Sex Criminals #5 deals with the problem of the Sex Police raised last issue and brings Jon and Suzie’s shenanigans to a satisfying end. Chip Zdarsky continues to build the world of the Quiet and have more fun background gags while Matt Fraction uncovers a secret about Jon and pieces together the various elements of the story in its trademark non-linear way. While still filling the comic with sex jokes, hair breadth escapes, and embarrassing bits of back-story, Fraction and Zdarsky explore Jon’s oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) in an honest and sympathetic way. Sex Criminals is one of the few comics that can discuss real life issues while still be entertaining in both plot and characterization. Sex Criminals #5 is a one of a kind issue in a one of a kind comic book series.
Even with the introduction of the Sex Police and the expansion of its already topsy turvy world, Sex Criminals is primarily about the relationship and romance between Jon and Suzie. Up to now, things have been pretty smooth with the exception of nervousness and tension about the bank robberies that they are pulling to help Suzie’s library not get foreclosed on. But Fraction introduces some problems into their relationship when Jon tells Suzie about his ODD, and that he is not taking medication for it. His reasons for not taking medication are very relatable because he doesn’t want to feel like he is dead and can’t enjoy anything in life. Without getting into melodrama, Fraction shows an argument between a couple while also revealing Jon’s flaws and strengths as a character. Maybe if he was still on medication, he wouldn’t have fallen in love with Suzie. Sex Criminals #5 has the most “hijinks” of any issue in the series, but it still manages to develop its lead characters and their romance continuing to make them endearing to readers as well.
However, Sex Criminals #5 isn’t all navel-gazing and emotions. It has a full dose of the sexiest crime not found in a bad Sin City porn parody. There are handcuffs, guns, vibrators, and all sorts of various and sundry things. The plot meanders to look at Jon’s actions while he is medicated and not medicated, but these scenes add depth to his character and are a part of the arc’s endgame. Fraction also fills in some of the gaps from the previous issues fitting the Sex Police into some earlier, innocuous scene and giving them a motivation, which isn’t super villainous. Chip Zdarsky continues to be an impetus for most of the series’ humor with his beat panels making the punchlines to Fraction’s dialogue a little bit funnier. His figures look like MAD Magazine, but have a full range of emotions. And he can seamlessly can go from flashback to the main story without any awkwardness using Jon and Suzie as anchoring points. Sex Criminals #5 has a fast moving plot while still providing insights about its characters and about sexuality and mental health. It also lays the foundation for a potential long running series while keeping many things about the world of The Quiet a mystery.