With its front cover opening to a quote from George Washington, Sex Criminals from Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky returns for its third issue. This cheeky sex comedy/crime caper continues its touching and humorous exploration of love and sex, bringing the reader up to speed on Suzie and John’s robbery-gone-wrong. With air-tight scripting from Fraction and engaging artwork by Zdarsky, this issue more than lives up to the expectations set by the first two issues, and opens the door to many intriguing uses of The Quiet.
The dual plots of the book continue to unfold in this issue, switching back and forth between the past and present. The main plot, told from Suzie’s perspective, continues to follow her unfolding relationship with John and their explorations of The Quiet. Here we see John’s first fumbling college sexual experiences through his eyes. Continuing to develop John and his relationship with The Quiet, he gives a summation of his romantic and sexual encounters against the backdrop of his and Suzie’s ongoing “first date” after meeting at the party. Soon he introduces her to the porn shop he frequented in his awkward youth. Their second date, beginning at the porn shop as they stop time to wreak havoc with the various toys and props, ends in a hilarious musical number (of sorts) at a pool hall in homage to Freddie Mercury. As evidence in this sequence, Fraction’s sense of humor works to the book’s advantage, and Zdarsky brings it to the page through stunning page designs.
As we discover over the course of Suzie and John’s unconventional courtship, John works at the bank foreclosing the library where Suzie works. A bored (and somewhat disgruntled) underling, prone to using his time-stopping powers for his own amusement, he has no particular fondness for his employers. He first proposes the idea of robbing the bank to save the library where Suzie works and has been working to save. Suzie is unsure at first, content to just use their shared powers for fun, but John wants to help. Assuring her of how simple it would be to get the money, we see that he eventually wins her over.
In keeping with Fraction’s non-linear narrative structure, the subplot catches up with the crime itself at the end of the book. Realizing they’re no longer alone in The Quiet in the previous issue, John and Suzie come face-to-face with the mysterious figures at the bank. These three figures, dressed in white, confront the would-be robbers in a violent altercation that puts their plans to a halt. Seemingly trapped here with the strangers, it quickly becomes clear that Suzie and John have stumbled into something they don’t entirely understand, facing consequences they never anticipated.
Full of wit and charm, this quirky title continues to please. The development of Suzie and John’s relationship, held against their respective romantic pasts, is nice to watch unfold. Their strange attraction and bond is well-grounded in humor and heart, keeping things lighthearted and engaging to read. Zdarsky’s pencils continue to be a strong complement to Fraction’s scripts, carrying each issue to a visually satisfying conclusion in strength of composition and design. Sex Criminals #3 is enjoyable from cover to cover, maintaining this title’s impressive stride. We can only hope Fraction and Zdarsky keep it up in coming issues.