Exactly six months after its last arc wrapped, everyone’s favorite orgasm having, time stopping, bank robbing sexy criminals Jon and Susie are back in Sex Criminals #11. However, writer Matt Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky create a new character literally named Douglas D. Douglas. (I’ll leave the identity of his middle initial up to readers’ imagination.) Douglas is an regular Joe with a nerdy side that enjoys helping take care of his grandmother and other old, er, elderly people at his job as a retirement home orderly. But his humdrum life of back scrubs, pudding cups, and erotic Game of Thrones is about to change thanks to Jon and Susie, who are still on the run and gathering forces to fight Kegelface and the Sex Cops.
Sex Criminals #11 really feels like the season premiere of a TV show with a large ensemble cast. (Like Game of Thrones.) There is the extended introduction to Douglas, but Fraction and Zdarsky also check in on a variety of familiar faces from the series, including Susie’s roommate Rachelle, her gynecologist Rainbow, and even Jon’s therapist. (Who resembles Matt Fraction with an added silver fox air.) Even if one of these scenes seems unnecessary to the big picture, they signal a return to Sex Criminals‘ focus on human relationships and what people get out of them using two similarly framed (Nice symmetrical layouts from Zdarsky) sex scenes with completely different behind the scenes intentions. Rachelle and Rainbow also happen to be incredibly adorable.
But Sex Criminals wouldn’t be Sex Criminals without its share of naughty visual and pop culture jokes. Zdarsky saves his money shot for the final page, but continues to pepper his background with puns and pop culture references even working with Fraction’s narration to bust the fourth wall and the readers’ guts in the process. Fraction and Zdarsky have done such an excellent job of developing their main cast throughout the Sex Criminals series that they can create comedy from character interactions and callbacks, like your favorite sitcom, but weirder and dirtier. (These are all good things in the context of the series.)
Zdarsky continues to be skillful at depicting ordinary people in all their vulnerable glory in Sex Criminals #11. It’s like Daniel Clowes, but without the mean spirited cynicism. Douglas D. Douglas may evoke shades of the stereotypical basement dwelling nerd of Simpsons and Big Bang Theory infamy, and Fraction and Zdarsky definitely poke fun at him. However, he gets to be an actual human being with an inner life and not just a one not plot device. They have done the same with Kegel, who could be a Republic Serial villain with a creepy bronze overlay from Zdarsky’s coloring, but she has feelings and a backstory too. This kind of meaty characterization along with its continuing honest treatment of human sexuality balances out the pop culture porn parodies and sex toy throwing.
Sex Criminals #11 brings something old, something new, and definitely won’t leave long time Brimpers with comic book blue balls. Chip Zdarsky continues to be the master of visual innuendo and also gets to show off his sensitive side in some intimate moments (Read: sex scenes.) between the main characters while Fraction’s dialogue continues to be filthy and insightful as ever. And stay after the letters page for a special post-credits scene. (Wait, I thought Matt Fraction was done writing for Marvel.)