Bitch Planet (Issue #1)
Author: Kelly Sue Deconnick
Artist: Valentine De Landro
Release Date: December 10, 2014
Publisher: Image Comics
Source: Bought and Owned
Genre(s): Sci-Fi, Action, Exploitation
Comixology | Things From Another World
When I was a junior in high school, one of the first books I read in the International Baccalaureate program was The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. There had been plenty of books I had read for school and enjoyed before then, but I don’t remember being as enthralled with them as I was with this one. We tended to focus mostly on the imagery of the book, but not the message of how oppression of women was still alive and well in the world. Ever since then, I’ve had a little fear in the back of my head of the religious right taking out Congress and bringing forth the Republic of Gilead. It seems to grow bigger every year.
Bitch Planet #1 brings about a similar feeling on the first read, but also flashbacks to the first time I watched a Tarantino movie and Orange Is The New Black. Our first issue introduces us to an arrival on the Auxiliary Compliance Outpost, a women’s prison planet informally known as “Bitch Planet.” This is where women marked as “Non-Compliant” on Earth are sent for a variety of reasons. Oppression is alive and well and there’s no fertility imagery for English programs to hide behind. It’s upfront and stark, but something that can be fought against.
I’ll admit, there’s a fair amount of the background of this story that I know from Dragon Con this year that I’m not letting on. Specifically because DeConnick threatened to find us if we told the internet the secrets she was telling us. I can tell you that I already knew the general gist of how the first issue was going to end.
Still, even with all the secrets, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the comic. It didn’t stop the fact that I had to stop and put my phone down for a second when we learn why Marian Collins ended up in prison, because the attitude that brought her there still runs rampant. That I looped back around to it when Suzie asked in Sex Criminals #9 “Do you really think it’s my fault?” That it features large women, women of color, and women of color refusing to put up with people’s shit and protecting each other.
It didn’t take away from the fact that I couldn’t stop thinking about the not so subtle commentary even as I went about the rest of my day.
That I walked a little bit taller and felt a little less tolerant of people’s crap.
A first issue doesn’t need to tell me everything. It needs to be an introduction that makes me want to come back for the rest of the story it tells. If this first issue is any indication, we may have one of the best comics of 2015 on our hands as well as one of the most feminist comic books to ever grace the shelves.