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Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky – Sex Criminals, Volumes 1 & 2

July 3, 2015

17, 37. Volume 1: One Weird Trick and Volume 2: Two Worlds, One Cop by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky (2014, 2015)
Sex Criminals, Volumes 1 & 2

Length: 128 pages each
Genre: Somewhere in the science fiction/fantasy realm.

Started/Finished: 25 April 2015; 03 July 2015

Where did they come from? The library.
Why do I have them? Recommended by one of my comic-reader friends.

Time literally
stops when these two are having
sex. Literally.

Summary: When Suzie’s a teenager, she learns that she has a secret – orgasms make time stop. Literally. She nicknames this time-out-of-time The Quiet, and while she uses it to get away from her messed-up life as a teenager, as she gets older, it starts to feel more and more lonely. Until she meets Jon – a drunken party hookup that has the same secret as Suzie does. Realizing they’re no longer alone, they quickly fall in love… and then decide to use their sex superpower to rob a bank.

In Vol. 2 Suzie and Jon are scared enough by the Sex Police that they retreat from each other for a while – Suzie throws herself into trying to save her library and Jon – without the distraction of sex – has to face his mental health issues. But without the sex, what are they to each other? Can they actually build a relationship? And when they do connect sexually, there’s always the danger of the Sex Police waiting for them in the Quiet – until Jon decides to do something about that, and winds up finding out that there’s something going on that’s much bigger than just him and Suzie.

Review: Volume 1 is hilarious, and dark, and sweet, and, despite the name, it actually felt like it was much more about the relationship between Jon and Suzie than the sex. Also, while it’s clearly R rated, it’s not quite as dirty as I thought it would be. I mean, yes, there’s bits in a sex store, and yes, you see everybody’s bits a few times. But the book wasn’t ashamed by it – it treats sex as a natural part of life and of relationships – so what could have been prurient and dirty really was instead fun and sexy and occasionally awkward or uncomfortable or hilarious or boring – just like it is in real life.

Vol. 2 is darker, and more complex, and even though there’s plenty of sex stuff, it’s less about the sex than Volume 1 was, which is pretty well a mirror for the progress of Jon & Suzie’s relationship. Fraction gets Jon’s depression and Suzie’s stress and anxiety down cold, and how it feels to be coping with those and how it bleeds out into everything else in your life. However, there were times I felt a little bit lost as to how all of the pieces and flashbacks and side tangents actually connected. In general, I’m okay with my stories not spelling everything out, and expecting me to make inferences, etc. But I think there’s a point at which that tips over into a lack of clarity. I don’t think it’s intentional, at all – what it felt like was that to the creators, they know their stories and their characters so well that some connections seem obvious to them, so they wind up eliding over things that are less obvious, or even totally obscure, for readers who don’t have these characters in their heads 24/7. So it wound up occasionally feeling a little bit fragmented, like I couldn’t always trace the characters’ motivations or logic, or the relevance of certain parts of the story, or how exactly we got from A to B. But overall, I still really enjoyed it – it’s still a good blend of funny and dark and sexy and raw and human. 4.5 out of 5 stars for Vol. 1; 4 out of 5 stars for Vol. 2.

Recommendation: For adults, obviously. It’s a funny, honest look at sex and sexuality and relationships, which isn’t something that I’ve come across in comics – or really in most books in general – very often.

Vol. 1: This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon
Vol. 2: This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Sarah Reads Too Much, Smart Bitches Trashy Books, So Many Books, and more at the Book Blogs Search Engine.
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line, Vol. 1: “Um. Hello? We – Are you in there?”
First Line, Vol. 2: So we ran like hell and didn’t look back.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 3, 2015 7:46 pm

    I’ve read volume I and enjoyed it. I need to pick up Volume 2.

  2. July 5, 2015 8:26 pm

    I’ve got the lovely, fancy hardback edition that I believe contains both of the two trade paperback volumes. I’ve noticed that I have absolutely no idea where this story is going to go next. But I was glad when it started getting into Jon’s mental health issues — it really bothered me that he was pooping in his boss’s office plant, and I kept being anxious that the story was never going to address it. (WHAT KIND OF WEIRDO– was the beginning of several conversations I had about this with my brother-in-law, who also likes the comic.)

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