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Big Hard Sex Criminals Vol. 1

    Ian Jane

  • Big Hard Sex Criminals Vol. 1

    Big Hard Sex Criminals Vol. 1
    Released by: Image Comics
    Released on: March 25th, 2015.
    Written by: Matt Fraction
    Illustrated by: Chip Zdarsky
    Purchase From Amazon

    For those not yet in the know, Sex Criminals, the Image Comics series from writer Matt Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky, picks is… great. And now it's collected, or at least the first ten issues are. But if you're not caught up, you'll need some background info. The story follows a girl named Suzie who lost her dad at a young age and saw her mom fall into a bottle. She grew up confused and without any real role models and the first time she masturbated she went into 'the quiet' after she climaxed - it was if time froze around her for a while. She figured she was the only one this happened to and it certainly seemed that way until she reached adult hood and met a guy named Jon at a party. They hit it off, then they fuck, and when she goes 'into the quiet' afterwards, he's there.

    She gets to know his background, how he came to be able to do this too through a porno shop called Cumworld that he obsessed over as a kid and still frequents as an adult. We learn how she wants to save a library that the bank he works at is going to foreclose on. As their relationship develops, they figure they can use this collective ability that they have to freeze time and they set out to rob the bank and save the library. It's a noble ambition, right? Right. Banks are generally horrible and out to screw over everyone they can while libraries are there to help better the community. When issue #4 ended, there were some others in 'the quiet' with them, and these others are basically cops that police this post orgasm time slip and when issue #5 beings, our heroes have been caught.

    While Suzie slips out of the bondage cuffs they used to bind her, we see through flashbacks how the two of them were being watched during the planning phase of their operation. We also learn why John likes to take dumps in the potter plant in his boss' office and we also learn about John's history with medication and how and why they got caught the way that they did. John and Suzie are 'not the only ones.' Meanwhile, Suzie's roommate Rachel starts to realize the pair is up to something and she makes a phone call and…. you already know too much.

    While all of this self imposed insanity reigns down on Suzie and John, their relationship develops and there's a genuine sweetness to that side of the story. At this point the two are more than just fuck buddies, they are obviously starting to really care for one another and because of that, the high jinks that follow and their respective consequences have more impact. Suzie narrates much of this, we see a lot more through her perspective than anyone else's and Matt Fraction (who wrote tons of far more mainstream material than this for Marvel that I never bothered to read) writes her with such a strong and interesting personality that we can't help but get behind her. At the same time, John's background is just as interesting and his sense of humor makes him a really likeable character. This is a mature readers titles so expect liberal doses of sex, plenty of creative profanity and dirty puns in the dialogue and generally just a refreshingly fun aura of kinkiness to all of this but at the same time it never feels dirty just for the sake of being dirty, it all works in the context of the story and the universe in which that story plays out. Through in some really solid artwork from Zdarsky (complete with a lot of digital effects that actually work quite well in bringing us into 'the quiet' with the characters) that fleshes out the character nicely and it's easy to see why this book has been getting as much critical acclaim as it has.

    As the series continues, Suzie's narration explains how they decided to 'run like Hell and stopped having sex and robbing banks' but soon stopped worrying about the Sex Police. When Suzie heads off to a fundraiser to raise the rest of the cash they need to save the library, however, Jon, looking unusually grey in color, drops his pants to reveal that his dong is long gone, telling us that he doesn't even care. Wait a minute…. What?

    Flashbacks show us how they split for their pad and screwed, as they often do, only for Jon to hear a 'bloop' noise in the middle of the good stuff. Turns out they were being tracked, they've recovered a device that 'bloops' when someone cums. And they tend to cum a lot, or at least they used to. Is the spark between our two heroes starting to fade? When Jon comes face to face with one of the 'officers' at the bank he stops eating, stops sleeping and becomes increasingly paranoid that he's being followed constantly. His stress gets so bad he gets shingles but his paranoia convinces him he has cancer and AIDS.

