As “Sex Criminals” #7 continues the second volume of Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s bizarre series, it’s nice to see that they aren’t messing with success. The book continues to serve a mixture of sex-based adventure, relationship moments, and flashbacks that build up our characters.
The heart of “Sex Criminals” #7 falls into the latter two groupings mentioned; specifically, the reuniting of Suzie and Rach, and learning more about Jon’s past when he worked on the high school yearbook. What’s great about the former is how well Fraction captures that moment where a friendship that was on shaky ground is suddenly restored. Sometimes it’s not a long, drawn-out process, it just happens, and it feels true to life, as Rach tells Suzie about a sheet-shaking queef and then suddenly it’s all smoothed over.
Conversely, Jon’s story about working on the yearbook is the sort of emotional gut punch that “Sex Criminals” has taught us to work for. The mixture of unrequited lust, hiding in the frozen time land of Cumworld, even the way in which Jon’s photos should have catapulted him to stardom but instead made him a miserable failure… wow. It really makes you feel for poor Jon, even as you learn a little more about what makes him tick and how all of this has created one of our protagonists into the form that we’ve seen.
The bigger storyline of the Sex Police continues apace, though, and Jon’s discovery of Kegel Face’s home and secret sex dungeon is both tense and hysterical. Having an Iron Throne from “Game of Thrones” built out of dildos is a wonderfully bizarre and yet fitting moment, and Zdarsky somehow makes it feel normal and worthy of a second take all at once. But then again, that’s not too surprising; Zdarsky’s art is great in part because it’s able to shift from every-day-person (with soft lines and humanistic character designs) to over-the-top did-you-see-that craziness. The duel between Jon and the Sex Police in the dungeon is great, with Zdarsky focusing on the weapons that include the dildo double-headed-light-saber, or the paddle with hearts cut out of its head. Even better is the little moments, though, like how on the final page Jon is drawn tiny on that top panel, with the silhouettes of Rach and Suzie between him and us. That physical distance and the smaller size makes him feel small (not physically, but emotionally) as he trails off, something that continues at the bottom of the page with the long shot of the room and the three of them the size of dots. It’s using the comic page to help bring the emotion of the moment to life, and I wish more creators paid attention to this sort of storytelling.
“Sex Criminals” #7 is another big success, and it’s a pleasure to have a book this inventive and funny out on a regular basis. For a book that has a big crazy high concept, it’s the characterization and the strong art that brings me back for more with each new installment. If you’re not reading the comic, this is a good a place as any to fix that.