SFSX (Safe Sex) #7 Review

by Jay Hill on March 10, 2020

Written by: Tina Horn
Art and colors by: Jen Hickman
Lettered by: Steve Wands
Published by: Image Comics

“'If there is hope,' wrote Winston, 'it lies in the proles.'“ - Nineteen Eighty-Four

This issue begins with glimpses of happier times (are times ever really happy when you’re under the Party’s rule?) as we look back at Avory and George’s union. I really enjoyed the (terrifying) idea of group marriages. It’s not long before we're back to the bleak(er) present. The escape from the Pleasure Center is still ongoing and the shocking death from the last issue plays out. Speaking of shocking deaths, there soon comes another one and the entire scene moved a bit fast for me to really digest what went down. If I was to state one downside of this issue it is that things seemed to go a bit too fast at times, but the developments were interesting to watch. The in-fighting of the Party is given more development. The two members who were set-up to start bickering have their positions in the Party made clear by the end of this issue. Although, I wouldn’t have minded it being left in a less final place. The battle of their ideas and power struggle is finished by the end of this issue. The in-fighting, however, does seem far from over.

But this change in power also changes the Party’s message. Where the idea of the Party seemed to be suppression because of their own insecurities/desire to control, similar to how this sort of suppression works in the real world, it now is driven by a more “masculine” motivation. Where the dystopia was one based on suppression of urges because of the fear and misunderstanding of those urges, the main figurehead for the Party now seems to be doing it with a “toxic masculinity” sort of mindset. I hate to invoke the word, but the main villain is sounding like an “incel”. I do like how it seems like a distinct “arc” change like when a new villain appears to challenge the heroes in a different way than the last. But, the “sex is bad” message is more believably engrossing than some dude saying, “these girls are taking our manhood”. At one point the rallying, tiki-torch carrying crowd is shown reacting to the speech and it seems to be made up of only men. The previous goal of the Party had entire families indoctrinated, but it seems this new message would only mobilize men. However, maybe this new message will begin to show the fallacy behind the Party. Maybe they’re getting so muddled that the hold they have on the mind of the public will loosen. And, even if that doesn’t take, the hold seems to be loosening anyway. We are given glimpses of how the uprising may be starting. The Dirty Mind group gets a chance and they take it. They attempt to reach the ears and open the eyes of the public. This is where my 1984 quote comes into play because if there is any hope to take down the Party, it lies with these people.

The art in this issue continues with the style Jen Hickman has put into place. The coloring is still my favorite thing about the book. In this issue, there are a few scene changes and the coloring does well to stay varied and interesting. I just noticed the lack of outlines on the panels is what has been attributing to the “modern” aesthetic I feel when reading it (that and the sharp angles). The lettering by Steve Wands also mimics those edges and gives it a modern almost digital aura. The swooping dialog balloons are also nice touches. There was also a brutality and anxiety brought out by the coloring and visuals in this issue.

SFSX #7 brings about a distinct feeling of change. By the end, it feels like a page has turned and a new chapter is set to begin. Things move fast in this issue, but that also means plenty happens. The Party is still an interesting entity that you want to see be torn down and the Dirty Mind crew are just the folks you want to see do it. I’m not sure what’s in store, but this dystopian world feels just as ready for change as when the book first began.

Our Score:


A Look Inside