***POSSIBLE SPOILERS, READ WITH CAUTION***
So I have a viewpoint on Matt Fraction. I could be right, I could be wrong. Just don’t send me hate messages for this, ‘kay? ‘Kay. Here we go:
Matt Fraction is MARVEL’s Golden Boy, their Scott Snyder.
LE GASP, HOW COULD YOU ARRIVE AT SUCH A BLASPHEMOUS CONCLUSION!?! I HOPE YOU ENJOY HATE MAIL YOU DICK.
I mostly arrive at this conclusion because of their status at their respective publishers at the moment. Both started off with great runs (depending on who you ask) on superhero comics and currently doing amazing runs, Snyder with Batman and Superman Unchained, Fraction with Hawkeye, FF, and Fantastic Four. And both have great personal, creator-owned projects: Snyder with The Wake and American Vampire, Fraction with Satellite Sam, and this amazing little book we have here.
Fraction wastes no time in introducing the world he has created… well, his vision of the current world we live in, I mean: exploring the world around us, and discovering that there is more than meets the eye with everyday life. It is a theme he has established in his Hawkeye run and continues with in this title, with great success.
And of course, there are the characters. The comic centers on Suzie, who discovers at a very young age, following the death of her father, that she can stop time when she orgasms. Weird, no? And no, she didn’t have sex as a kid. It was the result of a bath and the water still running, and yeah… MOVING ON.
What makes this comic so effective is the character of Suzie, the goals she has, and the situations she’s put in thanks to the confines of society. After cumming for the first time, she’s pretty much confused as fuck when it comes to the concept of sex, so she goes off to find answers. Be it through le interwebz, books, the school slut, and everything about finding this information is incredibly awkward for her. And this speaks volumes of the struggles involving sexuality at the age of adolescence: it’s easy for dudes to know about sex because it’s natural for them wanting to get it on, but if a girl asks even one little question about it, WELL SHAME ON YOU.
And she’s into books, learning, Lolita, James Mason, and saving her local library from being foreclosed, which makes her totes awesome, at least in my book.
Of course, since this is a Matt Fraction comic, it’s only natural that this comic breaks the fourth wall (thanks to switching back and forth between older and younger Suzie), is fucking sassy as fuck, and of course, is fucking hilarious. Seriously, this comic is funny as all hell. There are moments where I cannot help but think, “YUP, PREACH IT SUZIE, PREACH IT!” and then there are moments where I can’t help but feel “OMG, MY SIDES, I’M LAUGHING TOO HARD.” It could have been awkward (in a bad way) as all hell, but because this is Fraction, there are no worries.
Of course, a comic isn’t all words. There’s also the art. I’m not gonna’ lie, I don’t know too much about Chip Zdarsky’s art (he’s new and up-and-coming, right?), but not being well-acquainted with a penciller’s previous work doesn’t stop me from admiring what I see in front of me. Zdarsky does amazing work on Sex Criminals, and the guy has got some real talent considering he doesn’t just pencil the book, but also inks and colors it as well. And the results are nothing short of amazing. Highlights would definitely have to include the time-stopping sequences, which is when the reader really gets to see the colors fly.
It’s going to be really enjoyable reading the exploits of main character Suzie and what she’s going to do with her time stopping… ability. Between the great narration, scenes that could come straight from everyday life in a big city, amazing artwork and laugh out loud humor, this is one book you can definitely get behind. It may be too soon to tell, but I smell comedy-drama adaptation for TV heading this comic’s way!
…Okay, okay, we’ll give it time. Damn.
FINAL VERDICT: Sex Criminals #1 is enjoyable in every way. It takes a plot device that is played out to death nowadays in comics (sex), flips it around, looks at it through a different lens, and turns it into an engaging, intriguing story that is worth multiple reads. It gives a relate-able protagonist in Suzie as she struggles to understand sexuality and come to terms with the awkwardness that follows it, and makes what could be a really serious and taboo subject into a very hilarious journey. I’m kinda’ at a loss for words, truth be told, so just go read Sex Criminals and become pleasured by it, pun sort of intended.