Story: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art: Valentine de Landro
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Colors: Cris Peter
Release Date: December 10, 2014
Publisher: Image Comics
I am going to review Bitch Planet #1, the new title from writer extraordinaire Kelly Sue DeConnick (@kellysue) and Image Comics (@ImageComics). But first, I’ll let Kelly explain to you what the book is about in her own words, via previewsworld.com:
It’s an ongoing sci-fi women-in-prison book that plays with exploitation tropes.
Yes, yes it is and yes it does. When I first cracked this open I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but I knew it wouldn’t be anything like the usual, well, anything. A few pages in and I started to get a real Christopher Lambert in Fortress or Ray Liotta in No Escape vibe, except the inmates were all women and the prison facility isn’t underground or some remote island; it is actually an entire planet. Think Orange is the New Black on a massive scale.
The first issue is extremely fast-paced and has a tendency to whip from location to location, but that’s a good thing in this case. Bitch Planet is ultra-violent, but funny too, ala Guy Ritchie or Quentin Tarantino at their darkly humorous best. DeConnick gives life to her characters through physical conflict; we first meet protagonists Penny Rolle and Kamau Kogo after a brutal encounter with The Planet’s antagonistic guards.
Rolle and Kogo are two sides of the same coin; one is a violent and unpredictable behemoth, the other a well-trained and fearless anti-heroine. It’ll be interesting to see how their relationship develops as the issues pile up and we get further along in the story arc. DeConnick has indicated that there will be some gladiator-style battles in the future and two of the prison supervisors mention as much this issue.
De Landro’s (@val_delandro) artwork is resolute, uncompromising, and combined with Peter’s restricted usage of greens, blues and pinks gives off a distinctly bitchin’ yet subdued energy. That may be a necessary element as the panel count per page tends toward the high end of the average. In other words, the scenes move along quickly in an attempt to keep pace with the quick-witted dialogue and do a good job of it.
Bottomline, you need to get a hold of this book, grip it tightly and let it take you for a ride.