Posted September 30, 2013 by Nicolo Parungo in Comics

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Sex Criminals # 1

Company: Image Comics
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Chip Zdarsky

Suzie Down in the Quiet

In this day and age where the words “mature themes” in a comic implies unnecessary sex, drugs, boobs and gore simply for the sake of shock value it’s nice to see a comic that handles these themes in an actual mature fashion. Don’t be fooled by the cover or the first two pages, Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky isn’t an immature exploitation of sex and violence; it’s a quirky, funny book about growing up that just happens to have a lot of sex in it.

The whole issue has our main character Suzie narrate the story to us, but instead of using the narration as thoughts like most comics do Fraction actually has Suzie break the fourth wall and talk directly to us and it’s an inspired move. The self-aware nature of the narration helps make the comic a funny and deeply personal experience, even Suzie is aware that exposition can be boring (at one point she goes I swear the sex and jokes are coming!) but necessary since it’s vital for us getting to know her and her exploits. Her journey here from her father’s death driving a wedge between her and her mom to meeting her boyfriend and future partner in crime Jon is made better with the narration.

sex positions

Real sex talk?

The hook of the story – time stopping orgasms – is a nice analogy of one’s experience of their first personal explosion – for the lack of a better word – and how it leads one person curious about sex. It felt so amazing that…that I was terrified. I was confused and terrified. How could anything feel so good? Suzie wonders. This leads to her asking everyone for advice, from the “Bad Girls” of school to a doctor and eventually her mother. Suzie’s narration again makes everything more personal making the awkward sex talk funny, but having talks with her mom become heart-breaking. Fraction handles the emotional beats of the comic with class and truly makes us care for Suzie.

Of course Fraction’s words would mean nothing without Chip Zdarsky drawing the hell out of this comic. His style has a young adult look to it similar to Scott Pilgrim or Archie and he helps sell the story as much as his collaborator, everything from Suzie’s awkward facial expressions to Rach (one of the Bad Girls) drawing sex positions in a bathroom is a joy to look and laugh at. Zdarsky can also handle the sadder moments with Suzie’s mom once again helping emphasize the needed emotion in display.

If I have any complaints it’s that we don’t get to see any of their criminal exploits in this issue, but that’s a small price to pay. Sex Criminals is a great comic for the young adult crowd and shows off Matt Fraction’s versatility as a writer along with a possible new superstar artist in Chip Zdarsky.

9/10 If you’re orgasms can stop time you better use it to get to a comic store and get this before it sells out.

Oh wait….

As if second printings weren’t bad enough….

Get your copy of Sex Criminals #1 from Comic Odyssey now!


Nicolo Parungo