As Fraction and Zdarsky’s clockwork universe of time-stopping sexual exploration broadens its scope, we’re introduced to Ana Kincaid. Better known as Jon’s pubescent sexual idol Jazmine St. Cocaine, Sex Criminals #9 tells of how a small town girl rose to porn star fame and discovered her otherworldly sexual abilities. While the set-up is certainly familiar, this is the story of Ana’s journey from porn to academia, subverting the blame-and-shame tropes surrounding sex work with Ana’s fresh perspective.
With Jon and Suzie reconciling their complicated relationship status, Jon begins looking into the others on the Sex Police’s radar. This is how we meet Ana. Born into typical small-town mediocrity as Rae Anne Toots, throughout high school Ana balances her academic success with the thrills of her hard-partying lifestyle. High school’s cheap thrills wane as she looks forward to college, but Ana’s attempts to begin her life are thwarted when her father refuses to help her pay for school. On her own, Ana struggles to pay for her education with a minimum wage job before an excursion to a strip club clues her into the serious cash-making potential of stripping. She leaves McDonald’s behind to become a stripper, becoming addicted to the sense of sexual freedom and power that comes with it. She also develops an addiction to cocaine, and soon college is left to the backburner.
When the excitement of her current work fades, Ana goes on to modeling and later porn to recapture the rush. In a sequence that lovingly parodies Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s The Wicked and The Divine, Ana’s first foray into porn unlocks her secret power when she has her first real orgasm. Having suffered a childhood injury that left her unable to feel sexual pleasure, this transcendent time-stopping experience becomes Ana’s new addiction, chasing it throughout her career. With time and sobriety, Ana’s fascination with her experiences in the Quiet/Cumworld become an academic preoccupation, and eventually she leaves porn to become a horology professor. This is how Jon and Suzie meet her in the closing pages of the issue, in her office at the local college, studying how sex and time coincide.
Fraction’s voice for Ana is one of the strongest in the series so far, a no-nonsense perspective on sex and addiction that breathes some new life into this series. While Jon and Suzie are competent narrators, their respective emotional baggage views the Quiet/Cumworld through a melancholy lens that, at times, feels a little repetitive. Ana’s clinical understanding of their powers helps to shed some light on the larger world that these characters operate in, and reorients Jon and Suzie’s story in a more proactive direction. The nuanced treatment of her story is engaging, and delivers one of the best stand-alone issues in the book.
As ever Zdarsky’s rendering of her scenes is both humorous and heartfelt, and employs some meaningful imagery throughout. The appearance of Gillen as the director of Ana’s first porn is an amusing touch, as is the eight-panel splash of Ana’s career portfolio, true to the title’s irreverent, tongue-in-cheek tone. He also manages to make Ana’s treks the Quiet/Cumworld specific and unique to her story, despite the recycled color and texture overlays that serve as visual shorthand, distancing her from Jon and Suzie’s shared experiences.