[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Avory looks back on her first meeting with Jones as she stands in the new and covert Dirty Mind. Sylvia is ready to throw Avory back out, but Avory pleads with Sylvia to help her save Avory’s husband, George. Casey takes Avory to a more secluded area before telling her that the Dirty Mind can’t help her. Avory betrayed everyone who worked there when she skipped out during the Party’s raid. Sylvia and Casey can’t just forget about that. Avory leaves the Dirty Mind in search for one last vestige of hope that she can get help to save George. That hope’s name is Nick, a tech bro with money and resources who was a major patron at the Dirty Mind years ago. Meanwhile, George’s reeducation begins.
SFSX #2 finds Avory reckoning with how she left the Dirty Mind years ago. She left her closest friends and colleagues in the lurch, and she’s asking a lot in returning out of the blue and expecting help.
It’s a pretty damn emotional sequence. It’s hard not to sympathize with Avory; it’s easy to hide away and let others take the fall because they won’t deny their own identities. However, Avory knows deep down that Sylvia and Casey are right. They’ve kept the spirit of Jones and the Dirty Mind going all this time, and they’re staying more true to who they are than Avory.
There’s a lot to be said about sexual identity, expression, and liberation in this issue as well. Plus, some of the Party’s talking points about transfolk are unnervingly reminiscent of real-life anti-trans sentiment.
Michael Dowling’s artwork is gritty, well-textured, and easy to lose yourself within. It looks damn good, and it matches the dystopian themes of the narrative and builds upon them. Despite the Party’s talk of purity, SFSX feels like a world in decay as those most vulnerable are preyed upon by the powerful and moneyed. Dowling is backed up by the color work of Chris O’Halloran, who drives home the dystopian vibe with dark and muted colors.
SFSX #2 is a stronger issue than the first. In addition to confronting the stigmatization of sexual identity and expression represented by the Party, it drives to an emotional core with the conflict between Avory and Sylvia. Avory wanted the quiet life and to deny who she is; Sylvia, Casey, and Jones couldn’t do that. SFSX #2 definitely earns a recommendation. Feel free to give it a read.
SFSX #2 comes to us from writer Tina Horn, artist Michael Dowling, color artist Chris O’Halloran, letterer Steve Wands, and cover artist Tula Lotay.
Final Score: 8.5/10