First off: if you missed #1, don’t sweat it – dive right in. I feel I have to say this because this is one of those great comics you don’t want anyone to miss. Image is a power house of innovative, exciting, challenging content right now, and Bitch Planet is all of these and more.
It’s tempting, and easy, for dystopic tropes to feel tired, but DeConinck proves her mastery once again here. In first issue, she pulled a masterful, Noirish bait and switch on the reader (and other than that, I’m staying spoiler free!) so that this comes down somewhere between Margaret Atwood and Ed Brubaker, Doris Lessing and Greg Rucka – but absolutely innovative and independent of those. It is cinematic, disturbing and funny, genuinely thought-provoking without being didactic.
Non-Compliant females – women who do not adhere to the value of The Patriarchy – are sent offworld for detention, the titular Bitch Planet.
DeConinck’s always had an ear for dialogue that catches you – as seen so impressively in her run on Captain Marvel – but it’s here in the subtle nuances of gender discourses that you really get a sense of how capable she is. The real genius of this comic, however, is that it compels the reader to think whilst entertaining them, making them think without feeling hectored.
In our prison drama – and it definitely is ours – the protagonist having been conveniently framed is given a way out, through some form of murderous, mass-market sport. Whether she takes up the opportunity presented drives the narrative, and whilst we have a sense of what’s to come it carries us with it regardless.
The art is a perfect complement, with action that is by turns dynamic, poised and brutal, well-structued panels (particlarly when characters are framed running face-on, because it’s neither the race nor the journey that matters), with colouring that manages to not only enhance but add a wry note of mockery through its conventionally feminised shades.
I’m bowled over by this comic. I’ve lost count of the number of folk, true believers or otherwise, that I’ve recommended this to in a couple of days. It’s a savvy, sassy, savagely briliant read.
The Writer of this piece was: Sam Graven
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