    So Suzie tries to help, as anyone who cared about someone else would probably do in her situation. The old Jon is still there, he's into yoga pants and appreciative of the extent that the Ass Illuminati has gone to in order to mainstream them, but he's far from 100%. He goes back on his meds and she throws herself into her work but when the bank says 'nope' and moves to foreclose, Jon realizes that there are a lot more players here than he first thought.

    Suzie isn't happy with the way her body looks lately, staring into the mirror and 'looking like a boiled Hulk' and blaming it on her new birth control pills. Side effects. They happen. She's having a bad day and after dropping her muffin on the sidewalk and taking a bite out of it anyway, she runs into her friend Rachel. They hit a coffee shop and have a heart to heart, and after Suzie apologizes for things, she decides to open up and tell Rachel about 'The Quiet.' Rachel treats it as a bit of a joke and mentions that she queefed one time so powerfully that the sheets moved. Cut to John's apartment, the two girls head back there and after some more small Rachel says to her 'prove it.' One panel later, she's got dicks drawn on her face in black marker. Suzie masturbated in the tub and time stopped, Rachel is now a believer. Shortly after, Jon shows up and admits that he 'fucked up.'

    From here, we witness through the magic of a comic book flashback Jon's early high school years. He had a pretty big crush on leggy, blonde Jennibeth Monroe but was too meek and nerdy to do anything about it so he'd just think of her while jerking off in the school's dark room. One time when he does just that, time stops as it always does, and he goes in for a closer look at her. Just a look. He takes pictures of her and everything else for that matter but shoots so compulsively that he doesn't ever develop the film in time and, maybe because of the way things work in 'Cum World' none of his pictures ever actually turn out. And those pictures were meant for the yearbook. What Jon took away from this was that he could get away with everything. And so he decides to do just that when he finds out where Myrtle Spurge, she of the Sex Police, lives. Yep, Jon fucked up alright. Holy. Fucking. Dildos.

    From there we get a flashback sequence in which we see meet a woman named Rae Anne and learn about her past - how she got hurt and wound up in an ambulance, how she slept with a guy named Jerry as a teenager and word got around. How she became an 'easy girl' which in turn led to her becoming a popular girl, which in turn led to her developing a bit of a problem in terms of how much and how hard she partied. We then learn how her dreams were crushed when her dad couldn't afford to send her to state, even with financial aid. So she went to junior college for two years and how the lure of easy money got her into stripping. 'Because fuck minimum wage.'

    She was going to use that money to save to go to state. Instead it went up her nose. From there? Down the slippery slope to a 'modeling' career where she made for in less time with less effort. It turns out that Rae Anne has since changed her name to Doctor Ana Kincaid and like Jon and Suzie, she can go to 'the quiet/cumworld' just like they can. Since Jon has frequently pulled it to her, Suzie gets a little jealous which leads to an argument about one Robert Rainbow, Suzie's new 'friend' - they had coffee together in issue #8 (which we didn't review because it wasn't sent but take our word for it - they had coffee). Jon's the jealous one now, and they fight, arguing about who really was at fault and how their scheme got all buggered up when the Sex Police busted them, which led to Suzie's beloved library getting demolished. But makeup sex has a way of fixing things, particularly when makeup sex can lead to a plan to fuck with the Sex Police and win the day.

    Back in flashback city, Rae, or… Jazmine, gets ready for her first scene in a XXX movie. But more importantly than that, we get to see what happens to her when she orgasms… which leads to a very extensive career starring in films like Les Jizzerables! She eventually gets that education she wants and years later, well, it ties into Jon and Suzie's story.

    Filthy, right? And then some, but not without that same sense of character and hard to describe aura of romance and, yes, love, that has made the eight issues leading up to this latest such an addictive read. Jon and Suzie have gone through some hard times, just like any couple will, but Fraction's writing keeps them fresh and interesting, it makes them characters that we care about. The fact that so much of this revolves around such a noble idea - saving a library - makes their periodic acts of hubris and frequent bad decisions easier to take, accept and understand while the humor that has been a mainstay here since the very first issue keeps them easy characters to WANT to get to know better. Does that makes sense? It's a bit rambling, maybe, but Jon and Suzie… they have great sex and strange things happen, which is cool enough as it is, but we like them. They'd probably be a fun couple to double date with.

