By Donna Rock (@df_rock)
The new hot book as of late seems to be Sex Criminals. It’s a title that’s been on a lot of people’s tongues, and has been building hype for months before its release. Honestly, they had me sold with Fraction and the title alone, and then I read the brief synopsis and finally saw the cover… “Oh yeah, I’ll definitely be checking this one out,” I said to myself months ago. Well I’ve checked it out!
For those of you who don’t know anything about this series, at the 2nd issue mark it’s about a couple who happen to be criminals who also happen to stop time when they orgasm (together, or separately). Definitely a “mature” read, but I never found it smutty or overly sexualized. With all the hubub with Apple I was expecting something with writhing, sweaty, explicit sex. Something so scandalous I would be forced to say “Ah. Yes. I can see why Apple refused to carry it now.” But after reading these two issues all I can say is: It’s honest and it’s sex. Is it a bit awkward and cringe-worthy? Sure! Is it also kind of hilarious in a weird way? You bet! I don’t feel like it was exploitative and I personally never felt uncomfortable with anything in either of the first issues. I feel like it takes an honest look at sexuality and how it’s experienced – and it does it for both genders equally without judging, and then throws in some comedy for good measure.
So do I have any idea where this book is going? Not really! (Which is kind of exciting right?) But is it honest and funny and strange and a rather poignant reflection on sexuality (and the road to a criminal lifestyle if you can stop time via sex)? Yes! At issue #2 we see the two main characters – Suzie and Jon – grow into their relationship with each other – and a healthy dose of back-story. And while issue #1 focused on Suzie, explaining how she first discovers herself and her powers and then trying to make sense of this whole sex thing… Issue #2 focuses on Jon and deals with some of the same issues. He tells of his own exploration of his sexual powers and all the baggage that comes with it. There’s embarrassing porn stories and talk about discovering what sex and sexuality means in the context of his own life. BUT WAIT PLOT PROGRESSION! Although the exact details and circumstances as to how this pair got into a life of crime is nebulous at this exact point in the story, it IS already very clear that things will get complicated very soon for this pair… and I don’t mean the standard fare you’d think of when you imagine a bunch of criminals running from the law. It seems to be there’s a very funky bunch of characters we’re going to be learning more about in the next issue. Are they robots, aliens, supernatural entities?!
Fraction is great with banter and character dialog. I’m starting to really enjoy how he’s writing the narrative here too. I usually only experience his writing within Marvel, so I’m eager to experience what he’s like on independent subject matter. Not sure if I was feeling the art for this series at first (a purely personal opinion, I honestly can’t give you a concrete reason why, let’s just blame my gut) but it’s starting to grow on me in the second issue so it isn’t a turn-off! I like to give a series a few issues to really get a feel if it’s for me, I’m not one of those “you better blow me away in the first issue!” kinda folks, I’ll still pick up the next issue of this one. Is this series for me? I’m not blown away, knocked over the head, and seeing stars, but I’m definitely interested and once I get my hands on Issue #3 due out November 20th I’ll let you guys know!
How’s everyone else feeling on this series now that issue #2 is out? As a lady I have some opinions about this series that are pretty closely tied to my own gender, but I’m interested in hearing from the male perspective. So if you’re a guy, a gal, both, neither… How do you think this series is coming along?