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June 8, 2014 / Jett

Sex Criminals Vol. 1: One Weird Trick Review


I don’t know if “courage” is the right word here, but it surely took some effort on my part to give Sex Criminals a chance. Despite the fact that it’s not a story that exists for the sake of arousal, and the fact that it’s nominated for best ongoing comic series of the year, overcoming the stigma that comes with the subject matter wasn’t easy. Even after buying the book and deciding to read it on the train, it got immediately weird to read this when Steff left my side and a stranger sat beside me. Going forward, I’ll probably read this at home, but I’ll gladly keep reading the series if it can sustain this level of quality.

This is a story about two seemingly normal people that live in New York. Suzie is a librarian while Jon works at the corporate level of a bank. They hit it off at a party one night and realize that they share one of the oddest superpowers in the history of literature. As it turns out, ever since puberty, both of them have been able to freeze time temporarily after achieving orgasm. Issues 1-5 in One Weird Trick cover their lives with this “gift” before they met each other, as well as the ways in which they it together.

Sex Criminals finds a great balance between sexy, sci-fi and humour. The act of sex is a big part of what makes this thing work, but it’s always in service of progressing the plot, fleshing out the time-stopping mechanic, and/or to sharing a funny joke. In fact, I really enjoy how natural the comedy comes into play. In particular, I love Jon’s flashbacks that involve him abusing his power to take advantage of an adult store. I also enjoy how these two vibe off of each other as they have a great chemistry throughout.

Perfectly matching the tone of the writing is Chip Zdarsky’s art. Clean lines, punchy colours and the glow effects to signal the stoppage in time complement the action in a way that feels right. Nudity is also handled in a way that fits naturally within the context of the story they’re trying to tell.

Sex may be a big part of the Sex Criminals formula, but it’s not the foundation of this sci-fi dramedy. At it’s core, it’s a story about people and how they deal with their superpowers. Sure, this superhero story features mature subject matter, but it tugs on those same strings that make those types of stories work while making you laugh along the way. I have concerns with how far Fraction and Zdarsky can keep the time-stopping angle interesting going forward, but that’s a challenge for future issues to solve. As it stands, Sex Criminals Vol. 1: One Weird Trick is a great read for mature audiences.


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