‘Sex Criminals #1’ And Other Comics Of Note, September 25th

What if, every time you had an orgasm, time stopped? Literally? That’s the basic concept of Matt Fraction’s hilarious new book. A full review, and looks at books from DC, Dark Horse, Image, and IDW under the cut.

Fraction wisely tackles this approach from the perspective of Suzie, a woman who gets absolutely terrible sex advice, hampered by the fact that she can’t figure out whether or not the fact that every time she has an orgasm, time stops. There’s a dark side to this book; it’s as much about criticizing how we treat women who have a sex life as it is about a litany of sex jokes, and Suzie’s life has some ugly parts.

But it is a litany of sex jokes, as well, and every single one is absolutely hilarious. The sequence where Rachelle “teaches” Suzie what she knows is a classic in its own right. It’s helped substantially by Chip Zdarsky on art. Zdarsky’s style can be an acquired taste for some, but it’s perfectly suited to the book; cartoony enough to be funny while grounded enough to carry the darker aspects.

That’s one worth picking up, but what else is out there this week?

<!–pagetitle:The Trial Of the Punisher #1–>

Oh, yeah, put Frank Castle in the penal system. That’ll go well. Marc Guggenheim, though, does a good job of depicting just what might happen if it goes “right”, and just how the courts would react to having the most infamous homicidal maniac in comics on the stand. Francis Lenil Yu’s art really helps the proceedings as well, giving the book a gritty, creepy vibe. Definitely worth checking out, especially as its a two-parter.

<!–pagetitle:The Other Dead #1–>

Dead animals are coming back to life. And they are not happy, needless to say. Qing Ping Mui’s art style feels a bit too elaborate and feathered for the material, but Joshua Ortega’s story is at least an interesting twist. It’ll be interesting to see where this book goes from here.

<!–pagetitle:Rat Queens #1–>

Basically, Skullkickers, only with women and there are four of them, and with about half the wit. Kurtis Wiebe and John Upchurch don’t really bring anything new to the whole “satirizing Dungeons & Dragons” subgenre, unfortunately; if you like fantasy humor, it’ll be a fun read, but you probably won’t remember it next week.

<!–pagetitle:Criminal Macabre: The Eyes Of Frankenstein #1–>

Ghouls are dying, Frankenstein is going blind, it’s just another day in Cal MacDonald’s world. This book is fairly low-key for Steve Niles, by which I mean after the exploding pregnant lady he goes light on the gore, and Christopher Mitten’s art is well-suited to the material. Good for fans, but non-fans might not find much here.

<!–pagetitle:Powerpuff Girls #1–>

Troy Little takes on a classic cartoon with some surprisingly complex art and the same goofy sensibility you remember from the show in the ’90s. It’s very much for kids, but it’s a well-drawn and well-written comic for kids, and worth picking up for the little comics fan you might have around.

<!–pagetitle:Super! #1–>

Justin Piatt and Zack Dolan aren’t breaking any new ground in their superhero stories, but they’re solid stuff. Still, they do need to cut down on the dialogue, substantially: There’s a lot of tiny, tiny type in this book. Nonetheless, it’s good to see a Kickstarted book hitting the stands, and it’s worth supporting.

<!–pagetitle:Infinity: Heist #1–>

Essentially The Superior Foes of Spider-Man, but with Iron Man villains. But I’m always a sucker for a good heist story, and this one has a lot of promise.

<!–pagetitle:Pirate Eye: Murder At Ten Knots–>

OK, the pun in the title is absolutely terrible, but Josiah Grahn and Carl Yonder deliver a smart murder mystery on a pirate ship that’s smart and more interested in making the idea work than being pleased with itself. It’s a clever concept, well-executed, and more to the point, it costs a buck. If you like mystery stories, take a chance on this book.

<!–pagetitle:Empowered: Nine Beers With Ninjette–>

Adam Warren and Takeshi Miyazawa team up to tell the history of Ninjette, Emp’s drunken ninja sidekick, in nine beers. This being Adam Warren, the story starts funny and goofy but builds to an emotional gut punch as Ninjette explains just why she’s constantly sauced. Empowered is very much a great book, and this one-shot just adds to the depth and emotional resonance a seemingly goofy comic has built over time.

<!–pagetitle:Itty Bitty Hellboy #2–>

Also a good book for the kiddies, and Hellboy fans will probably find it amusing.

