Friday, September 27, 2013

Sex Criminals #1

Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Chip Zdarsky

If you had the ability to stop time when you orgasm, and after years of not understanding this gift, finally found someone else who could do the same thing, what would you do?  If your answer is rob banks, then Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky's new Image series is probably perfect for you.  Even if that's not how your brain works, this is a comic that is well worth checking out.

Fraction has long established that he is a writer who is not afraid of exploring new ground, but you have to wonder where the idea for this book came from.  The obvious source is Nicholson Baker's strange novel The Fermata, but the protagonist there used his time-stopping powers to masturbate, not the other way around.

Regardless where the notion came from, the writing in this book is excellent.  Fraction spends most of this issue building up Suzie, our narrator.  When she was young, Suzie's father was killed in a workplace massacre, leaving the girl very much alone, as her mother retreated into a bottle.  Suzie explored a very usual adolescent escape, and that is how she learned of her ability.  Fraction follows her through the early teen years, as she figures out how her powers work, and learns that nobody else has the same ability.

The book picks up on Suzie as a young woman, who is obsessively trying to buy up the stock of local library that is being foreclosed upon by a bank.  Surrounding herself with old books, she throws a party to help raise funds to buy more.  It is there that she meets Jon, who she later learns has the same abilities she does.  That's where the bank robbing begins, and where the issue ends.

I really like the way that Fraction is pacing this series (many of his other books are much more frenetic), and think he found the perfect partner in crime in artist Chip Zdarsky.  He has a slightly cartoonish style, but it works very well in the context of this series.  Suzie is shown at different ages, and it's easy to tell how old she is in each scene.  As well, Zdarsky, a local artist, has Suzie living in a house not far from the spot where I pick up my comics every week, which is pretty cool.

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