Image Comics 2019
Created & Written by Tina Horn
Illustrated by Michael Dowling
Lettered by Steve Wands
This series is rated Adults Only
DISCLAIMER: graphic sexuality
SFSX, a social thriller about sex, love, and torture that reads like SEX CRIMINALS in Gilead crossed with Oceans 8—with a SUNSTONE twist! In a draconian America where sexuality is bureaucratized and policed, a group of queer sex workers keep the magic alive in an underground club called the Dirty Mind. Using their unique bondage skills, they resolve to infiltrate the mysterious government Pleasure Centre, free their friends, and fight the power!
Okay this intrigues me in ways that I wasn't expecting and that alone, for me, is worth the price of admission. What Tina manages to do here is take the far right and show a possible future if they were to have complete control over the United States. Their policies and their beliefs forced upon a nation and if you deviate from their norm then you are arrested and taken away. We don't get into what happens with or to them yet but suffice it to say that what does happen is that Tina gets us all involved and engaged in ways that make the reader go off-script. Sometimes the scariest scenarios are the ones we come up with on our own and if they are what's intended or not is of no consequence.
I am not only impressed with how this is being told but I am thoroughly enjoying it come to life before my eyes. The opening here is perfectly done and it really does have an impact and not just because it's a warehouse orgy. There is a reason we are seeing this, it's not gratuitous in the slightest and I think that makes a huge difference. This isn't meant to shock anyone it's meant to make a statement, the point of the exclamation. Though I will be perfectly honest why we see Avory's boyfriend in a t-shirt and underwear perplexes me to no avail. That's neither here nor though because the open does precisely what it's supposed to do and it does extremely well in drawing the reader in and making us want to see and know more.
The story & plot development and how it works with the character development which is picked up by the pacing is able to reveal information, expose problems and bring a few interesting twists and turns. The groundwork that is being laid here can go a number of ways and that alone is exciting to me as is being hooked into this because of how my mind is engaged in the story, which should unique to everyone who reads it.
Michael's work on the interiors is nice to see. I appreciate the fact he's not afraid to draw a penis now let's see more of that and fully erect ha! When they are in bed why is his lower half under a sheet? It doesn't look right or natural but it's still a good image. I really do like the linework here and how we see the varying weights utilised to create the attention to detail. I have to admit that the way we see the backgrounds being utilised is great and how they enhance the moments, bring this size and scope to the book and a sense of scale and depth perception. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a sensational eye for storytelling. The colour work here is interesting to me. I get what we see and to be honest I wonder how many actually do.
There are a couple of different things that I see within in these pages and it's all in the writing and how Tina has managed to layer the book. While I am not surprised that the group wanting to stand up for themselves is hiding and trying to stay off the radar but where are the rational people who don't want to live like this? I almost feel like there should be an underground railroad for people wanting to get away from these nutjobs.
That we are getting books that are being told without shame without excuses and as a normal way of life is long overdue. Hollywood may feel the need to regurgitate old ideas but the originality we see in comics makes it a wonderful time to be a fan!