Sex #1 Review
By: Rob Neil Gruszecki
Saturn city has its finger on the pulse and the pulse is located in a dense haze of the most sought after product in the history of mankind. Something that is at the very core of our existence, responsible for every human walking the Earth. More influential and persuasive than the crisp feel of money between your fingertips. More important to most than any semblance of family, friendship or even happiness.
Taking a quick trip around the city will expose you to an all encompassing red light district and sexually charged environment propagated by the acquisition and distribution of sex. Every single outlet is themed and geared towards a blatant promotion of promiscuity as though vendors have dismissed their efforts to be even remotely subtle in their marketing. At the core of a lot of these business ventures lies the Cooke company and its C.E.O has returned from a decade long stint of dressing in tights, taking to the skies and fighting crime. As a result crime organizations have lifted their weary heads from the pavement which his costumed alter-ego, the Armoured Saint, drove them into and Saturn city has taken a turn for the worse. With the city’s capes hung up for more revenue driven ventures we follow new citizens as they stumble, sexually frustrated and bored through the slum they once protected from perversion and degradation.
Joe Casey (Butcher Baker The Righteous Maker) scripts this new series from Image Comics inviting us to take a look into the psyche of an ex-super hero, wading through a world of sex and increasing violence with nothing to do except sit back and watch. The characterization of Simon Cooke as he returns to his home city for the first time in over a decade as a civilian is that of an apathetic and bored man with a purpose, recently eluded and as a result quelled, to be replaced by the pursuit of money and stock-holders. All this as a result of a promise made to someone who’s relevance or station is yet to be revealed. Casey’s universe is interesting and Cooke’s dilemma is a curious one. Hopefully as the series continues more will be drawn on as in this first issue we are simply given allusions to the Simon’s previous station, his relationship with a particular woman who’s death bed he visits and the appearance of another caped crime-fighter from his past. Ultimately all the story beats and teases for upcoming character development is intriguing to say the least.
Artistically this first issue of Sex is a great match for the mysterious and low-key script. Character designs are subtle and generally Simon Cooke is drawn with a meandering grimace to his face, accentuating his displacement within the whole regular, depowered world. Piotr Kowalski pulls of an excellent job with his pencils for this issue. For me however the feature that really made the book were Brad Simpson’s colours. Throughout the issue the Vegas style lighting explodes off the page and character emotions are expressed through alternate colour pallets that make the book beautiful to look at and exotic amongst the concrete garden that comprises Saturn City’s aesthetic.
One complaint however is that throughout the book’s lettering certain words are highlighted in separate bricks of colour within the word balloons and upon re-reading I couldn’t quite come up with any adequate explanation for the words distinction amongst the rest. At first it looks as though the words are exaggerated as an innuendo or emphasis in speech but upon examination half the words seemed purely random as though accented for flair in which case it was just distracting. If there was an intent on following some flow then half the words simply didn’t fit within any parameters that made sense or followed any pattern that I could discern.
Despite a really minor flaw in the book for me I felt that Sex is a clever spin on the superhero genre and an interesting dystopian look at modern culture and our species’ main obsession and drive.
Rob Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday warrior
Follow him on twitter @Ghost_Factory
Listen to his music www.ghostfactorymusic.com