Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sex Criminals Volume 1:One Weird Trick (Sex Criminals #1-5), by Matt Fraction (writer) Chip Zdarsky (artist)

Image Comics, ISBN 9781607069461, April 2014

This one I did not expect to like. I got a surprise. It's intelligent, thoughtful, does some really interesting things, and Suzie, as an adult, is a librarian, and a well-done librarian is always a win for me, Yes, it's self-indulgent. So sue me.

As a preteen and teen, Suzie is put through major trauma, with the senseless murder of her father, and her mother's retreat into an alcoholic haze of grief. As she starts to mature physically, Suzie mostly has to figure things out on her own, with the dubious help of school health class and her doctor. The utterly mundane, conventional answers provided wouldn't necessarily be much help to the average kid. Unfortunately, Suzie is not the average kid. When she has an orgasm, time stops. Not a metaphor; literally. Time stops for some period of time that is, for obvious reasons, difficult for her to measure. She calls that experience/place "The Quiet," and it's both wonderful and terrifying.

Sadly, her first ventures into having sex with other people are deeply unsatisfying; she doesn't have orgasms, and doesn't reach The Quiet.

Eventually, though, she meets Jon. She's a librarian by this time, and Jon works in the same bank where her dad was working when he was killed. Jon has the same ability she does. They start exploring what they can do, and its limits, and the sheer joy of being in The Quiet with another person--one other person, the right one. Some of what they do are pranks, and they share some stories of past exploits.

But Suzie's library is in financial difficulty, and in danger of being seized by the bank--the bank Jon works for. And Jon hates his boss and finds his job, at best, boring.

They start thinking about using their ability to save the library. It's a felony, of course, and Suzie is not happy at the idea of breaking the law, but the library is far more important than the bank,and who is going to catch them?

They have, of course, overlooked something very, very important, and all heck breaks loose.

The art is very good, and the writing is excellent, as is the character development. The narrative is in some important ways nonlinear, and a couple of times that was a problem for me, but in the end it worked.

It's going to be a tough choice, between this and Ms. Marvel.

Recommended.

I received this in the Hugo Voters' packet.