‘Sex: Summer of Hard’ Comic Review
Sex. A topic that has become taboo and often times makes people very uncomfortable. At its core, it’s in our most primitive nature to remain sexually active. At a much deeper level, it’s an act that can connect people spiritually and emotionally.
So why is it such a difficult topic to discuss? Sex effects us all in a different way. And maybe that’s what drew me to Joe Casey’s Sex: The Summer of Hard; a graphic novel that follows a retiring billionaire hero as he finds ways to cope with life in filthy and twisted, Saturn City.
Simon Cooke is your Bruce Wayne equivalent; a heroic Armored Saint who commits to his dying mom that he would put the superhero activity to rest and focus on the multi-billion dollar business and the chance at a normal life. Cooke’s life is changing for sure, but Saturn City isn’t. The crime remains ever-present, and crime lords are actually taking advantage of the missing superhero. Often times Cooke finds himself wondering how he was going to save the city and even worse, how he can now just live in this filthy world.
Cooke becomes eager to fill the void left by his heroic work. Visits to his “13th floor” to scan the city and consider his options come off like the alcoholic revisiting his local night spot. He looks outwards, and with the knowledge of drugs, crime, and other dangerous substances he looks to what some find as a safer escape; sex.
My obsession with Batman makes this story very curious. What would Bruce Wayne be like if he had to remove all the stress, adrenaline, and activities of being a vigilante? Could he maintain a normal life? A normal relationship? Or would Bruce Wayne find something else, possibly much more taboo or as equally harmful, to fill that void.
The name Joe Casey might sound familiar. As a part of Man of Action studios, he and his friends have created Ben 10, the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, and the Big Hero 6 comic Disney just turned into a massively successful movie. So how does an author who writes for those stories change course and focus on a graphic novel with nudity, sex, brain splattering violence, and some twisted and dark story lines?
Very well actually. Casey’s plot in Sex: The Summer of Hard is well paced and masterfully crafted. This is the tale of a hero we have no investment in, but yet are so eager to learn more about due to the many parallels he shares with some of our favorite childhood heroes. Cooke’s life is becoming a cluttered mess as he torments himself with trying to avoid that rush at any capacity. His counterpart, Shadow Lynx, was a masked vixen who is still on the hunt for him. Cooke’s mother always told him she was in it just for him, and in so many ways we see that grace the comic book pages of major titles never to be explored at a psychological level.
Cooke never fully explores those desires. His first attempt is quickly foiled by an old friend that leaves him feeling uncomfortable and out of place. But Sex: The Summer of Hard doesn’t stray away from the subject and often feels its pages with adult themes and images. The graphic novel is not for anybody under the age of eighteen, but it doesn’t pretend to be. There isn’t a disguise here, the series showcases its topic right in its own title. Sex is looked at as an activity, an escape, and a chore depending on the characters involved. Even though Cooke doesn’t explore it like I believed he would when I picked up the title, the fact that everybody views sex differently is clearly outlined.
Sex: The Summer of Hard is not a graphic novel for everybody. But if you are looking to see how a powerless vigilante would handle his life after early retirement, this might be something to consider. The themes are very mature, and the content of the book is only for adults. However, if you do not find the topic of sex too taboo, you can get a glimpse into what Gotham would look like if Bruce Wayne were to retire early, and HBO was to have the rights to that world.