If you thought things were weird before, you ain’t seen nothing yet: “Sex Criminals” #10 does a lot to move the bigger plot forward but is still the laugh riot you fell in love with.
Written by Matt Fraction
Illustrated Chip Zdarsky
In which Jon and Suzie learn just how alone together we all are, and the stakes get raised crazy-high in this, the second arc finale. By MATT FRACTION (CASANOVA, ODYC, SATELLITE SAM) and just a great big bunch of C.H.U.D.s with photoshop or something.
I’m going to be honest here and admit to being unashamedly in love with everything about “Sex Criminals”. From the title page to the last letter in the letters column, this is always the most fun book in my pull. With that said, I do feel that there’s been some momentum lost with the delays and that the bigger plot can sometimes get lost underneath all the funny jokes and gags. “Sex Criminals” #10 is an issue that makes me remember why I initially took to this series so quickly.
“Sex Criminals” #10 picks up with Jon and Suzie’s meeting with Ana Kincaid a.k.a. Jazmine St. Cocaine. They’re there not only to get more insight into their time stopping powers but also to take down Kegelface and her sex police. Elsewhere, we get a little bit more insight to what makes Robert Rainbow who he is.
The issue is really heavy on plot progression so it’s not as wild as some previous issues have been. I appreciate this because at the end of the day, I’m paying for the book so I can enjoy a great story. The laughs are welcomed and I like how wild this can series can be, but I do need some kind of payoff to the plot. Fraction and Zdarsky are moving the story along much better in this issue as shown by the use of Dr. Kincaid. All the character development is paying of; it’s not just her that we see this with. We see something similar happen with Jon and Suzie as it pertains to their relationship. They’re moving to a new place in their romance that feels organic. Nothing feels forced and it makes them even more relatable; something I thought was impossible at this point. Among all the comedy and sight gags, there’s been some amazing longform storytelling and this is an issue that justifies all those award wins and nominations.
The background jokes are hysterical – there are sexual puns of all kinds in the bookstore including more of the ongoing war between Zdarsky and the team behind “The Wicked + The Divine”. I can only hope that at some point the two books will crossover for what would only been pure mayhem. Comedy is not easy and sexual comedy is even tougher because the risk of repeating yourself is very high. Fraction and Zdarsky excel at writing in the little things in life that from the outside looking in would be funny. Like Suzie taking a giant bite out of chicken at the end of a what was a serious conversation.
There are two very important moments in this issue that I believe show off how talent Fraction is as a writer. One is the exploration of Robert Rainbow and why he became and OB/GYN. What could have devolved into some silly or twisted fantasy turns into a very poignant moment that touches on some really heavy stuff. The other moment is with Jon in therapy. As the series has progressed we’ve seen Fraction channel a lot of what he’s written about in blog posts when it comes to mental health. Jon’s struggles to stay “okay” have been a real highlight of “Sex Criminals” so far. In this issue, he gets to a place of almost having a major break through and it’s not so much broken but where he is is just complicated. It’s authentic and real. “Sex Criminals” gets into this stuff sometimes and I think that ends up being the appeal of the series. More so, I think, than the sex and comedy.
Chip Zdarsky is a really talented graphic artist. I love how he mixes cartoon like art with real world aspects. This isn’t a fantasy but there’s something very light to what he does. Jon and Suzie look like real people and live in an almost real world but he does something that makes you believe that this “condition” could exist. The sight gags are not so in your face either. They’re cleverly and discretely placed so that you have to spend time looking at the art in closer detail. The facial expressions are on point with Suzie being the most animated of them all. The honest truth is that this isn’t Fiona Staples but this is great work that fits the tone of the story.Continued below
“Sex Criminals” #10 is a strong issue from what is definitely one of my five favorite series going right now. The second arc feels so much important now thanks to this issue.
Final Verdict:8.8 “Sex Criminals” feels back on track. This issue proved why it deserves all the praise it gets.