    When the tenth and last issue in this collection (at the time of this writing it's the most recent issue of the series) begins, a man sits in a crappy restaurant and eats chicken as he writes. A woman asks him what he's writing, and from here we see Jon standing naked and erect in front of a black box. Jon's actually laying back on a recliner and the man who was doing the writing is his shrink. They're in session and Jon asks him if having bad or meaningless sex makes him a bad person. But really, Jon's not there to talk about sex, he's there to talk about… love.

    Later he meets Suzie in the park. She's chowing down on some chicken too. She asks him about therapy, he tells her it's hard. Cut to an office, Jon and Suzie are there with Doctor Ana Kincaid, former adult movie star turned professional and they're there to ask her if she is able to go to 'cum world' like they are. They hand her a folder full of her personal information acquired from a 'Tilda Swinton looking bitch' (oh her, she's a cop!). They want Kincaid's help shutting her down. Meanwhile, OBGYN Robert Rainbow is talking to Susie's roommate, Rachelle, about why he got into the business that he's in - it wasn't for the pussy, it was to deliver babies.

    Cut to a hotel upstate somewhere - Suzie and Jon are there and Kincaid shows up. With a box of toys. It seems she's willing to give this a shot after all, but Jon and Suzie figure they'll have sex in one room while she goes at it solo in another room. No need for a three-way, right? Kincaid's skeptical - she's a former porn star and has done it all. She needs a lot more stimulation than most women to feel anything at all. Rainbow and Rachelle are in a car in the hotel parking lot, occupying themselves in their own way, and we'll leave it at that.

    It'd be inaccurate to say that Sex Criminals keeps getting better, because that's not the case. Sex Criminals has been great from the first issue and it has more or less stayed that way. This issue continues that trend of greatness and the series remains the right mix of obscene humor, surrealist mystery and impressively believable, human emotion. Fraction is evidently smart enough not to let the film outweigh the plot and while the series may come close at times, that hasn't happened yet, nor should it. Jon and Suzie need to remain likeable, believable and to a great extent relatable for this series to work. Having them deal with day to day problems and common psychological issues ensures that these traits remain a big part of the series - that's important. Just as important as the sex and the insanity.

    Zdarsky's art is just as good here as it has been in the nine issues prior. The right mix of cartoonish expressiveness and detail work. He gets to draw a lot of boners in this issue, more boners than ever before, and a lot of splayed vaginas too, but what impresses more than that is the creativity behind some of the panel and page layouts. Splayed vaginas are great but the scenes in which Jon stands in front of that strange black box have a much stronger impact while a panel in which we see Jon on the couch in full color and his shrink a silhouette in the foreground is both stylish and neat to look at but also appropriate in terms of focus. His stuff isn't hyper detailed but it doesn't need to be. These guys tell stories together really well and Sex Criminals remains shockingly consistent in its excellence, its ability to surprise and entertain and in its dedication to top notch character development.

    Exclusive to this hardcover collection are a few interesting little bonus bits and pieces - we get a pretty sizable collection of cover art including regular covers and variants from around the world, some exclusive to certain retailers like Forbidden Planet for example. We also get a tutorial of sorts called 'Makin' Sausage' in which Zdarsky's text explains how he takes Fraction's scripts and turns them into the comic book pages we all know and love. Here we get a feel for the layouts, the penciling, the inking, the colors and then the 'quiet' effects before the lettering and edits are done. We also get two pages of sex tips (these originally appeared in the letters columns of the individual issues, sadly those columns - which are often times amazing in their own right - are not reprinted in this otherwise very comprehensive collection) and a couple of pages of 'Chip's Stupid Details' which is, as it sounds, a little guide to some of the weird stuff that Zdarsky has drawn into various backgrounds throughout the run.

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