Summary: The second storyline from the Eisner-award winning SEX CRIMINALS finds the honeymoon to be over for Jon and Suzie. Once the thrill of new lust fades, where do you go? Come along and laff and love with Matt and Chip as they brimp back ceaselessly against the past. Collects SEX CRIMINALS # 6-10.
Sex Criminals, vol. 2, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky 7.5
Volume two of ‘Sex Criminals’, which compiles issues 6 through 10, takes up where the last volume left off, but it begins to change things up. For starters, it’s narrated by Jon instead of Suzie this time. Secondly, it’s far less about sex, and more about relationships. Grown up relationships. And the complications thereof.
You see, though Jon and Suzie (barely) escaped the Sex Police, they’re still out there – and they’re closing in on them. In fact, their leader, Myrtle Spurge, is basically stalking Jon at his work. Plus he’s crossed paths with another one. So he’s become paranoid, and not being on his meds only made things worse. Way worse.
So he had to go back on his meds.
Had to. But now the meds have not only taken the edge off completely, they’ve taken away all of his highs and lows, so he’s not enjoying anything – including his relationship with Suzie. Including sex. Including sex. Not that it matters, because she’s so busy trying to save her library that she doesn’t even have time to notice this.
They’ve both stopped having sex.
And without sex, they can’t go into “The Quiet”.
But Jon takes it upon himself to use it anyway to get back at Spurge, breaking into her place to try to stop her from closing in on them. Meanwhile, Suzie decides to fix her broken relationship with Rachel whom she left behind to live with Jon – and to spare her the issues revolving around their bank robberies in “The Quiet”.
Then she meets another guy, a doctor named Robert Rainbow… during her obstetrics exam. Since her relationship with Jon doesn’t feel that committed, she considers a coffee date with Robert – which would have gone perfectly well, if not for the fact that Jon coincidentally popped by and happened to know Robert from way back.
That initial encounter between Suzie and Robert was excellent if only because Rainbow went through all the forms of contraception that he felt may be of use to Suzie, instead of the pill, which was making her feel unwell. I liked the engaging way in which Fraction and Zdarsky sent their message to their audience about safer sex.
They aren’t entirely immature, after all.
In fact, I felt that the way they navigated relationships was rather mature actually, and I really liked how they explored Jon’s inner life even more here. As with the first volume, Fraction has a very good understanding of his creations, and of human nature in general – so the characters felt real to me. As much as they could.
The direction the book took, however, with Jon finding a list of others like themselves, seemed a bit contrived to me, though – it all started with finding a tracking device that allows the Sex Police to find anyone in “The Quiet”. It wasn’t clear to me what it was doing there, or why the Sex Police would even have left it behind like that.
It also lead to Jon discovering that his favourite porn star, Jazmine St. Cocaine, is on the list, and he decides that they should round up as many people as possible to fight back against the Sex Police. Hmmm. Not sure. Still, at least it led to a really superb exploration of St. Cocaine’s personal history, as told in her own words.
I just wish that the book had ended differently, convoluted as it was, because I just couldn’t buy it at all, leaving me uncertain about what the future holds for the series. But I’ll certainly give it a gander – after all, at its best, ‘Sex Criminals’ is a pretty intelligent and insightful look at a very unique type of relationship.