When I review comics, I am not reviewing them for people that are already into them (because you get it). I am reviewing them for people that think how I used to: “Comics are for lazy people that don’t want to read REAL books.” (I was a fucking prick. I don’t want you to be a prick. See, public service. We do that shit here.)
For my first comic review, I chose BITCH PLANET. Yeah, that is the title. The main reason that I chose this comic is because I couldn’t believe what I read in the first issue. Rarely do I read a first issue and immediately re-read it to make sure that I didn’t miss anything. I went through so many emotions ranging from excitement over the characters and anger because the dystopian domain in which they live is all too familiar.
In 1978, Assata Shakur wrote an essay titled “Women in Prison: How It Is With Us,” while serving a life sentence in Rikers. An excerpt of this essay is below:
“For many the cells are not much different from the tenements, the shooting galleries and the welfare hotels they live in on the street. Sick call is no different from the clinic or the hospital emergency room. The fights are the same except they are less dangerous. The police are the same. The poverty is the same. The alienation is the same. The racism is the same. The sexism is the same. The drugs are the same and the system is the same.”
Why am I including this? Because somehow Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel, Pretty Deadly) and Valentine De Landro (X-Factor, Shadowman) have managed to bring that essay to life, via a comic… and it is AMAZING! I can’t begin to understand how fine a line it is that you must tread when you create a feminist exploitation comic, but DeConnick and De Landro did it.
The first issue introduces us to the Auxiliary Compliance Outpost, also known as “Bitch Planet,” a penal colony of women located off Earth. Through the illustration, you notice that all of the women are going through initial processing and being physically abused by the guards that have made a game out of their torture. What would an exploitation comic be without nudity? I couldn’t help but admire the body shapes used for the women. None were “perfect” by society’s standards, and yet they were all perfect in their representation of real women.
Amongst these women, you notice that there is an innocent woman, Marian Collins. Collins tries to plead her case regarding her innocence and provokes the attention of the abusive guards. In doing so, the not-so-innocent prisoners come to Collins’ aid, and that is when we are introduced to our protagonist…
As you can tell, things don’t end up very well for Collins, but you can tell that this is the beginning of what is to come. I genuinely want you to read this comic so I am going to try to summarize as much as I can in this paragraph. These women are on Bitch Planet because they are considered insubordinate, or, as stated in the book, guilty of “Non-Compliance.” They wear an NC on their chest because of this. Who determines their non-compliance? Patriarchal government on Earth. Yeah bitch… yeah. Piss off a man by speaking your mind and you end up in fucking jail. I am going to stop typing right now. I have included more words in this review than there are in the entire first issue.
Check it out. I love it. If you already read it, what have been your favorite parts?
Oh wait! Penny Rolle!! MOTHAFUCKING PENNY ROLLE!!! Just look below. I am out.
You can pick up BITCH PLANET at your local comic shop or try https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/bitch-planet-1.
It is also on comixology.com.