• Sex Criminals Volume 3: The Hard Way

    Sex Criminals Volume 3: The Hard Way
    Released by: Image Comics
    Released on: June 15th, 2016.
    Written by: Matt Fraction
    Illustrated by: Chip Z’Darsky
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    This third collected edition of Fraction and Z’Darsky’s Sex Criminals reprints issues eleven through fifteen of the popular series published through Image Comics. A quick recap? Suzie and Jon stop time when they cum – they figured they were the only ones who could do this but they were wrong so when they tried to pull off some Robin Hood action after some particularly good sex, they got in trouble.

    This one starts off with ‘The Orderly’ – he’s a regular middle aged guy who takes care of his elderly mother. She needs his help and he’s happy to give it to her. It’s what he does for a living, helping the elderly. On this particular day, however, he’s reminded himself with post-it notes that it’s June 24th. When he remembers this he pulls off the highway on his way to work and stops at an Asian supermarket, heads inside and leaves with a box. From there? He heads to David Bowie’s Golden Years Retirement Home ‘where the elderly are our heroes’ to start his shift. After work he heads home, puts his mother to bed, undresses and opens up that box. He’s got some alone time now and gets to work…

    Or so we think. Cut to Jon and Suzie and Kincaid are sorting through files on a laptop, files that they swiped from Myrtle Spurge that contain information on others like them. Meanwhile, Myrtle is giving head to The Doctor. They finish up and he wants to know why her husband just messaged her and she wants to read his case files. At the same time, Robert Rainbow and Rachelle are figuring out where the physical side of their relationship should be. Or not.

    But back to Suzie and Jon and Kincaid. Our heroes get the boot from her office once they confess how they bankroll their exploits so they head off to Miami without her to start tracking down others like them. Starting with Douglas D. Douglas, the orderly.

    When the twelfth issue starts, Kincaid is in the lecture hall talking to her class about the definition of normal and how that ties into definitions of straight and how abnormal can tie into the definition of monstrous.

    Meanwhile, Jon and Suzie have entered into the ‘cum world’ of Douglas D. Douglas, an anime enthusiast with some unusual tastes and some unusual abilities – his ejaculatory fluid has turned into some sort of angel/fairy thing and it’s speaking to them in a strange language. If you’ve seen any hentai you’ll have a rough idea of where this one goes with one word and one word only – tentacles. Our heroes get the fuck out of Dodge as fast as they can.

    While this is going on, Myrtle and the doctor are digging around where they shouldn’t be digging around. They shoo their partners in crime away and they in turn head off to the car for more of the same. Everyone is screwing everyone, or so it seems. At home, Myrtle’s marriage would seem to be a little lacking. Doctor Dave is getting stalkery. Robert Rainbow and Rachelle are in bed and he has a dream that makes him question things. Kincaid’s lecture gets more intense, more specific… Suzie wonders why she doesn’t have the same sort of powers that some of the others who have this ability do.

    Then they discover a ‘dong forest’ and, yep, more tentacles. “I’m going to ejaculate sparkles into your heart.”

    When issue thirteen starts out with a scene where an office worker reassures the boss, a guy named Jim, that he’s got this. “Your boots are on his neck.”

    Turns out the person on the phone, the one who isn’t Jim, has a thing. This person disrobes and jumps off of the roof of a tall building, and then we flashback to that person’s past. Carl Sagan (or someone supposed to be Carl Sagan but who is never named this avoiding legal trouble) is on PBS making her think she’s from outer space, a feeling that never went away. She had a brother, Joe, who warns her to never be alone with their step-father, Bruce. She didn’t know why then, but she figured it out when she got older. In high school she dated, tried to pretend that sex ‘made sense’ to her and that she was just like everybody else. Of course, because it doesn’t make sense she assumes something is wrong with her.

    Joe’s ‘suicide’ cements this. She’s confused, fucked up, doesn’t get it… until one night Sagan comes out of the TV and makes love to her. Or does he? Her boyfriend Jason doesn’t seem to know what she wants when she agrees to go to the make-out party at Doug’s place with him, but she did it because it was expected, not because she wanted to fuck him. And then he tries to talk her into a blowjob (it’s here that Zdarsky’s art becomes so cinematic that it hurts more than blue balls!). Maybe her brother had the right idea. So she tries it, and it’s orgasmic, or close enough to orgasmic that it would seem she has a certain ability. She tried sex but it was too much like sweaty wrestling. This is how Alix gets off… jumping off of buildings and bridges and things that should kill her if she landed the way you or I would land.

    And then Alix, when walking down the street minding her own business one day, sees that nasty ‘Cum Angel’ just sort of hovering about…

    Oh, and Jon and Susie get some coffee.

    Susie walks down the street and interrupts a man as he’s sifting through some papers on top of a newspaper box. She’s not sure what he’s up to so she asks. Turns out he’s slipping ‘neighborhood notes’ into the newspapers, little inserts that he writes himself. As it turns out, those notes are…. explicit. Susie maces him.

    Meanwhile, in an office, a man talks to Myrtle about stealing, or more specifically the difficulties of stealing something that doesn’t exist. Myrtle goes to see a certain doctor, telling him she needs his help.

    Jon walks in on Susie cursing at a piece of wood. She’s trying to build something pre-cut but in need of assembly but doesn’t know how to use tools. Jon helps her out and she gets aroused as she watches this manly display of know-how. Jon heads off to work where he’s assisting his favorite former porno star Ana Kincaid while Susie heads off to her new job where, bored, she starts thinking about the explicit ‘neighborhood note,’ Jon working with tools and, well, she decides to send Jon an upskirt photo on her phone. The phone buzzes and buzzes on Jon’s end but he’s out of the room and she sees the picture and a text message from Suzie saying that if Jon doesn’t hurry up and get over here that she’ll take care of things herself.

    When Susie heads to the bathroom to do just that, Kincaid heads to the bathroom to follow suit. When Susie comes and winds up in her special place, Ana is there and she wants to talk. And then we cut to Fraction and Zdarksy (the later now rolling in Jughead money and supporting a coke habit) trying to figure out the best way to make this scene work.

    “Why not go meta? We’ve done meta before.”

    Oh, and Myrtle fucks the doctor to get what she wants and Susie and Rachel talk about relationships that brings her to a conclusion she didn’t necessarily want to come to.

    The ending of this storyline isn’t nearly as over the top as the first parts were but that’s not a bad thing because the storyline is still hysterical, the characters are still beautifully written and the events that take place in this issue, as low key as they might be comparatively speaking, are important. This is one of those issues where Fraction’s writing takes its time to continue building the characters into interesting people rather than putting them into insane and ‘dirty’ situations. It works, it’s needed, and it makes for an interesting read if not necessarily the most exciting thing to write about.

    But it’s Sex Criminals, and like ever issue before it this fourteenth installment in the series leaves you wanting more. Zdarsky’s art is still appropriately weird, cartoonish in a good way and capable of bringing Fraction’s clever writing to life – it gives you want you want. It’s a horrible jumping on point for new readers but those who have been reading the series will find much to appreciate and, with the ending happening the way that it happens, even more to look forward to.