Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s Sex Criminals has finally come out with its second volume, aptly titled Two Worlds, One Cop, and it’s as perfect as the last one.
Sex Criminals even won the Eisner Award for best new series, and a contract with Universal for a television show has been confirmed. All for good reason, too.
At the end of volume one it really looked like Sex Criminals was going to move away from the intelligent tone it had established. But it never once crossed my mind that the series would become less hilarious and instead move toward the out-there ridiculousness that the presence of the Sex Police kind of necessitates.
The dramatic arrival of Kegel-face and her two cronies, all in skintight suits with crotches well-displayed, doesn’t immediately imply intelligence, but Fraction manages to keep the balance.
In the last volume, Suzie’s childhood got the focus, going into detail about the sex education she received, which ended up being two things: non-existent and total crap.
Her dad dies, and she finds out that when she orgasms time stops, all of which makes for pretty awful pillow talk. Then she meets Jon, who also stops time when he orgasms. For the first time in her life, she can share the afterglow.
Then Jon has a great idea: Suzie can’t get the money necessary to save her library, so why not have sex in the bank’s bathroom and then steal what money they need?
He might be the first person Suzie’s ever met with the same weird sex-thing she has, but he’s obviously not the best influence. Not to over-generalize, but anyone who suggests bank robbing should be seriously side-eyed.
Also, it catches the attention of the Sex Police, which is where the second volume picks up.
At this point, Jon is off his meds. He has ADHD with attendant comorbid disorders like oppositional defiance disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, or as he calls it: brain stuff.
None of these are helped by a magical sex-oriented mysterious group following him around and threatening him with vague, hidden messages. Inevitably, he gets shingles, caused by stress, which immediately gets diagnosed by WebMD as cancer, but it also might be AIDS.
While taking a crap in his boss’s potted plant, everything just sort of implodes and he calls Suzie in an exhausted panic. Though she isn’t doing any better on her own pills: a birth control that turns her into a “boiled, bloated, dried-up, barren-wombed, desert hag with weird, rock-hard tits.”
Sex Criminals is just a really intelligent series even after 10 issues; it explores serious problems like the absence of good sexual education in America, the complicated relationships people can have with each other and medication, as well as how those relationships influence each other.
While on his meds, Jon is in sepia and smooth as a Ken doll, fading in and out of transparency. He’s not necessarily any happier when he’s riddled with shingles and seeing spies in the corner of his eye.
Part brain chemistry, part unresolved issues, there’s no quick fix to learn how to deal with these issues. In the first issue he tries to pretend like pooping in his boss’s plant is all he needs to calm his brain, and it’s in volume two that he realizes he’s full of crap.
Volume two also includes the backstory of Jon’s favorite pornstar, Ms. Jazmine St. Cocaine. She’s a tenured professor now, who studies and teaches horology.
As a young person she didn’t have the money for college and ended up stripping, which led to The Wicked + The Divine-themed porn called The Lick-ed and the Divine.
And that’s one of the best things about Sex Criminals: every little thing is some kind of sex pun. Make sure to read all of the signs, posters and book titles as they appear in the background.
Check out the Vanguard’s review of Sex Criminals: Volume One here: bit.ly/1EclNsN