The Horror Honeys: CAGED AND ENRAGED!


The ComicsHoney Reviews Bitch Planet!

Title: Bitch Planet #1
Author: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist: Valentine de Landro (pencils) Cris Peter (colours) Clayton Cowles (letters) 
Publisher: Image Comics
Released: Dec 2014
Artwork 4/5
Layout 3/5
Writing 5/5
Characters 4/5
Re-Readability 5/5
Total: 4.5 out of 5

“Are you woman enough to survive... BITCH PLANET”

Following up from my HoneyBuzz article from last year, I was very excited to hear about Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel) working on an exploitation comic in the “Women in Prison” sub-genre. 

Over time as I was reading about the comic's development, I had reservations about its feminist commentary, and I feared that it would be done in a heavy-handed fashion, overshadowing the comic in favour of writing another feminist diatribe. Luckily, Bitch Planet has shown me otherwise.

The interior artwork is illustrated by Valentine de Landro, with nice stylized pencils and rough ink lines and a good sense of design in characters and backgrounds. The colours are done by Cris Peters and I quite like her colour pallete of blue, greens and pinks being used to illustrate a dystopian future battle of the sexes.

The layouts of the comic are good, the panels are clear with white gutters for easy reading. My only gripe was that some of the panel and lettering arrangement was a little confusing and I had to re-read a couple of pages twice in order to understand the sequence of images. 

No fault to Clayton Cowles, as through my own comic projects, I understand the frustration of trying to make sure the letters and images all work to have that uninterrupted reading flow, and sometimes working with other people's artwork can have its own challenges.

Easily the best part of the comic thus far. Kelly Sue DeConnick's storytelling gives general info about the universe and characters - I really liked the issue arc regarding the wrongful imprisonment of a woman at the behest of her husband, so that he can marry his mistress.

In later issues, I can definitely see more anecdotes of feminism through not just the main plot but also mini story arcs of side characters. Another example of this, is the fantastic Y the Last Man, where the comic examines how gender politics would affect a post-apocalyptic world in which a catastrophic illness decimated the male population of Earth.

Would it be inappropriate to have the Benny Hill theme playing?
The development of characters is pretty light in this issue to make way for world setting, but the characters that are presented, are done really well, with an appreciated effort to create a diverse cast of women, from different age, shape, size and ethnicities. I am very interested to see DeConnick's depiction of queer and transwomen, and how they are treated in this society.

So far we are at least introduced to a couple lead ladies for the main plot, Kamau Kogo, a BAM (BadAss Mother!) in the tradition of Pam Grier, and Penelope “Penny” Rolle - who completely stole the show for me in this issue! I am looking forward to see what they will be doing in later issues and see what other characters the comic has in store for us.

Even though the first issue of Bitch Planet is the start of a longer series, issue one is still somewhat episodic with the mini story-arc that is presented, thus it has a complete story, but also presents the beginning of a larger story that needs to be told.

I admit that my relationship with Feminism is quite rocky, with the glaring flaws in its Third wave. Too often I am angered by the sheer arrogance of Feminists and Social Justice Activists who tout twitter hashtags, memes and chants for change- yet display the same vitrol to dissenting opinions and criticism of their movement, especially towards other women.

Despite the identity politics BS, I am seeing great strides in comics and representation in media due to Kelly Sue and many other writers and artists who use their work and influence to create better comic books, which in turn inspires myself and many other artists become the next generation of comic creators.

Bitch Planet #1, is definitely a great start to an action-packed, violent, yet socially concious, exploitation comic series. Caged and enraged, these ladies are out to grab patriarchy by the balls and smash them!

Purchase Bitch Planet

Kelly Sue DeConnick

Valentine de Landro

Cris Peter

Clayton Cowles