Sit your ass down, it’s non compliance time. If you cringe at the word “feminist”, this book and this review are not for you. Come back when you’ve grown some ovaries.
Bitch Planet has been one of the most revolutionary comics to ever see the light of our patriarchy-infested world, and it has not come to light quietly. It’s easily the first ongoing series that I recommend, and the book serves as a brutal and intelligent eye-opener to the world in which our main characters live as well as IRL.
The issue before this one dealt with a prison riot but also with the inmates of this prison coming together and finding sisterhood. In case you’re not familiar, the series revolves around an entire prison planet filled with women who are titled “Non Complaint”, meaning they don’t bend to patriarchal rules and regulations. So it’s basically filled with the greatest bad gals ever, but the men in charge don’t see it that way. The very premise is so metaphorical, and it’s a frightening but not exactly unrealistic idea that our world could head that way.
I was on edge eagerly awaiting this issue, and I was not let down. The Women’s March happened in the time before this issue was released, and you can definitely see the influence dancing amongst the pages. The whole thing is very chaotic, and is not an issue I would recommend jumping into as it wouldn’t make much sense to a first time reader. Of course, there are still very strong messages that fly off the page, and I got chills when reading the words “We remember!” as a group of women band together and shut down a flurry of oppression. It was as if these women were right next to me and I felt their cries screaming inside my head. If that sounds dramatic, it’s because it is. We are far from the age of comics being merely “funny books”, and this piece of media show that.
Kelly Sue DeConnick has always been a fantastic writer, but I truly believe that Bitch Planet is her best work. You can see the bruises and the wounds and the rage and the love within her words. She pours her heart and soul into this book, and each word I read made me feel prouder and less alone.
The covers of this series are some of the greatest works of art ever created, don’t dare argue with me on it. This one conveys so much of that rawness I spoke about before, and shows one of the characters in handcuffs with the words “You can’t jail the revolution” stamped boldly beneath her. It gives you chills, pure and simple. Rian Hughes never disappoints with his cover designs, and he’s also the artist behind the iconic Bitch Planet logo. Valentine De Landro, the series artist, and Rian Hughes really make an amazing pair with throwing down covers that just make me feel like all my dreams have come true.
Though Valentine also has a mountain of a job to do in bringing Kelly’s words to life. One big thing about Bitch Planet is that there are a large amount of black characters, and I really hate it when an artist draws the same type of woman and just colors her skin darker to fit whatever job needs to be done. Valentine is an artistic genius, and each woman is unique with an overall look and body type that is completely her own. This is a book that will break the nose of anyone who dares whisper the phrase “whitewashing”, and Valentine gets it and locks it down.
Kelly Fitzpatrick makes sure it’s locked and loaded with her kickass color work, perfectly wrapping everything up. This is not a book for the faint of heart, and neither is the colorwork. It’s beautifully crude but still keeps the detail throughout each panel.
The comic is really only half of the book and I always look forward to reading what’s in the back pages of the issue. There will always be interesting and well-written articles by various artists and activists, and slews of photos portraying the Non-Complaint logo on fellow bitch sisters. This issue featured tons of kickass photos from the Women’s March which really just warmed my cold dead heart and kicked up the feeling of unity inside me. It’s a message that we are all in this together beyond the pages, and it’ll take much more than outdated patriarchy and attempted oppression to keep us down.
Artwork: 5 Stars
Cover: 5 Stars
Colors: 5 Stars
Story: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art / Cover: Valentine De Landro