The Wax Conspiracy

Sex Criminals volume 1: One Weird Trick

Seeing a man use a dildo to backhand slap another man never really stops being funny. More so when the prop flops about, and the art captures that boing of taking a brunt of phallus to the face.

Between a woman doing kegels and a man ready to ejaculate, the facial expressions are solid and nail the comedy of awkward freeze frames. Lens flare and psychedelia are off the charts when Suzie and Jon enter the zone and colours the pages in a bed of surrealism, a spacey shift. The Quiet, that zone they enter when they hit climax and orgasm and freeze all time, ends up blinding things in a flat wash, and the whole room, the whole scene, definitely feels otherworldly.

The sense of magic exists outside that zone and shows up in the dank room of some party when Suzie and Jon meet for the first time. Weaving through other bodies, finding each other in the swath of noise and crisps. You can feel the sway, the dance, that casual knock as they say hi and head off to realise that they've discovered that they're not alone in the world.

different kind of glow and throbbing than what normally goes on between the sheets
Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky from Image Comics

It's intimate, personal, and the narrative carries this relationship as Suzie shows us (by way of constantly breaking that fourth wall) the universe they live in and the journey they've crossed to get wherever their here is now. It's her path we're following for the most part, and anything but a smooth ride to happy town. Or at least the semblance she thinks she has with Jon.

There's a page where the comic trips on the standard line of all porn stars having a background of sexual abuse. A worn commentary that stops the flow and puts things in a light of, perhaps, allowing us to question at what level of sexual confidence and agency do things start to become distasteful or crass or really hiding some agenda or backstory. A question left for another issue perhaps. Or maybe no question at all.

The leads are interesting to peel, and with the way they're drawn and how they think, come out as fleshed characters, with rounded dimensions and logical motivations. Jon's frustrations with work, and especially his boss, are obscene, but so ludicrously on the money in how he deals with it given this special power.

What's really on top of this though is the humour in exploiting and exploring their ability to shift time into a lock as they get up to mischief as they ask how far is too far. Getting high on drugs, stealing merchandise from a porno store, robbing banks. They're testing the limits of what they can do, and it's fun to watch as they stumble through it.

And then there's the Sex Police. A promising and, at a glance, disorganised band of regulators who try and head off Suzie and Jon from getting carried away with their crimes, while showing the pair that they are definitely not the only ones with this power.

Sex Criminals makes rubbing one out count for something, and definitely a good time to read.

Ethan Switch

Reviewed on Sunday, 6 July 2014

The Wax Conspiracy


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