Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by Valentine De Landro
Colors by Cris Peter
Published by Image Comics
Release Date: 12/10/2014
Ever since this title was announced at Image Expo earlier this year, it seems as if the entire comic book world (including myself) has been eagerly anticipating the first issue. The creative team does not disappoint, as they have taken a page from the women in prison exploitation films, and are proceeding to tell a story around it that delivers a powerful message.
Bitch Planet is about a women’s prison located on a planet that is referred to as the Auxiliary Compliance Outpost. We have a diverse range of incarcerated women who are warned that here, non-compliance will not be tolerated. We have characters like Penelope Rolle, Kamau Kogo, and Marian Collins, who have all been institutionalized for crimes that they may or may not have committed back on Earth, compliance issues if you will. Although not everything is explained on exactly how they ended up on Bitch Planet, the series seems prepared to underline the circumstances that may have led to their institutionalization.
In the first six panels (on Earth), we see examples of gender as a social construct, in this case advertisements acting as the variables shaping gender. Images and text relaying the message that women should weigh less or have clearer skin in order to meet societal compliances. As Danielle Henderson writes in an essay at the end of the first issue, “The striking thing about Bitch Planet is that we’re already on it. We don’t have to get thrown on a shuttle to be judged non-compliant.”
Valentine De Landro captures the essence of your classic seventies oppressed women behind bars movie, and combines it nicely with its futuristic setting. His depiction of the women on this penitentiary is honest and really displays his range, and Cris Peter’s colors provide a perfect blend and variations of blue and purple (which I love).
It’s difficult for many people in our society to fully grasp the social constructions of gender, and all the factors we see on a day-to-day basis that influence it. Factors such as culture, ethnicity, color, and media are some examples that shape gender, and I am really looking forward to how Kelly Sue DeConnick might incorporate this in future issues. Nevertheless, DeConnick is off to a fantastic start in this debut issue, which may be one of the most important and relevant comics to come out this year.
REVIEW: BITCH PLANET #1
Peter Rodriguez (Geek Sushi)