It’s time again to check in with Jon and Suzie, the most compelling couple in comics, the dynamic duo of deviant thoughts and sexcapades. By this point, we know their personalities well, but still learning new facets of their backstory that fill us in further as to what shaped them into the insecure, screwed up adults they are today. It’s a safe bet that anyone who discovers they can literally stop time with an orgasm is going to end up with issues, but they’re not too far off from your average young couple. Other than the whole time freezing climax thing, this comic and these characters are very much grounded in reality. It’s almost eerie how relatable it is sometimes. Not many readers are going to be able to put themselves in the headspace of a caped vigilante, as entertaining as that is, but here Jon and Suzie embody our deepest desires, shame, regrets, and fears. And yet, it’s still entertaining as hell.
Our power couple barely spend any screentime together this issue except for a brief encounter where their storylines intersect. They’re still dealing with the knowledge that their activities are being monitored by the Sex Police and feeling pretty low about their personal lives. While Suzie tries to combat this by confiding in her best friend about their little secret, Jon once again abuses his ability, this time by breaking into a private residence and doing a little investigating. What he discovers peels back another layer of the onion and sets up more danger to follow.
In the debut issue, Suzie’s backstory was the focal point and we got a real sense of what makes her tick. Here, it’s Jon’s turn to take a trip down memory lane and unveil some of his least proud moments buried deep down. This fly-on-the-wall retrospect not only works because it fills in character-defining gaps in Jon’s history, but it humanizes him in a way you may not want to admit is relatable but it’s so brutally honest it hurts. It also exemplifies how first impressions only provide us with a small window into a person’s life as when we were first introduced to Jon through Suzie’s lens, he seemed so suave and self-confident that he must have been born that way. But of course that could not be further from the truth, and the more we learn about Jon, it’s funny to think we ever saw him in that light.
In addition to the beautifully written character moments, we’re treated to more obligatory dick jokes and a sex dungeon complete with a Game of Thrones inspired dildo throne. Is there anything these guys can’t turn into a sex joke? I sure hope not. I find myself grinning with delight more so with this comic than with any other, as these guys continue to demonstrate they know exactly what they’re doing to give fans their money’s worth. Where else can you find a battle that utilizes a double-sided dildo staff. You can’t make this stuff up. Unless you’re Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky.
Does any creative team in comics know their audience better than these two? Nine printed pages of fan mail says to me, no, probably not. Fraction and Zdarsky have not only created one of the best comics, now or ever, but also a safe place for fans to share their deepest, most personal secrets about love, life and sex (obviously). It’s like a late night AOL chat room but with more comicbook references. And no offense to Fraction, but is it possible the best writer on the team is the artist? Chip Zdarsky is so SO hilarious and can also be poignant at the same time. Seriously, his responses to fans in the letters column are better written than most other comics.
Is Sex Criminals worth your time and money? The answer is unequivocally without a doubt YES. If you’re trade waiting, don’t. This series needs to be experienced now, as it’s happening, to be discussed with fellow readers, month after month. As far as I’m concerned, the human race is divided into two camps. Those who are fans of Sex Criminals, and those who haven’t read it yet.