themselves and the time that they both shared together.  And just like any good friend, you’re happy because they’re happy, even if it’s not the outcome you wanted.

One thing does stand out about this finale is in the art.  There’s no radical change in art style; everyone looks as they should and the storytelling is in fact, more traditional and linear when compared many moments in the rest of the series. And there’s certainly more than one homage to that sixteen panel page that this series made famous.  But there isn’t that boundless weird that also made the series famous: the little side charms that add character to backgrounds, perspective in ways you wouldn’t expect for a scene.

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And that’s okay. Pretty okay, even.  As Jon and Suzie moved on from their time together and all its related adventures, so should their environment, and the tone of the art reflects that. The setting of a tropical island adds to that sense of peace for everyone, a time to put aside old grudges and feelings and get caught up in the joy of the moment, however fleeting it may be.  Isolated from the world with – – dare I say it after recent events – – a chance to pretend things are normal in this brief moment in time.

That isn’t to say there isn’t those weird non sequitur moments. Our opening scene with Bud and Dewey sets the scene with the right touch of zany (and makes you wish for their own one-shot or spinoff).  And just why does a resort island have anti-aircraft guns, and why does Myrtle aka Kegelface love using them so much?  In what could be a perfect case of serendipity, or just Zdarsky’s clever paneling, that scene is right before Jon and Suzie reunite on the island, past colliding with present.

As we leave Jon and Suzie for the final time, they’re watching a sunrise together on the island.  The start of a new day, but yet, they can’t let go of each other as Suzie pleads to “stay here together, just a little bit more.”  The real world beckons for both, but not yet. We don’t know if they will meet again after they leave this island.  But we know that both of them, no matter what happens, they will both be pretty okay.  And that’s the best kind of ending you can get.

Final Verdict: 8.7 – This was a finale that was more than just pretty okay.  It was just what we needed, what we deserved – – and worth the wait.

Kate Kosturski

Kate Kosturski is your Multiversity social media manager, a librarian by day and a comics geek...well, by day too (and by night). Kate's writing has also been featured at PanelxPanel, Women Write About Comics, and Geeks OUT. She spends her free time spending too much money on Funko POP figures and LEGO, playing with yarn, and rooting for the hapless New York Mets. Follow her on Twitter at @librarian_kate.