Written & Created by Tina Horn
Drawn & Colored by Michael Dowling
Cover Art by Tula Lotay
Lettered by Steve Wands
Edited & Designed by Laurenn McCubbin
“Purity will set you free.”
In This Issue: Image Comics’ new title SFSX (Safe Sex) follows the story of former sex worker Avory Horowitz. The story is set in San Francisco, where The Party, an ultra-conservative religious organization bent on exercising its doctrine over American civil life, has been gaining power expeditiously for a decade. They hold San Francisco in their conformist, authoritarian grasp, and are hellbent on harnessing the power of pleasure for purposes of mass control. After a raid on Avory’s workplace, The Dirty Mind—a last stand of sexual freedom in an otherwise prim and prudish city—Avory’s boss and hero, Jones, is taken by The Party, never to be heard from again. Avory, terrified and broken by the destruction of the one place she felt safe, decides to toe the line. She marries her boyfriend, George. George goes to work at the Pleasure Center where he processes Purity Scores for the government. Avory tries to adjust to a more conservative lifestyle, tries to fit in, tries to get a day job. Her former friends want little to do with her, though when Avory forgets to file some necessary government paperwork and George disappears trying to do it for her, she is forced back into the sexual underworld—and the new Dirty Mind.
My Two Cents: SFSX is not one to pull for the kiddiewinks, though I rather think that you would have divined that yourself from the cover. Horn’s writing and Dowling’s art play off each other brilliantly, highlighting the seedy and the devastating and the tense and the lonely. There is a good deal of narration in this issue which, while necessary in a first issue, can sometimes can detract from the flow of the story. The team have managed to weave it in in such a way, however, that it reads naturally. So far I have only one quibble, which is an overzealous use of bold in the dialogue which inhibits smooth reading and necessitates more thought than a reader should have to exert, but overall SFSX looks as though it’s going to be an intense, thought-provoking series, full of heart and guts…and sex.