Matt Fraction has been rolling out awesome books at Marvel for a while now. Known for his work on ‘The Invincible Iron Man’, ‘The Immortal Iron Fist’, and ‘Uncanny X-Men’, the writer has really become a comic book reading household name thanks to his incredible work on the critically acclaimed and award winning ‘Hawkeye’ with David Aja. But outside of the Marvel Universe, he has quite a number of excellent creator-owned titles under his belt as well. Many people have been talking about his Image Comics books ‘Satellite Sam’ and ‘Cassanova’, but now he is a couple of issues into a brand new series for the company that’s been generating a bit of buzz and it’s quite different than any of his other stuff out right now.
Fraction is pretty familiar with superheroes from his work on various Avengers, X-Men, and Fantastic Four books, but his latest comic takes a look at some very different superpowered individuals. ‘Sex Criminals’ follows Suzie, a normal girl with an interesting ability: Whenever she climaxes, she stops time. At a party one night, she meets Jon, who also happens to have this power too. After discovering this, they join forces to do what anyone with those gifts would do. Naturally, they start to rob banks.
Okay, maybe not everyone would do that, but it makes for an intriguing premise for a comic book. As I was reading through these first two issues, I almost thought of it as a superhero sex comedy, but just a little light on the hero side of things. And as with most superhero stories, the first issue (and part of the second issue) was our hero’s origin. However, instead of radioactive spiders, suits made of iron, or a super soldier serum, this origin story explores a young lady’s adventure of sexual discovery after the death of her father up until she finds her partner in crime.
To begin with, they mention in Image’s solicit of the book that it’s in the vein of ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’. I’d say that it’s an incredibly accurate comparison. There’s even some elements of ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ and the recent Aubrey Plaza flick ‘The To Do List’ in there too because of things like classic teen movie tropes and the fourth wall breaking narrator. Fraction delivers a very entertaining story with witty dialogue and characters that you can really relate too since everyone has dealt with growing up and learning about sex.
Despite sex being a major part of the story, I’d say that things are tastefully presented. Don’t get me wrong, this definitely isn’t a book for kids, but it’s not hentai by any means. There isn’t any gratuitous nudity or anything like that scattered about on every page. Instead, you really get the type of very fun and witty material that you’ve come to expect from Matt Faction.
Not only does the writing stand out as excellent, the artwork from Chip Zdarsky is a great compliment to the words. I can’t really pinpoint why, but it almost reminds me of a colored version of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s ‘Scott Pilgrim’ series, except a bit more realistic, more mature, and in color. And speaking of color, I love the use of it in the time stopping sequences. When I first heard about the premise of this book, I wondered how they’d make it work, but with the use of colors, things translated very nicely. In fact, things work so vividly that I can even image how great it would look if this was ever adapted into a film since the colors give a pretty good representation of movement and the lack thereof from everyone but Jon and Suzie.
Finally, in regards to the character design of our leads, I wonder if the creators made their main characters look like real-life married couple Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick on purpose. That couldn’t be a coincidence. Because if they did do this on purpose (which apparently they didn’t according to Kelly Sue), then that is both hilarious and adorable.
‘Sex Criminals’ is definitely a departure from the usual comics that inhabit my pull list, but I’m glad that I took the chance and checked it out. I mean, it couldn’t have been a huge risk considering how good Fraction is, but still. I’m glad that this issue turned out as good as it is. This book just further proves that the writer is one of the best in the business right now. I might even go so far as to say that Matt Fraction is one of the best writers working in entertainment today. With that said, it’s a no brainer that I’ll be picking up issue three.
SEX CRIMINALS #2
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Chip Zdarsky & Becka Kinzie