Monday, January 22, 2018

Book-A-Day 2018 #22: Sex Criminals, Vol. 4 by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

I have a hard time telling if I'm supposed to take this seriously. I mean, the volume subtitle is "Fourgy," and there's a food truck, apparently a franchised operation, called "Wide Wiener," with a humorously double-entendre theme song. But it also has a melodramatic comic-book plot, and a more kitchen-sinkly dramatic human story.

So I suspect it's meant to be just barely serious enough, so that creators Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky can continue to make silly sex jokes to their hearts' content but that the whole thing doesn't descend into farce. And I guess that's OK with me: after all, this is the story of two young lovers who discover they can stop time when they orgasm.

(That is a sillier superpower than, say, Spider-Man's, but of more immediate use to most people's lives. And not all that much sillier, to be honest.)

So, here we are with the fourth collection of Sex Criminals, which is indeed subtitled Fourgy. We got here, in case you're unfamiliar and need to brush up, from the unnamed first volume and Two Worlds, One Cop and Three the Hard Way.

Sex Criminals is, at this point, already at least halfway to being a Marvel Max comic -- the sex is mostly tasteful and 90% hetero, with no on-panel insertions, and the cast is roughly half superheroes. Just classify orgasm-based metahuman abilities as a mutant power and Bamf! you're there. Oh, there aren't any big fight scenes yet, but just wait. Everything in mainstream comics eventually becomes about superheroes, no matter how hard it fights the pull.

Ostensibly, this is the story of Suzie and Jon's relationship -- which goes through some serious ups and downs this time out -- but we're really here because we want to see them finally have it out with Kegelface's Sex Cops. (Note: her name is not Kegelface and her guys are not actually sex cops.) Sadly, that doesn't actually happen here -- as I said above, the fight scene is still on the way. Given what Sex Criminals is about, it might be more of a fuck scene anyway.

This is goofy and it can be hard to take seriously, even when it wants you to. It's definitely fun, and it's a different take on wild talents, I'll say that much -- not quite as different as it could have been, but I already made the superhero/black-hole comparison. If you've avoided it so far, I can say that it's still weird and quirky, and that it is not trying to titillate you. And it is about Sex Criminals, and they are interesting people, with more characterization than usual for either a comic book about sex or one about strange powers.

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