Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Bitch Planet #1 is a new and interesting beast. At first it has the pulpy feel of old exploitation films filled with lots of gritty naked bodies and prison imagery. It rapidly becomes clear that we are dealing with something completely unexpected.
Bitch Planet (or Auxiliary Compliance Outpost as it is formally known) is where Non-Compliants get sent. It’s a dystopian prison planet filled with women going through the humiliating process of intake. The reader begins to understand the insidious horror of Bitch Planet not through the excessive and unnecessary violence its guards exercise nearly indiscriminately, but instead through mild-looking Mr. Collins as he frantically tries to rectify the mistaken imprisonment of his wife. We see Marion Collins as she speaks to a giant pink hologram dressed as some sort of sexed up nun. They tell the story of how Mr. Collins came to cheat on Marion, and how she blames herself for his infidelity. This is what it means to be non-compliant (or rather its one of the ways a woman can be labeled as such). The ending leaves the reader desperate for the next issue of Bitch Planet.
Valentine De Landro’s art is perfectly suited to the story. The style morphs depending on the setting and scene. The color palette is grim and dark in the prison and warmer and less menacing in the prison administrator’s office. It makes it easy to follow the story as it jumps between three different locations.
Fans of feminist comics will definitely want to check out Bitch Planet #1. It’s the beginning of something really special.
Bitch Planet #1 is available December 10, 2014 from Image Comics.