Comic Review – Bitch Planet #2

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he is going to attempt a mini review of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

This week I picked Bitch Planet #2, from Image Comics. When the first issue came out I was tied up and unable to put out a review, so I thought it was worth addressing that this week. Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and illustrated by Valentine De Landro, with colours by Cris Peter and letters from Clayton Cowles, the highly anticipated Bitch Planet started at the end of last year, described by Image as “Margaret Atwood meets Inglorious Basterds”. That alone was enough to make me check it out.

In the world of Bitch Planet, ‘non compliance’ is punished by incarceration at the Auxiliary Compliance Outpost, known commonly as ‘Bitch Planet’ – a women-only penal colony. Non compliance is an incredibly loose term that covers basically any woman that is an inconvenience to the patriarchy, whether that be a crime like murder, or merely having a problem with their husband’s infidelity. The world is an extreme misogynistic dystopian society, the rulers of which appear to maintain peace by apparently distilling the violent tendancies of humanity into a sports spectacle known as ‘Duemila’, or ‘Megaton’. Inmate Kogo Kamau, currently in solitary for a murder she did not commit during a prison riot, is approached with an offer. People are losing interest in Megaton, and those that run it think that including a team from Bitch Planet may inject more enthusiasm into the viewing public. Kam is given the task, if she accepts, to form a group from her fellow inmates to compete. Just as Megaton may becoming a little more deadly…

This is an exploitation style story, and while it depicts an exaggerated and terrible future, there are themes that run through Bitch Planet that are depressingly relevant. DeConnick weaves a tight story, eking out details slowly over these two issues to build the world and the characters that inhabit it. Kam is stoic and angry, with the details of her crime/non-compliance yet to be revealed, and the others that will likely make up her team are an interesting bunch too. In the backmatter DeConnick states that every 3rd issue will be a backstory of a particular inmate, starting with Penny Rolle next month. She also outlines her intent for the book, and a bit about the essays that are also being included. This month’s was written by Tasha Fierce, discussing the cultural misconceptions of feminism, and like the one included in issue one it was a fascinating read, really fitting in with the feel of the book.

De Landro’s art has a really nice pop style, with everything back on Earth looking drab, besuited and dull, with everyone somehow looking annoyingly smug and pleased with themselves, while the environs of the outpost look garish and intense, monitors assaulting the inmates eyes with fitness videos and corseted matrons. The colours from Peter bring this to an almost neon level, making it stand out nicely compared to the discussions of Megaton ratings in offices on Earth. The pages for Violet and Meiko’s proposals to Kam about the team were a fantastic example of how well the art team is working together, with the panels focussing on Kam and the other women running on a treadmill towards the reader, a bright pink fitness instructor on the screens behind, and in between a riot, started by Penny Rolle, gradually (and hilariously) building panel by panel.

I loved this issue and the first of Bitch Planet. It provides a unique comic tale enjoyable in its own right, but also giving the reader plenty of important subject matter to think about if they want to, in both the main story itself and the backmatter included along with it. Pick this up at your local LCS or digitally, and either get issue #1 digitally or grab the 2nd printing in 2 weeks. However you do it, jump on Bitch Planet. Now.

9.5 Non-Compliants out of 10

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