Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mini-Review: Sex Criminals, Vol.1 – “One Weird Trick” (Image)

PrintWriter: Matt Fraction | Artist: Chip Zdarsky

Suzie’s just a regular gal with an irregular gift: when she has sex, she stops time. One day she meets Jon and it turns out he has the same ability. And sooner or later they get around to using their gifts to do what we’d ALL do: rob a couple banks. A bawdy and brazen sex comedy for comics begins here!

This is a very unconventional, amusing and even ground-breaking book. It is also one I’m not entirely sure how best to review. Is it funny? Absolutely. And not just because it’s sex-related, and because that can often be very funny – especially when it’s about weird stuff, or people’s anxieties about it. This is a great book, and it’s no wonder that it has been taking critics and comic fans by storm.

Fraction’s story is multi-layered – it looks at sex, and how young people’s experiences can be varied, great, uncomfortable, misunderstood, and complicated. It is not preachy, nor is it flippant. It also has some great moments that are about reading and the imagination. And our protagonists are plotting a bank heist (in order to save a library). There is some pretty weird stuff near the end – which diminished the impact for me just a little, but by no means completely. I will absolutely be back for volume two.

The book is filled with some great background gags, and there were plenty that had be giggling for pages to follow (and also a couple that resurfaced in my mind at odd moments, setting me off giggling again). Sex Criminals is a series that really needs to be read and experienced for yourself – to review it at length would kind of ruin its magic, I think.

Zdarsky’s artwork is great throughout – and I love the way he’s added all the details and background stuff, without clobbering the reader with it. The sex-time graphics are really interesting and well-done, too.

With its great storytelling and superb artwork, not to mention its interesting and welcome message, and colourful well-drawn characters, this is a very highly recommended collection.

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