Into The Labyrinth (SFSX #2 Comic Review)

Written & Created by Tina Horn

Drawn by Michael Dowling

Colored by Chris O’Halloran

Cover Art by Tula Lotay

Lettered by Steve Wands

Edited & Designed by Laurenn McCubbin

“You can’t just pick and choose when you want a normal life and when you want an adventure.”

In This Issue: Issue #2 of SFSX opens with a bit of backstory. We learn that Avory was chosen specifically by Jones to bring her talents as a film maker to The Dirty Mind—it was Jones who invited her into the family. Unfortunately for Avory, that family is adamant that they will not help her now, in her hour of need. Sylvia, Jones’ girlfriend, is still livid with Avory for disappearing during the raid at the old Dirty Mind. Incensed that Avory would even think of turning to them for help after her disappearance—and worse, possibly being followed to the new Dirty Mind by the police—Sylvia makes it known that Avory is not welcome among her former friends. Casey takes Avory up to the roof, via the Free Box to pick up some less Party-Approved clothes, and then proceeds to give Avory as harsh a speech as Sylvia had. No one trusts her, no one is going to help her with her half-baked plan to break into the Pleasure Center (housed in the building of the first Dirty Mind) to try to break George out.

George, meanwhile, has come-to somewhere in the Pleasure Center. A man, Dr. Powell, fills George in on what’s happened while he was unconscious—the raid at the apartment, the discovery of George and Avory’s sexual contraband, and now, that George will be undergoing ‘Reformation Treatment’.

After her failure to find help at The Dirty Mind, Avory looks up Nick, a former client. Nick leads a bit of a double life, working for The Party by day, designing the programs that allow them to infiltrate everyone’s lives, and by night, patronizing the old Dirty Mind. Nick was a big fan of Avory’s work, and she was fond of him. He hasn’t seen her since before the raid, so Avory catches him up with her story and asks him to help her—he says yes.

My Two Cents: Where issue #1 of SFSX gave us the setup—all the information we needed to be able to understand the story—issue #2 has given us the push forward into the narrative. The relationships between the characters are becoming more defined, and the journey to the resolution of the conflict has been outlined. As in issue #1, the writing and art remain solid, and there is one particular page in issue #2 that I feel is worth pointing out. After Avory’s encounter with Sylvia in the new Dirty Mind, Casey takes her up to the roof. The reader gets to see the interior of the building as a cross-section, all the different rooms and people and activities, at the same time as we follow the characters to their destination. It’s a clever artistic device, and although it is a start contrast to the format of the rest of the book, it doesn’t feel out of place—it works.

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Elizabeth Fazzio
South Bay native turned East Bay resident. Holder of two less-than-useful arts degrees. Human Resources professional by day, creative recluse the rest of the time. Favorite words: Weasel, toast. Mental health advocate--https://makeitok.org
Elizabeth Fazzio
Summary
I love that this book exists. It's a hard, no-frills look at the ramifications of an invasive authority—in their quest for total control they are only serving themselves, much though they proclaim otherwise. In this case, the authoritative body is attempting to harness control over what is possibly the most personal, intimate means of expression there is. In books—and in life—we've seen political groups attack such things as faith and art and force them to serve the state. We've seen them attack 'the other', any outsider or person who didn't fit their ideal mold, criminalize anything they determined to be undesirable. We still see it with minorities and the LGBTQ+ community and the community from which SFSX was born, that of the sex worker. The more of these stories we are exposed to, the more that are written and circulated, the more these subjects are shouted from the rooftops, saying, “We are here. We exist. And we are valid.” the better.
Good
  • Extras within the book
  • Art and story blend seamlessly
Bad
  • Story is a bit predictable
7.8
Good
Art - 8
Writing - 8
Story - 8
Predictability - 7
Written by
South Bay native turned East Bay resident. Holder of two less-than-useful arts degrees. Human Resources professional by day, creative recluse the rest of the time. Favorite words: Weasel, toast. Mental health advocate--https://makeitok.org

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