You need this in your life. Bitch Planet is the most original derivative comic I’ve seen in years. It’s the child of Miller’s Martha Washington and the Riot Grrrl movement. Bitch Planet tosses social commentary, dystopia and exploitation in a blender for your smooth enjoyment. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro harness a collective female rage in a way that will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers. This doesn’t mean Bitch Planet is perfect. (Really, what is?)
Bitch Planet is a high concept book so the team works in tropes that will be familiar to fans of other Girls-In-Prison works. You want the honey trap? It’s here. It’s in issue #4 and it was the first time I said “Really, now?” to Bitch Planet. Of course our conventionally bad ass lead heroine uses her conventionally attractive body to lure in a conventionally vulnerable male guard for her own purposes. Because we get panels of her masturbating we wouldn’t otherwise get to have. Of course it works, because the expedient path of just killing her for her chutzpah doesn’t serve the needs of the story. Whatever. It’s the issue that bills a lesbian shower scene as it’s main attraction so the discussion of when is homage fan service is already subtext.
But back to my point. Bitch Planet is where non-compliant women are sent until they can properly respect the patriarchy. Viewers can goggle, Truman Show style, at their predicaments as a cautionary tale. This is a society of sport, where the pay-per-view of Bitch Planet‘s football substitute can end in deaths as easily as clean victories. The noncompliants are offered a deal – willingly engage in the spectacle for potential gain or continue in their incarceration. As in every dystopian, the woman make a devil’s bargain to further a plan of their own. Can they bring down the ruling class without becoming them? And will they ever meet a second fat chick?
Closing out Bitch Planet‘s single issue runs are third party essays on real world feminism. From the subtle pressures of changing yourself for a relationship to the obvious one of racism’s impact on girl’s lives, the essays elevate the material in a way destined to make some of it’s fan base wildly uncomfortable. The current plan to omit these from the trade paperback is a mistake that will lessen Bitch Planet‘s impact. You can laugh at the fake ads, you can admire the undulating female forms, but the cold fact of black girl incarceration is hard to ignore. In a world of teeth whitening botox push up bra hair straightening career tips, Bitch Planet is a comic of fresh air. Even better, as of this writing, the first issue is free digitally courtesy of ComiXology.
ComiXology link offering both of us $5 for new accounts here.