I tried really hard to think of a clever theme to tie Matt Fraction's Sex Criminals to volume3 of Spera, and god help me, I can't. It's probably for the best. Really, it's just that I got advance copies of both, and they're comics I've read in the past week. So I'll just review them, if that's all right with you.
First of all, I think it's quite daring for someone to publish something that makes him the number one hit when you Google "sex criminals." That takes some gumption, or something. I usually go right for Matt Fraction, but the premise here had me seriously skeptical--this guy and this girl discover that they both have the power to freeze time when they have an orgasm, so they decide to rob a bank.
Crazy, definitely. But tasteless? No, actually. It's one of the most sweet and sincere books about sex and falling for someone. Here we have two people who are both really into sex--and who both have a secret sex power. Suzie tells the story, starting in flashbacks to her childhood, then with meeting John, which is sweet and romantic and set up to be a really great one night stand, till they find out they have more in common than they ever would have imagined.
We get two coming of age stories--Suzie's rather sad one and John's kind of standard adolescence. We have a lot of "what would you do with your magic powers" fun scenes. And we have a lot about the complexities of navigating the beginning of a relationship with someone you're absolutely infatuated with but don't necessarily know that well yet. This was just such an incredibly charming read; I can't wait for the next volume.
(Also, make sure you read all the background filler--the posters in the porn shop, the signs in the library. Absolutely hilarious; the authors have a lot of fun with how silly a lot of these things are, sex-related and not.)
Josh Tierney's Spera has reached volume 3, and I feel about the same as I did about it before. I like Lono and Pira, two princesses on the run. I find Yonder charming, and I find their adventures fun. I am starting to feel, though, that I'd like a little more depth.
This volume teased it a bit--two young men from Lono's collapsed kingdom show up, enraged with their princess for abandoning her people. But I didn't want a story about these two boys learning not to be so angry--I wanted Pira and Lono to maybe turn around and see that if adventuring is what you want, you've got an evil queen and a conquered kingdom that maybe could use your attention.
As usual, there is a different artist for each story, and I find this distracting. I wish there was a little more harmony across the styles; I don't need them to match in look, but in tone, it would help. At least one of them I found so muddy it was quite hard to read. And at the end, you get a big handful of short stories, again, by different artists. These are charming, even more so in that you don't expect the same cohesion from them. I think I'd appreciate them a bit more if I followed the comic online instead of in book form, though.
So basically, what I want from Spira is to step up its game--turn into a more cohesive story. I appreciate that it's a light, adventuring princesses thing, and I don't mind if they don't end up facing Pira's mother. But I do think that the episodic snippets are starting to get in the way of character development, and I'd love to see this story do more. It's such a great concept, and such charming characters; I think it has a lot of potential.