Summary: As seen on LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS! The Eisner- and Harvey-award winning raucous sex comedy that Time magazine called the Comic of the Year and Apple called “inappropriate for sale on iOS devices” returns in SEX CRIMINALS V3: THREE THE HARD WAY. So it turns out Jon and Suzie aren’t alone — other people around the world, like them, freeze time when they climax. A self-appointed group wants to regulate and control them through fear and intimidation. Jon and Suzie are falling in love and want their freak flags to fly, but if they’re going to fight back they can’t do it alone. And really, isn’t that a metaphor for the whole series? That we might all be alone but we’re all alone together? I think so. If you read only one comic with a semen-demon in it this year, please make it SEX CRIMINALS V3: THREE THE HARD WAY. Collecting issues #11-15.
Sex Criminals, vol. 3, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky 7.5
Clearly Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky have no idea where to take Jon and Suzy beyond its original premise. Though they were initially robbing banks to try to save her library, and getting caught in the crosshairs of the Sex Police, it’s a wacky premise that can only go so far – so they began to develop the relationship, giving the couple some hurdles to trip them up. Then they added new feature characters.
Now Jon and Suzy are barely the focus of their own comic book.
In volume 3, which collects issues 11 through 15, now follows Douglas, an orderly, Alix, a rich business woman, Robert, the gynecologist from Volume 2, Rachelle, Suzy’s friend his partner, Dr. Glass from Volume 2 and Myrtle, the Sex Police from Volume 1. It’s becoming a pretty damned crowded book, to such an extent that neither actually narrate the book anymore, with a few very minor exceptions.
I guess the more characters, the more freaky business Fraction and Zadrsky can explore. Because, ultimately, that seems to be their biggest concern: In what other ways does this sex power manifest itself? Or what is it like being asexual yet having this power? It’s certainly interesting stuff, but when whole issues are devoted to a new character, and Jon and Suze make contrived cameos, it gives pause.
But it doesn’t make the book less readable: the authors find entertaining ways to get through text-heavy moments – like Suzy and Dr. Kincaide’s confrontation, by going meta and actually showing Fraction and Zadrsky discussing how they’ll get through the scene. And it remains a very funny book, though they sometimes take shortcuts by telling us to imagine scenes instead of actually rendering them for us.
If anything, I can’t help but to start wondering if they’re running on fumes, merely looking for excuses to show more and more sex, with nightmares or fantasy sequences, such as when Robert dreams that Rachelle is having an orgy. It’s as though they’ve set themselves the challenge of seeing how much dick they can wedge into their book before they get censored. And, trust me, there’s a lot of cock.
This book is a sausage sandwich.
And, really, was it necessary for Myrtle Spurge to cheat with Dr. Glass to get the information that she wanted? No. She could easily have masturbated, like everyone else does. Just a little gratuitous sex for ya, kids. Same thing goes for the first person perspective on giving a blowjob, for that matter. And Jon and Suzy fighting a semen anime fairy with tentacles? Just a little gratuitous thrills for ya, kids.
Yes, semen anime fairy with tentacles.
At least they continue to balance out their juvenile side with a mature look at sexuality: Dr. Ana Kincaide, the porn-star-turned-sex-therapist, offers a mature treatise on sexuality, orientation, choice and morality during one of her seminars – which is used as a connecting thread. Because, yes, we also follow her too. But at least her lecture helps to ground the rest of the material to some degree.
Still, at this point, it’s a wonder where the hell this series is going: Suzy doesn’t want to rob banks anymore and isn’t even interested in finding others like them. As the back of the book ironically says “you wouldn’t like us without a premise”. So what’s in store for our sex criminals now? Will they get phased out of their own book completely? Or will the authors find a way to give them meaning again?
The biggest question, though, is: Do I really care?
I like quirky, but I like depth and purpose too.