Sex Criminals, for all of its inherent absurdity, silly dildo-centric panels, and groan-worthy puns, is stealthily intelligent and feminist. The story makes it clear from the beginning that masturbation and sex aren’t shameful acts, as Suzie goes from person to person trying to learn more about what’s happening to her and her body. At one point, when Suzie jokes about a porn actress while reading her Wikipedia page, the actress shoots back via the computer: “I’m a real person, y’know. And, just because I’m a sex worker, you don’t get to shame me or insult me or insist I came from a background of molestation and abuse.” But Sex Criminals never loses its sense of humor; the porn actress is later seen starring in a parody of The Wicked + The Divine (a separate, and also brilliant, comic series that Fraction and Zdarsky are fans of) titled, of course, The Lick-ed + The Divine.
In a later issue, when Suzie is having a poor reaction to her birth control pills, she visits her gynecologist to learn about alternate methods of contraception. It’s simultaneously funny and informative, with the super-attractive Dr. Robert Rainbow reeling off the various pros and cons of different contraceptives as Suzie fantasizes about him stripping down. Her doctor whips off his belt while talking about condoms, and is down to his underwear when he gets to diaphragms. It’s funny but slyly educational, and all of the information, as Fraction says in a footnote, is taken directly from Planned Parenthood.
Above all, Sex Criminals is a fantastic comic series, one where every issue feels too short and the wait between releases feels excruciatingly long. It’s also a series that’s poised to take over — just today, news broke of a television adaptation — and every bit of success is well deserved: It’s a comic that’s beautiful and addictive but, more importantly, both funny and empowering.