- Sex, by Joe Casey
For starters, let me just say how difficult it was to find an image of a cover for this particular comic. Go ahead, do a search for “Sex comic” and see what you pull up… yeah, not exactly what I was looking for. Now that we have that out of the way…
Imagine what would happen if Batman were to simply quit the superhero business. That is the basic premise behind Image Comics’ series, Sex, by Joe Casey… but there are more than a few twists to what you may be imagining, and almost all of those twists are exceptionally adult, risque, and kinky to say the least.
Simon Cooke has returned to Saturn City, the city that he protected as the Armored Saint before retiring from the lifestyle. Like Batman, he is a wealthy man who has now decided to pay attention to the business that carries his name… only he doesn’t really understand how to live a normal life. Included in that dysfunction is his lack of understanding when it comes to the fairer sex, and more specifically, sex itself.
Think about the real life implications of being a superhero… you would have no real relationships, you wouldn’t be able to grow in a normal fashion emotionally or socially… you would be beholden to an image, to an ideal… and Simon Cooke is learning how to comport himself in a world that is obsessed with the very thing he does not understand. Unfortunately, he made a promise to his long time friend and confidant, Quinn, that he would give up the vigilante business… but Simon doesn’t know of any other way.
Joining him in his discovery are old foes and new friends… one, Shadow Lynx, aka Annabelle LaGravenese, has given up the life of crime in order to run a brothel (that doesn’t make much sense… I guess it’s still crime, just more acceptable). She found a particular pleasure in her exchanges with the Armored Saint and is there to help her old friend/foe. Another, Prank Addict, a villain past his prime, but still yearning for the days of yore when his name meant something other than “wash-out”. There are other baddies whose intentions are still unclear… but the series is only ten issues in, so anything could happen.
I must say, Simon is a bit of a depressing wet blanket for much of the first book (issues 1-8). He is in a constant stupor, bordering on being anhedonic thoughout much of the story… but it the swirling tides of those around him and the draw you feel that he has towards his old life that has drawn me into the story. His old sidekick, Keenan, refuses to give up the lifestyle, and it may be embroiling him into something very dangerous and incredibly risky… and it is now becoming known to Mr. Cooke.
The artwork by Piotr Kowalski is beautifully drawn… sumptuous and lush… which works extremely well for what amounts to a visual feast for those so inclined… and what I mean by that is that this book is chock full of titillating images that honestly amounts to comic porn. This is an instance where the title does in fact represent precisely what this book really is all about… sex, sex, and more sex. Guy on girl, guy on guy, girl on girl, guy alone, girl alone, and every other permutation you can think of… this book seems intent on covering it all, and showing you every visceral detail.
For all the Batman comparisons that I’ve heard, and they are fairly apt comparisons in the general sense of a brooding superhero with a cat-like foil, I would much more liken Simon Cooke and the Armored Saint to Nite Owl of Watchmen fame. Not Hollis Mason, but instead Dan Drieberg… the sexually frustrated and repressed hero itching to get back into the suit in order to get it up again. The main difference is that at least Dan knew what to do with it once he was hard… Simon, not so much.
The story is a slow boil… very little happens in the first eight issues, but the action begins to pick up in the second arc, and I have found myself curious as to what comes next… patience is a must in this tale of depravity.
I would very much recommend Sex to those with more prurient tastes who are interested in the psychology behind those in masks… for those who are a bit squeamish about such things, I might not suggest picking it up… things get rather graphic.
I like Sex,
Cornelius J. Blahg
PS: My apologies for the lack of images in this post… I honestly couldn’t find any online that were appropriate for the blog.