Friday, 6 October 2017

Sex Criminals, Volume 4: Fourgy! Review (Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky)

This comic. This fucking comic. Sex Crimz is back on form with the brilliantly titled Volume 4: Fourgy!

Story-wise there isn’t much happening and that’s my only complaint about this book. Essentially it’s still Sex Criminals vs Sex Cops but there’s barely any conflict between them here. Kegelface fucks with Ana’s teaching job and… that’s it.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a slow read either because the character stuff is really good. Jon and Suzie’s relationship has its ups and downs and we learn more about Jon’s mental state. It doesn’t sound like much when I try to summarise it but it’s something else to read for yourself. The most satisfying aspect of this series is how convincingly and realistically Matt Fraction has captured their relationship.

There’s maybe a bit too much time devoted to the other couples in the series, Ana and Dave/Doug, and Rach and Robert – their stories feel superfluous – but they’re also pretty cool characters so it evens out.

A new character appears with a new sex power: the ability to bring fuck-Smurfs to life! The character was well-written and funny but I hope Sex Crimz doesn’t go the way of Chew where a new weirdo/superpower gets introduced in every book until it gets annoying. This dude’s a mobile hot-dog salesman whose “wide weiners” are popular with the kids - I feel like Fraction/Chip Zdarsky included him just so they could have a scene with kids yelling that they want wide weiners! And the wide weiners theme song is so amusingly silly.

I may not think much of his writing but Chip Zdarsky is an outstanding artist. There’s a Kegelface issue written and drawn in the style of Brubaker/Phillips and Zdarsky’s pastiche on Sean Phillips’ art is really quite accurate (as is Fraction’s take on Brubaker’s noirish, clipped writing style). The characters’ facial expressions are perfect throughout (heh, Zdarsky does good facials) and the page crammed full of panels showing Ana’s preparation for the porn-con was remarkably detailed. I love that panel in the restaurant when Dave/Doug gives a lengthy speech to Ana and the exposition literally knocks the background characters around – that playfulness and creativity is one of the best aspects of this title. And the Sexual Gary running gag is still funny.

The thing is that those jokes are memorable at the expense of an unmemorable story (why is Jon appearing in a Hulk parody play again??). I’m much more invested in Jon and Suzie’s relationship than the half-assed revenge(ish?) story being attempted between the cops and the crimz.

Still, Fourgy! is a very entertaining and fun read and there’s a lot here fans will love!

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