Sex Criminals #14
Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky
Finally, the David Bowie tribute comic no one was asking for!
As someone who’s been championing t3h Sex Crimz since its debut, I’m more than willing to admit that the third arc has not been the smoothest. While the quality really hasn’t dropped much, the delays between issues have definitely made it difficult to remember exactly what has happened during this storyline resulting digging through the old long box. Granted we did get that one issue that wonderfully discussed being asexual, the other 2 issues have been kind of a blur for me.
That being said, issue 14 feels like a return to form. At least in terms of humor, as we get some fantastic jokes this issue. There’s a 4 page gag in which the chums Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky channel Chuck Jones in most chum-like fashion. It’s a play on a gag they used in an earlier issue, but ramped up to the next logical level. The payoff is incredible and it shows how the creative team successfully dealt with a potential problematic plot point without scrapping it. It also highlights exactly what each creator brings to the table, be it incredible dialogue, or sensational art, and how their bond makes for some fine comics.
And while that particular gag is definitely my favorite thing about this issue, it’s far from the only good thing about Sex Criminals #14. The issue starts off with a really great sequence that showcases how great of an artist/colorist/letter Zdarsky is. The delays in Sex Criminals, while disappointing, are usually the product of Chip trying to cram as much into a single panel as possible. His dedication to his craft is admirable, and we the reader benefit as we’re treated to some fantastic line work, hidden jokes crammed into the smallest of places and some genuinely amazing coloring. I dislike it when my funny books are late, but when the creators are as good as Zdarsky, it certainly makes up for it.
Matt Fraction is okay too, I guess.
That was #JOKES. It’s been months since I’ve been able to enjoy the Notorious M.A.T.T.’s writing, as this issue serves as a fine example of what he’s capable of bringing to that table. Fraction is not unlike Brian K Vaughan in that he excels at that his characters sound natural when they speak, even though no one can actually talk as perfect like that in the real world. There’s also something so genuinely in the way Fraction writes his characters, and granted maybe some of it also comes from Chip, but the final few pages of the comic read like some of Fraction’s strongest stuff. Sex Criminals is often at its best when it’s grounded in reality, and I really dig how Matt handles the cast and their dialogue in this issue.
Sex Criminals #14 is a great comic. There’s some strong character work from two creators who are known for writing compelling characters in the medium. Sex Criminals is unlike any other comic out there not just because of its plot, but because Matt and Chip are unlike any other creative team currently working in comics.