So I’m a year late here: I was going to point out that this series took longer to complete than I expected, and so I was not as invested in this book as I could have been. But one whole year of the delay is on me, so mentioning that a comic that started in September 2013 and only ran thirty-one issues probably shouldn’t have taken seven years might not come across well.
Or maybe I’ll passive-aggressively say I’m not going to do that. Pointless passive-aggression is pretty on-brand for a discussion of Sex Criminals, right?
Anyway, Six Criminals is the sixth and last collection of the comic: it includes the final story arc (well, the five issues in which the story ends; it was all one “arc,” basically) and the fantabulous extra issue #69, in which two minor characters have a destination wedding a few years later and all of the surviving characters show up to celebrate and bounce off each other one last time in a vastly lower-stakes way. Like the rest of the series, it was written by Matt Fraction and drawn by Chip Zdarsky. (See my post for volume five , or drop back to the first one if you have no idea about the series.)
(Consumer Note: references to this book say it contains issues #26-69, which is technically true but deeply misleading. They mean issues #26-30 and #69. There is nothing in between.)
My reaction to it was pretty muted, and I’m trying to figure out why. Maybe I waited too long, and the previous volumes had gotten fuzzy in memory. Maybe I was secretly hoping for the Big Ending to go a different way – though I think it works just fine, is constructed well, entirely fits the characters as we know them, and is satisfying. Maybe it’s just me.
This book does fulfill the promises of the previous collection, where all of the sex-powered people we’d met join forces and start talking about taking down the big bad, a probably borderline-sociopathic business magnate who, we learn in this book, has been stealing all of Our Heroes’ precious bodily fluids (well
, energy) in order to power what he hopes is a time machine. Yes, that’s very weird: Sex Criminals has kept digging new levels of weird from the initial some-people-freeze-time-when-they-come premise, as it finds new possibilities for sex-based superpowers.
(Sidebar: Say, do you think Sex Criminals was originally pitched as “Chew , but about fucking”? If not, why not?)
There is a reasonably happy ending for the world in general, if not for Suze and Jon’s relationship, which has looked intermittently doomed the entire length of the series. (Jon in particular has never been the most stable of people.) In the end, it’s still basically Suze’s story, as it started out, though focus wanders around among the rest of the cast, as it must when you have that many people. That part is very realistic, and I appreciated it: so many stories, in comics and out of it, slam the two main characters together at the end even if that’s an inherently bad idea.
I bet this all reads better if you run through it all relatively quickly; I read the first volume back in 2014 and have never re-read older issues before hitting new ones. It’s all good stuff, and adult in both the under-the-counter (it’s about sex! you see nudity and sexual stuff on the page!) and the grown-up (people have relationships that grow and change! those relationships are often weird or nonstandard!) ways. It’s definitely worth reading, if you are old enough to do so legally in your jurisdiction.