So let’s get something straight from the beginning. I don’t like the “B” word. Never have and never will. I’ve used it rarely in either jest or seriousness. If anyone has ever called me one, it was either jokingly or behind my back. Whew, glad that’s out of the way. I guess you are probably wondering why I would pick up a comic with the “B” word prominently in the title aren’t you.  To be perfectly honest, I didn’t pick up the first issue when it came out. Wasn’t until I realized that Kelly Sue DeConnick was writing the book that I raced to the B section the next time I was in the comics store to pick up issues #1 & 2.

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I gotta admit, I wasn’t sold after reading issue #1. I was still a bit unsure after I read issue #2. But issue #3, that’s the issue that jumped up and slapped me in the face and screamed “THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU, IDIOT!” DeConnick and artist Valentine De Landro could do just about anything with the book from here on out and I would keep buying it just in hopes of being screamed at by another issue.

So let’s talk about the comic. The plot is pretty simple. There is a planet, referred to as “Bitch Planet” where any woman who does not conform (known as non-compliant) is shipped off to a penitentiary until, well, not sure anyone ever leaves Bitch Planet once they arrive. And guess who gets to decide whether or not a woman is a conformist? You guessed it, MEN. So if your husband isn’t happy with the way you cook or clean or have sex with him, he can have you labeled nonconformist and off you go, butt-naked and in stasis until you arrive at the planet and get your prison duds.

You’re probably thinking “How depressing” and I gotta admit that everything about that first issue was depressing. Also a bit eye-opening though, you know? So issue #2 begins to see a couple of protagonist begin to stand out on Bitch Planet and there are hints that some of these women, if tough enough, might just find their way back to earth after all.

When I read issue #3, though, I was blown away. This issue focuses on one character and you pretty much go completely away from the original plot line. This threw me off a bit. I later learned while reading an interview with DeConnick, however, that every 3rd issue will focus on one character and their story of nonconformity. Issue #3 happens to be the story of Penny Rolle.

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The narrative begins in the prison with a full body shot of what appears to be a very angry (fist clenched) and determined (stance wide and face set) Penny Rolle. The “Fathers”, the “Judges”, the “Jury”, however you’d like to refer to them, say they are there (via video) to help her. At this point we start getting the back story of Penny through tales of her life. The men, the politicians, the judges, the fathers, the all-powerful ones (whatever the hell you’d like to call them), have her hooked to a machine that will dig deep within her and SHOW her on a screen what her sub/unconscious idea of her perfect body is. Penny looks apprehensive, at times down right terrified, at being shown this. After we learn her story, we, as readers, are holding our breath in anticipation of what she really believes her perfect image should be. I won’t spoil it for you though. You’ll just have to pick up the comic to see for yourself. Needless to say it was enough to make me a die-hard fan.

There are other things to love about the comic though. Flip to the back of the comic, and instead of the typical ads, there are pieces written by feminist on different topics. For instance, every issue has a guest columnist for the “Bitches Be Like . . .” column.

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The first issue’s guest was Danielle Henderson who writes about what it means to be “non-compliant.” Another interesting feature is the ad page on the back page. It’s title “Hey Kids, Patriarchy!” and has ridiculous ads for things like “X-Ray Specs: The Perfect Way to See through His Intentions.” These things, however, drive home the overall importance of this comic book.

The stories and the art may be fantastic, which they are, but there is more to it than that, and these additions help bring that home.

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Bitch Planet can be purchased at your local book store or on Comixology.

Overall Score
100 %

Bitch Planet. A planet for non-compliant women to rot away while the men of earth do as they want when they want. Some women, however, are not content to be stowed away out of sight until they die.

Art 100%
Plot 100%
Extras 100%
Story 100%

About The Author

My name is Dianna, and I hail from the land of the lakes, aka Michigan. My full time job has me running a writing center, teaching writing classes (hopefully soon teaching a comics course), and doing all sorts of techy things, since that’s what I did in a previous life.

At this point in my life, comics are both my passion and my research. I am lucky in that I get to combine my passion into my everyday work. But here at Destroy the Cyborg I get to have fun and chat about what I'm reading. Feel free to chime in on my post, even if it's to tell my how dead wrong I got something.

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