Review by Frank Plowright
There are two ways of viewing the manner in which sex is dealt with in graphic novels from mainstream publishers. These are that it isn’t, or that it is, but in a coy, deceitful and ultimately prurient manner. It’s an interesting creative move, therefore, for someone whose career is is founded on superhero material to tackle this dichotomy head-on.
It’s welcoming that Matt Fraction brings the same thoughtful and engaging manner of writing to Sex Criminals as is found in his latter superhero work. One Weird Trick is the story of Suzie and Jon, who separately discover that on reaching the point of orgasm, largely self-propelled, time stops around them. They can wander the world unencumbered by anyone else, and make alterations that will manifest when time moves on again.
Suzie is passionate about causes, primarily keeping the local library open, and initially naive, when younger having to ask more experienced classmates about sex, and so making a friend for life. Jon is a guy. He names the static experience Cum World, after the local sex shop he robs while all around remain immobile, and is altogether more prone to pro-actively altering things. A particular habit is defecating in the manager’s plant pot at the bank where he works.
When Suzie and Jon meet, it’s the first time either has encountered someone else for whom an orgasm delivers the same experience. Their relationship develops, and they hatch a plan for saving the library, hence the criminals element of the title. What they don’t initially realise is that others share their talent, and have taken upon themselves to police the static time.
Chip Zdarsky’s cartooning is very expressive, and effective in creating a consistent looking cast you feel you come to know. Given the topic at hand, there is nudity, but it’s restrained and not the full ham sandwich, while the sex depicted is as most people experience it rather than the fantasies available. It combines for a fast-moving, often funny tale in which the explicit content is more in the language, although, if we’re honest, most of the words used we’re likely to hear or use ourselves in the course of a normal day.
There is the thought that this may not not be a sustainable topic for a series, but One Weird Trick entertains, amuses, and supplies well drawn characters in both senses of the term. Thoroughly enjoyable. Two Worlds, One Cop is up next.