• Sex Criminals #21



    Sex Criminals #21
    Released by: Image Comics
    Released on: January 24th, 2018.
    Written by: Matt Fraction
    Illustrated by: Chip Zdarsky
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    Six months after his breakup with Suzie, Jon spends a lot of time in Cum World. He realizes the irony of this but he tells himself he’s fine with it. Really, he’s working in a sex shop and sharing an apartment with a lesbian named Polly. Everything is fine. He keeps telling himself this.

    Meanwhile, a guy named Dewey works as a banker. He’s undercover. After he sees Myrtle Spurge manually deposit her check for the third time he meets with Jon and the others at a diner to tell them about it. Why doesn’t she use direct deposit like everyone else? We see her go shopping, run into Dr. Kincaid and his new pal Ana Kincaid. It’s a little awkward but Myrtle likes the fact that she’s still in his head a little bit.

    Pol reminds Jon that they’re going to a fancy dress party. He thinks it’s a costume party so when he arrives and sees Pol in a black cocktail dress, he feels pretty stupid having shown up dressed like Freddy Mercury. At least when he gets there he sees one other person, ironically, the same costume – it’s Suzie, now going by Suzanne. She’s there with her new boyfriend, Geoff Queen, who just so happens to work with Polly. In fact, he’s her boss.

    We flashback to some of Suzanne’s time with Geoff – he’s not good in bed, he’s not that exciting… he’s not Jon. He knows a lot about art and wants everyone to know that, rambling on about things that clearly bore Suzie. But if he isn’t ‘the one’ he is at least mature and responsible. She winds up moving back in with her mom who has essentially built a ‘museum to the way things used to be’ since her father passed away. She’s also really into her vagina and is getting more action than Suzy. She tells herself everything is fine.

    The first issue to take place in a post Jon/Suzie breakup world is an interesting one. We’re basically playing catch up here, learning what Jon’s been up to, what Suzie has been up to, and how they’re clearly unhappy without each other even if they have both moved on in their own way. There’s a lot of good humor here – a trademark of the series from the start – and some of the zanier sexual elements are back, though not on the level of some of the more absurd issues. But like that issue that came before this one, there’s still a focus on the heavier, more dramatic side of the story. Fraction did such a damn good job of getting us to care about Jon and Suzie that, now that they’re no longer an item, we care about them. The sadness that was such a big part of issue #20 is still here, albeit on a smaller scale than that fairly devastating issue. But it works. It’s the right mix of humor, drama and yes, even romance. The human element has always been what made Sex Criminals worth reading and what gave the series its staying power. That hasn’t changed.

    Zdarksy’s art is as good here as it’s ever been, maybe even a little better. We don’t get the swirling, psychedelic full page perversions that some issues have had but we get more ‘little things’ and in a way, that’s more impressive. The look on Jon and Suzie’s faces when they see each other at the party, Suzie’s expression when she’s alone watching a geriatric cat clean itself, the recreated memories in Suzie’s mother’s house – little things like that add a lot and complement the writing perfectly.

    Oh, and once again, always read the letter column.




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