SFSX (Safe Sex) #2 Review

by Jay Hill on October 29, 2019

Written by: Tina Horn
Art by: Michael Dowling
Colors by: Chris O'Halloran
Lettered by: Steve Wand
Published by: Image Comics

It’s just like 1984. Except, this “Big Brother” is policing dirty-thoughtcrime specifically. The first issue coherently built the Orwellian world in which our characters inhabit. After our main character Avory’s perfect new life comes to a sudden halt, she returns to her underground roots looking for help from her former friends. However, some of them still hold grudges from her ditching them to protect herself. This leaves her on her own and on the run.

In this issue, we seem to have gotten to the meat of the story. Avory now plans to infiltrate the Pleasure Center, the parallel of the just as misleadingly named Ministry of Love, where the Party takes their suspected deviants for reformation. I really liked the exploration of Avory being forced back into the Dirty Mind to ask for help. She is undeniably acting selfishly, yet righteously, and is confronted on this. It had a nice ring of reality to it. Although we don’t live in an as repressed world, the thought and scene of someone leaving their “unsavory” group of comrades for a more stable or socially acceptable one have real-world parallels. Probably taken from experiences or events witnessed by the writer Tina Horn. Horn has been able to take what she stands and fights for in reality and warp it into the realm of fiction to tell a story teeming with multiple thought-provoking messages and themes. Some of them I agree with more than others, but I cannot help but respect the precise way she weaves the ideas into an interesting and engaging narrative. Although, I feel some of the more realistic elements can hurt this particular narrative. Grounding a dystopia in a familiar world can help some stories with relating more but can also bring up some questions. In real life, sexual freedom and expression should be protected like other human rights, but this story glances over some of the more disastrous sexual deviancies that exist in our real world. But, you just have to use common knowledge that the message is focused on the completely positive aspects of sexual nature because that’s the story being told. The characters fighting in the resistance, part of the Party, or somewhere in between all are illustrated with a stance that helps give a varied outlook on this wild dystopia. Tina’s grasp on the strengths of comic books is on display throughout. It’s amazing that in just 2 issues the world, characters, and plot has been so sophisticatedly laid out.

Michael Dowling’s art is also cementing the world. His use of black lines that bleed into shadows brings out a grittiness needed for a bleak environment and the scrappy rebel headquarters. But he also uses neat lines to indicate the order the Party has imposed on the world. Although not seen as much in this issue, he also has a great movement to his action scenes. The textured colors of Chris O'Halloran keep the grungy feel, too. They overlay every scene and immerse you inside this world with their aura. Letterer Steve Wands makes himself subtly apparent with nice wispy ends to the word bubbles and other mixes of style that make every word and letter printed on a page fun to look at and worth calling out.

The story is building towards a great climax. In just a couple of issues, there has been a lot explored and expressed. The enemy is so dominating that it makes it that much more exciting to see how, or if, they’ll be overthrown. And I’ve been left wanting more.

Our Score:


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