Bitch Planet #1 Review
By: Rob Neil Gruszecki
Cast out onto a prison planet for their “non-compliance”, several women are added to an ever increasing list of incarcerated contestants on Bitch Planet, or as the less coarse call it, the “Auxiliary Compliance Outpost”. Here on this penal colony designated for neutering and dulling the independent thought and expression of women the main undercurrent is incendiary. A brawl breaks out almost immediately as the newest members are introduced into the fold and chaos looks to be the natural order, or at least until the ‘Red Window’ closes. In an audacious first installment we get a taste of the coming apocalypse of the patriarchy and it is a glorious, exciting sample of what is to come.
Crashing together in a beautiful blend of science fiction and grindhouse, Kelly Sue Deconnick, along with the exemplary artwork of Valentine De Landro, concocts a clever and incredibly important work with Bitch Planet. With violence, satire and gritty genre mashup Bitch Planet evolves into an anthem of feminism that is bold and punk rock at its core. Smashing through the walls of oppression with a heavy boot forward, this new Image ongoing is a breath of fresh air in comics.
Deconnick’s voice proved to be an astoundingly poetic and dark one with her work on Pretty Deadly, taking fable archetypes and turning them on their head. Writing with a far different flair in Bitch Planet, Deconnick scripts an otherworldly exploitation flick that embraces the fun of its setting all while flipping off all the faults and gender roles of the typical trope filled B-Movie. The feeling I got from Bitch Planet was similar to what I felt when watching Cabin in the Woods which had a sincerity and tone of affection for its medium and genre all the while kicking it in its ass and tearing it apart with glee. There is so much to get out of every read and subsequent reread of Bitch Planet as it proudly establishes itself as another gem from Deconnick and Image.
Valentine De Landro’s pages are like Dave Aja in space with sprinkles of Garry Brown and Michael Walsh. With some really brilliant layouts throughout this first issue, De Landro establishes an entire world and its cast of characters in very unique and compelling ways. Some of his panel grids and character interactions are displayed with bravado that sticks with you (the introduction of the Catholic is a great page now burned into my mind forever) and the expression that he adds to many of his characters brings them right off the page, looking you in the eye. Bravely diving head first into this badass new series puts De Landro at the top of some of the more exciting artists in the medium working currently.
Bitch Planet is a truly excellent debut of a series that shines bright with a middle finger held up for all to see. “Go forth and be Non-Complient!”
Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday warrior
Follow him on Twitter @Ghost_Factory
Listen to his music www.Ghostfactory.bandcamp.com, read his comic series with Shae Frank, www.wildrosecounty.com or follow the Weekly Comics Round-Up Podcast www.Geekstampede.com