<!–pagetitle:Mass Effect: Foundation #3–>

A solid SF book continues its run. It’s pretty standard space opera in this issue, but it uses the Mass Effect universe cleverly and fans of Ashley Williams will want to pick it up, as she’s the focus this issue.

<!–pagetitle:Captain Midnight #3–>

This pulpy series continues and actually gets surprisingly gory, the way the pulps used to. It’s an interesting choice, although this book is still cruising where it could be soaring.

<!–pagetitle:Dinosaurs Attack! #3–>

The EC art shift is a hoot, and this silly, gory series still has being silly and gory as its main selling point. Fun for fans of the ridiculous.

<!–pagetitle:Batman/Superman #3.1: Doomsday–>

Doomsday as a Kryptonian boogeyman is a clever place for Greg Pak to take this story, but there just isn’t enough to Doomsday to make this book truly compelling. He’s literally a threshing machine with independent thought. Still, a good attempt to make a dull character interesting.

<!–pagetitle:Justice League of America #7.4: Black Adam–>

Sterling Gates’ one-shot is more about Khandaq than Black Adam, but it’s nice to see one of DC’s more dynamic super-villains back in play… and pretty angry, into the bargain.

<!–pagetitle:Wonder Woman #23.2: First Born–>

Brian Azzarello fills in some of the First Born’s backstory, written from the view of three graffiti artists. It’s surprisingly compelling, albeit mostly a good tale in the telling; the First Born himself doesn’t get much dimension. But the script, and Aco’s art, make this worth picking up.

<!–pagetitle:Aquaman #23.2: Ocean Master–>

This title poses an interesting question; is Ocean Master a monster… or just completely different from humans? This story, from Tony Bedard, has an answer, and it’s a surprisingly compelling one. Ocean Master is essentially an alien, with his own set of rules and view on the world… and how it clashes and aligns with ours makes for interesting reading.

<!–pagetitle:Batman: Detective Comics #23.4: Man-Bat–>

Frank Tieri tells the story of Kirk Langstrom as he, for lack of a better term, falls. Tieri is telling a Greek tragedy here, and it really works as we chart a man completely fall apart. Scott Eaton and Jaime Mendoza do a great job on the art as well, making it a Villains Month one-shot you really should pick up.

<!–pagetitle:Batman And Robin #23.4: Killer Croc–>

Killer Croc was never the most compelling Batman villain…at least until Tim Seeley got his hands on him. Most of the Villains Month issues go into childhood trauma, but here, it makes sense and it isn’t used as a pat answer; furthermore, it gives Croc a background that makes this issue’s finale make a lot more sense. Well worth a read, and a more engaging story than you might think.

<!–pagetitle:Green Lantern #23.4: Sinestro–>

Matt Kindt approaches Sinestro from an interesting perspective; namely, that of his fawning hagiographer. Still, he’s straight-jacketed by Sinestro’s past, even if that does give Dale Eaglesham an interesting way to couch his panels; this book must have taken months. A good recap, but not the most compelling origin this week.

<!–pagetitle:Action Comics #23.4: Metallo–>

A lousy Superman villain gets the origin he deserves to make him worth reading about. Metallo is undeniably a bad guy, but Sholly Fisch and Steve Pugh do an interesting job of looking into the head of a man who thinks he’s a good guy wronged by the system.

<!–pagetitle:Batman #23.4: Bane–>

Peter Tomasi delivers an ice-cold story about the man who broke the Bat. Seriously, how the hell Tomasi got away with the gag on the fifth page of this issue, made all the funnier/more awful by Graham Nolan’s art, I have no idea. It’s a great moment, though, and immediately followed up by what defines Bane. Even if it’s shackled to Arkham War, this is a book worth reading.

<!–pagetitle:Superman #23.4: Parasite–>

Aaron Kuder, handling both art and writing, revamps another crappy villain into somebody, if not more interesting, than at least more logical. Parasite is now the kind of guy who nothing bad that ever happens to him is his fault. And to be fair, the chain of events that makes him a monster is triggered by bad luck, but he’s too wrapped up in self-pity and rage about how it isn’t fair to give a crap about who else he might be hurting. Kuder’s artwork helps a lot as well; it’s loose and he has a gift for the grotesque that makes this book stand out.

<!–pagetitle:Justice League #23.4: Secret Society–>

Geoff Johns and Sterling Gates fill in a little about what’s been going on over on Earth 2 with the Crime Syndicate of America. It’s mostly worth picking up for establishing a thread in Forever Evil and for Szymon Kudranski’s gorgeous, creepy art, but it’s not the best of the Villains Month one-shots this week.