Issue #1 – Bitch Planet (2014)

BitchPlanet_01-1Title: Bitch Planet #1

Writer: Kelly Sue Deconnick

Artist: Valentine De Landro

The Buzz: You had me at Kelly Sue Deconnick. But the idea of Orange is the New Black in Space was pretty damned tantalising too. This is an out and out intersectional feminist rage machine of a story, touted as “Margaret Atwood meets Inglourious Basterds.”

All You Need To Know: In a world where female compliance is mandatory, women who break the rules are shipped off to “Bitch Planet,” a prison outpost with a side order of grotesquely invasive reality TV. So maybe like The Hunger Games but with more angry naked middle aged women who want to cut you.

Story: Men suck. Specifically, Marian’s husband really, really sucks. But Marian, the devastated, completely innocent (if slightly non-compliant) middle aged white lady prisoner, is not the hero of this story. Penny Rolle can’t fit her tits in that uniform, and Kamau Kogo will beat you up so hard if you cross her, or anyone she chooses to protect. I can’t even start with telling you what’s going on, but it’s snarky and confronting and basically amazing.

non compliant

Art: This book is full of female nudity, but in a – I don’t know how else to put this – deliberate, political way. An extraordinary range of body types and powerful imagery of non-compliant women rioting and messing each other up more than makes up for the ‘oh hello, vaginas’ factor, and the extreme violence. This book has a lot to say about gender and race, and it’s saying it through the art as well as the writing. Portraying a lot of female nudity for narrative reasons other than sexualisation is a pretty difficult thing to do, especially in a story that’s at least partly about the exploitative use of female bodies… it’s good, and it’s awful, and I’m glad this is the artist on this book because he makes the story feel like art. The use of colour (especially pink) is almost as clever and memorable as the use of purple in the David Aja Hawkeye run.

But What Did I Miss?: Nothing, Bitch Planet is new, it’s original and creator-owned, start here and never look back. Just so you have no doubt about the intention behind this story, the back matter of issue 1 includes an overtly intersectional feminist essay on Bitch Planet and racial politics, by Danielle Henderson of Feminist Ryan Gosling.

Would Read Issue 2?: Why is this not on my iPad already?

penny rolle

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