Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Previous story: Film Now Playing
Next story: News of the Weird

Sex Criminals, Vol. 1: One Weird Trick


Matt Fraction (Author) and Chip Zdarsky (Illustrator), Image Comics (Publisher)

NOTICE: This graphic novel is for any reader who is of legal age. It is not a “dirty little book,” though it deals with mature themes, not suited for those under age 18 years of age.

With such an incendiary title, readers might not be expecting the relatively tender story that unfolds in this book’s colorful pages. Suzie and Jon both have a unique ability; time freezes after reaching release during sex. For a long time, both believe that they are the only one capable of achieving such a feat. When they “join forces,” so to speak, they realize that they can become a sex-powered Robin Hood, robbing the bank that Jon works for in order to gain funds to save Suzie’s failing library. That’s the “criminals” side to the story, but the “sex” one is infinitely more interesting, beginning with Suzie’s recount of the discovery of her particular talent via a bathtub faucet. But as is so often the case when young women discover their sexuality, Suzie has no frame of reference for what is happening to her, and no one to talk to about it. She tries to find answers but is always left frustrated by the information (or lack of it) that she receives. Suzie privately records each event until she has some idea of the causation and duration of her power. On the other hand, when Jon discovers his powers, he almost immediately goes to a sex shop and uses pornography to discover what he likes. And so while neither discloses to anyone else the exact nature of their abilities, their disparate and fumbling paths to discovery mirror that of many adolescents. Honestly, one wonders if a lack of frank discussions about adolescent sexuality keeps a great number of young people from discovering their own “superpowers.” Suzie quickly became one of my favorite female narrators; her astute observations about the isolating nature of sex and development combine wonderfully with sweetly candid recounts of her encounters. Her authentic narration provides a welcome respite from the silence that women may encounter when attempting to gain understanding about their sexuality. The hat trick of Sex Criminals occurs when Jon and Suzie meet; the reader is struck by the seemingly impossible nature of love—not just that two people with unique abilities can discover each other and “click,” but that the same is essentially expected of normal people as well. And as prevalent as sex might be in our culture, it’s a lonely business until you find the person you can slow time with. Sex Criminals shows that it might take time and experimentation for even the most perfectly matched sexual superheroes to discover each other.

blog comments powered by Disqus