By Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
Rejoice! Sex Criminals is back at last after a far too long eight-month hiatus. We now get to visit again every month with the curse words, vivid imagery, raunchy dialogue, and engaging plot that has held our attention as Jon and Suzy try to find a way to get the best of the Sex Police. In this issue we get to learn more about Alix and Dewey, fellow time stopping after orgasm compatriots, and understand that what’s going on between Suzy, Jon, and Kegelface reaches far beyond what any of them thought. This issue also takes a serious dive into the relationship between Jon and Suzy, showing a more vulnerable side to them both amidst the chaos. This return issue certainly works toward a climatic finish, unleashing big load onto the readers that will surely leave us asking for more. (Sorry for the sex puns).
Fraction and Zdarsky work in tandem to deliver a smart, witty, yet irreverent look into modern relationships, love, lust, greed, and mental health. If you are a brimper, you will find that it is hard to explain this series to a person who has not read an issue. The concept sounds ridiculous, but it somehow works because of the love that is put in from both creators. Fraction develops multifaceted characters in ridiculous scenarios and Zdarsky crafts humor and complexity into every page.
Sex Criminals #16 dives into the situation at hand, and attempts to explain what is motivating Jon and Suzy to keep going up against Kegelface. This 40-page issue takes a more intimate dive into the relationship between Jon and Suzy as they attempt to figure out what is driving them – what they want as a couple and how to define their relationship. Fraction continues to turn a book about a couple who can essentially stop time when they orgasm into a contemporary look into relationships and the strain they face from social media, greed, mental health issues, and lust. It is amazing how these complex issues can manifest in a seemingly mindless comic. The main concern of this issue is Jon and Suzy needing to get on the same page about what they want, and what the end game is in going up against a super badass like Kegelface. In this issue, Fraction really shows how, when trying to communicate, sex can sometimes be used as a barrier or used as motivation or used as a reward for intimate intellectual connections. As Jon tries to keep Suzy at arm’s length, she continually pulls him closer by connecting with him in non-threatening ways that strengthen their bond.
Leave it to Zdarsky to never grow bored drawing whimsical sex scenes that help narrate a story while also entertain the reader. The book effortlessly flows from beginning to end thanks to the continued efforts from both the writing of Fraction and the gorgeous art of Zdarsky. Some standouts from this issue include a diorama inspired panel depicting all the places Suzy and Jon got it on throughout their apartment, complete with erotic imagery and pink tracks marks to illustrate their progression. There are also little fun things thrown into every issue that make it just that much more special to the readers. Jon’s coffee mug has “Boner Juice” written on it and hilarious sexual innuendos written into storefronts and banners hanging throughout the town. The character design and art style is consistent issue to issue, really allowing the art to speak whenever a new style or color is introduced. Zdarsky uses thick lines, and a lot of intense colors so when that style is deviated, you know it is to introduce something important or different.
After sixteen issues, Sex Criminals is still a rock solid book that delivers satisfaction and introduces complex topics through pages riddled with nudity and curse words. You can always rely on Sex Criminals to be a good read to take your mind off of the dreary dark news of the real world. It takes you to a place where people can stop time when they have sex and relationships can be built around robbing banks and rebuilding libraries. If this is a series you follow, there is now doubt you have been eagerly awaiting the release of the sixteenth issue, but if you are on the fence about picking it up: do it. Some might find this book offensive, but beneath the potty humor and sexual themes, there is a genuine story about how to navigate falling in love in extraordinary circumstances. Now that is something everyone can relate to.