Publisher: Image Comics
Written By: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Drawn By: Valentine De Landro and Robert Wilson IV
Released: October 7, 2015
So, what do you get if you put Orange Is The New Black and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale in a blender? I’m not really sure myself, but it would probably look like Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Bitch Planet.
The story centers around a prison planet officially designated an Auxiliary Compliance Outpost, but is known colloquially as Bitch Planet. It is a detention center where women who are deemed “non-compliant” by the ruling council (called fathers) are sent. Non-compliancy can be anything that the fathers deem it as, such as an actual crime (such as assault or murder), or for simply not conforming to beauty standards, or not being heterosexual. There is one minor character in the book named Marilyn who is imprisoned because she has Down’s syndrome.
The main character is a woman name Kamau Kogo, who, in her prior life, was a professional athlete. She had volunteered to go to Bitch Planet, apparently as part of a plan to find her sister. While there, she is approached by the administration with a proposition: to put together a team for a sport called Megaton to play a televised match against a team of men. Of course, this isn’t as simple as it seems.
The art style for the comic is quite good, if fairly standard. One thing I found interesting is that each issue ends with a series of advertisements, the kind that you would see in the backs of comics from the golden or silver age. There is also one issue that tells the backstory of one of the characters, where flashbacks to her childhood are drawn in a silver age style.
In fact, I would like to talk more about that story, which is in issue 4. The character in question is named Penelope Rolle. She is incarcerated for assault, as well as obesity (and it seems like her weight offends the fathers more than the assault). In this issue, Penelope is hooked up to a machine that’s supposed to show in a mirror what she thinks her ideal self would look like. They flip the switch…
…And the mirror just shows Penelope, completely unchanged. The next few panels:
Penny is easily my favorite character in the comic. She could not give less of a fuck what other people think of her.
Simply put, Bitch Planet is a fantastic comic and you should read it. This volume can currently be found on Comixology for $7.99, with the sixth volume available for $3.99.