Reading Sex Criminals #1 is like discovering sex for the first time - it's new and different but mind-blowingly great and you know you'll be back for more. Meet Suzie and Jon, our heroes and sex criminals. When they orgasm they can slow time to a crawl and move about in it unaffected at normal speed. But calling them criminals makes you think of them as bad guys and they're anything but. Suzie is all about trying to save her local library from BankCorp who have foreclosed on the property and will be closing it shortly. Her mission is to save as many books as she can while Jon is a secretary. By the end of the first issue they discover they both have the same superpower of slowing down time after sex and decide to put it to good use and start robbing the rich in the sexiest way possible! That's the setup of the series but the first issue is all about establishing character and tone which writer Matt Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky do beautifully through narrator Suzie. Grown up Suzie talks to us directly as she shows us her troubled past where a random shooting kills her father and the debilitating effect it had on her mother who never recovered, and how young teen Suzie realised her magical ability after discovering the joys of masturbation for the first time. Climaxing for the first time is a pretty surreal experience but for Suzie its extra strange when she realises the tap water has slowed exponentially and pretty bright lights fill the air. The experience leads Suzie to some funny scenes as she tries to find out whether everyone goes through the same thing she does and underlines something most kids today don't appreciate - how back in the late 90s (and of course earlier) finding very specific information like sex facts when you're a kid, was a tough gig. These days, google, bang, you've got it - especially when it comes to sex - but for someone relying on libraries and without access to the internet, it was a tricky process. Luckily for us Suzie has to approach a more experienced girl at school for answers which culminates in a brilliant scene in a cubicle with some amazingly drawn sexual positions and names. Brimping - it's worth getting this comic just to find out what that's all about. And while this comic features a lot of talk about sex, the sex itself is tastefully presented, playful even and always unabashed, and never feels cheap or exploitative. Speaking of the art, Chip Zdarsky is a terrific artist, full stop. Every single panel is gorgeous from the opening scene that feels psychedelic, funny and thrilling all at the same time and sets the tone of the comic instantly, to the scene where Suzie and Jon meet for the first time. This scene in particular is genius - the first panel shows Suzie's feet float off the ground as she follows Jon about the room who's quoting Nabokov's Lolita, everyone else in the party darkened in comparison to their brightly coloured selves, before ending in a panel where the two look at each other and smile. Then the following page shows the two sat on a couch as the rest of the room, furniture and guests, break apart and float away leaving the two of them on the couch drifting in endless white space. It's the perfect representation of falling in love I've seen in comics in a long while. Those pages are the standout for me but every single page, bar none, is full of beautiful art and this has to be noted, and has to be intentional, but Suzie and Jon look exactly like Matt and Kelly Sue, which is very cute. Fraction's script is everything that his fans have come to expect from him - witty and funny, clever and inspired, knowing but guileless, the comic effortlessly introduces two characters you feel you've known for years, throws in a high concept plot, and mixes in moments of comedy, tragedy and mystery, and it all hangs together perfectly. If you're reading Fraction's other titles you'll know this already but the man's work right now isn't just the best he's ever written but is among the best writing in comics to be found anywhere, and Sex Criminals is right up there with Hawkeye, Fantastic Four and Satellite Sam. If you're not reading Image these days - guys, do yourselves a solid and pick up some of their titles, starting with Sex Criminals. This comic is original and charming containing an adorable cast, virtuoso writing and stunning art - simply put, the beginning of a masterpiece. Sex Criminals #1: take it home with you today - it's love at first sight! Published by Image Comics, Sex Criminals #1 by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky is out now
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