Sex Criminals Vol. 4: Fourgy! TPB
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Chip Zdarsky
Publisher: Image Comics
A review by Samantha Pearson
HEADS UP! Sex Criminals is decidedly NSFW! 18+ only!
Sex Criminals is the best comic in the world. No, I’m serious. This masterpiece series by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky has 20 issues under its belt (so far), collected in four trade paperbacks and one big hardcover. It has a companion book, Just the Tips. It’s an erotic comic that deals with love, mental illness, classism, and healthy relationships, all against a sex-driven, sci-fi-esque universe. It’s incredible, and Fourgy! left me with all kinds of feelings.
Sex Criminals Vol. 4: Fourgy! collects issues #16-#20 of this surprisingly emotional series. Suzie and Jon have been having sex, stopping time, and robbing banks for about six months. Things are starting to get complicated. Not only are they both developing feelings, but the tangled web they’ve weaved is getting bigger and harder to control. As the sex police continue their intimidation campaign and Jon refuses to back down, he and Suzie find their relationship changing fast.
Fourgy! has the tongue-in-cheek, meta humor of every previous volume of Sex Criminals. Hamilton meets The Hulk in Jon’s new play, which “for legal reasons” is a bizarre combination of both. As the issues bounce in and out of time, ridiculously long, explanatory panels are cut off for the sake of a laugh. Although writer Matt Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky don’t appear on the page as they have in previous volumes, their presence is still felt in every panel. This creative team has been working on this book since 2013. Four years of erotic fiction in the form of a comic that somehow represents depression more accurately than almost anything else I’ve read; four years of bad sex jokes and porn puns.
Who would have thought this series would end up here?
Aside from Suzie and Jon’s relationship woes in Fourgy!, we also get to see several side characters explore what it means for them to be in healthy relationships. Sex Criminals explores abuse, insecurity, fantasy, and more — if it has to do with sex, it’s probably in this book. Plus, we finally start to learn the deeper levels of what’s going on with the sex police…
Realistically, Sex Criminals could end after this volume, but it also can’t. One part of the story feels complete, in a way, though there are plenty of loose ends still hanging. Suzie and Jon’s affection shines in Fourgy!, despite the drama, and it’s obvious as a reader that whatever happens next, they’ll probably be involved in it together. We still don’t know what Kegel Face’s end goal is, or whether she realizes that she’s not really the one with the power. There are many questions at the end of issue #20 that made it feel incomplete, which hopefully means there’s a lot more Sex Criminals to come.
The art and colors are especially stunning in this volume. Zdarsky has a way of drawing erotica that can be offensive as hell or incredibly gorgeous, depending on the mood of the scene. That comes in handy in Fourgy!, since so many people have sex in so many different situations. It’s always fun to see how the art translates Fraction’s writing and vice versa — this verse is a tightknit, gorgeous piece of work.
Read Sex Criminals! If erotica isn’t your cup of tea, then that’s cool. Don’t force yourself to read something you know you won’t like. But if you like complex, emotional stories about love, crime, sex, and stopping time whenever you orgasm, there’s no better book out there. Vol. 4: Fourgy! is available now.