Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sex Criminals, Volume One: One Weird Trick (2014)

I find it strange and a bit disappointing that Image has released two buzzy series in the past year whose titles start with the word "Sex" and neither is especially sexy. It's also strange that Casey & Kowalski's SEX is listed under the genre "Romance / Drama" where it feels more like crime fiction, while Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky's Sex Criminals reads like a quirky romantic dramedy, but is listed as "Science Fiction." Sex Criminals spends a lot more time exploring human sexuality and its emotional resonance, but aside from scenes in an adult boutique of comparable explicitness to Neighbors, it's reasonably safe for all but the most prudish readers. It's a lighthearted look at the early stages of a relationship with echoes of broadly accessible Japanese sex comedy (say Rumiko Takahashi) and/or John D. MacDonald's The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything.

Sex Criminals is much more readily enjoyable than Sex (or, yeah, just plain enjoyable as entertainment at all) but it's also, frankly, base. The characters are relatable millennials who, having grown up with the internet, are comfortable with appliances of pleasure and discussing common kinks. The characters come together because each can access the ability to temporarily halt the progression of time through sexual gratification, and they use their powers to rob banks, but it's okay because it's all for a good pro-literacy/anti-corporate cause. Despite featuring early adolescents rocking a tub faucet, frozen midair ejaculate, and glowing penis wands, it's all amazingly safe for your average HIMYM viewer. It's breezy and mildly amusing, but I'm clearly not the target audience, because I'd rather spend more time in miserable Saturn City than continue to pleasantly, passively bop along to a mash-up of Trancers and (500) Days of Summer with dildos.

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