Suzie is still having random flash-forwards, and is scared for her health. The phenomenon is somehow connected to her time-stopping abilities, but how or why are complete mysteries.
Meanwhile, Ava makes a startling discover about Kuber Badal's technology, and takes her findings to Myrtle Spurge, a.k.a. Kagelface.
This leads to Spurge taking matters into her own hands, and straight to Badal...
...But does Badal have more tricks up his sleeve than anyone realizes... maybe even a turncoat from team Sex Crimz?
Although a little bit scatterbrained last issue (there had been an eighteen-month gap between issues, after all, so that’s to be expected), Sex Criminals #27 returns the book to form. It’s a well-crafted blend of humor, tenderness, mystery, sexytime, psychology, and pure drama that could only be the brainchild of writer Matt Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky, the modern masters of idiosyncratic meta-commentary and far-more-going-on-beneath-the-surface shenanigans. At its core, despite everything else: the time-stopping sex, the weird bank conspiracies, the sex police – this book has been about two people not only falling in love but learning how to stay that way.
The opening sequence of this issue is a testament to that, in that no matter how much two people may think they know about one another, there’s always more to learn. Suzie notices a weird scar on John’s ankle, and when she asks about it, he casually mentions it’s from where he got shot. Her response is priceless:
The answer, it turns out, is fairly innocuous: he was shot by an accident during a training session at his old bank job. Again, though, the scene highlights what Sex Criminals does so well: portray two people learning about one another, warts and all, and still remaining in love. It has a gooey-sweet center despite its crass exterior, something that throws many critics of this book off.
But more than just that, Sex Criminals has been slowly peeling back the layers of the mystery not only behind Suzie and John’s powers, but also how they and others like them are connected to the ultra-suave Kuber Badal of BankCorp, who has a vested interest in them all for reasons that have remained elusive until this issue. Badal is one of those smarmy, too-slick-for-his-own-good villains who, instead of rooting for, readers just can’t wait to see get their comeuppance. That nearly comes in the form of Myrtle “Kagelface” Spurge this issue, who has a bone to pick with the man behind the curtain, and isn’t afraid to send a rather violent message to get it across. Spurge was originally the series’ antagonist, but has gradually transformed into something of an ally of Suzie and John. Much as her nickname implies, she’s a very uptight individual – someone who seems like she’d be staring disapprovingly at two people holding hands in public rather than a card-carrying member of the secret sex police.
Chip Zdarsky, as usual, handles not only all of the art chores but also the lettering as well, making this comic a true labor of love between Fraction and him. The irony is that, while Sex Criminals was cooling its heels for the last year and a half, former industry golden boy Fraction sort of wandered off into the wilderness and Zdarsky became one of Marvel’s most in-demand writers. But that hasn’t stopped him from meeting his commitment to finish this book, a lesson in dedication that a lot of other indie creators should take to heart. This comic is an honest labor of love from start to finish, and those don’t happen unless everyone concerned is all-in. Thankfully, that’s the case here.
Sex Criminals #27 does what it does best, tightening the focus as the series (finally) nears its conclusion, but without sacrificing the human moments that truly define it.
Sex Criminals #27: The Unsavory Retribution of Kagelface
- Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 9.5/109.5/10
- Cover Art - 7.5/107.5/10
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