As promised, “Bitch Planet: Triple Feature” number two contains three different stories that are within the world of Bitch Planet, yet operate outside of the main storyline. Each story is put together by a different team and focuses on the theme of expectations that are placed upon women by our society. Despite the fact that these stories are not made by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro, this issue has everything that we have come to expect when it comes to Bitch Planet and provides a perfect opportunity for new readers to get in on the unapologetic, painfully poignant, fun.
“Bits and Pieces” by Che Grayson and Sharon Lee De La Cruz explores our cultural obsession with perfect parts through the lens of a tween beauty pageant that focuses entirely on necks. The art is a bit inconsistent and considering the pageant is focused on necks there was little to do with that particular part of the body. In my opinion, this the weakest of the three, but it still has its moments such as where the judges are measuring the size of the girl’s smiles and the fact that one of the girls has a prosthesis that she proudly bedazzles. It has a nice twist ending too.
“This is Good for You” by Danielle Henderson, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt, features women who are brave enough to be radicals when standing up for the rights of women will get you kicked off the planet. This story about a forced screening of a film that shows how women should be making a safe space for men felt very timely after the backlash that resulted from the reveal that the 13th doctor would be a woman. Like good science fiction, it projects the future based on our present. For a new reader, this story would be a great introduction to the many things that are considered non-compliant behavior such as talking too much, eating too much, cutting your hair too short….
“What’s Love Got to Do With It” by Jordan Clark and Naomi Franquiz is easily my favorite out of the three and tells the story of a 30-year-old Mexican woman named Amalla who is forced into dating because her family can no longer afford the “Old Maid Tax.” The story is basically her trying various ways to find a husband, but it is the little touches throughout that make this so smart. Her mother gives her a “biological clock” to help her achieve her goal and it is basically an advertising watch that informs the wearer of what they should and shouldn’t be doing and provides very strong commentary much like the advertisements that are found in the issues containing the main storyline. Amalla’s Mexican-ness is a very key aspect as she deals with racism on both a micro and macro level. The inclusion of untranslated Spanish was a very important choice that makes it clear that to any reader who doesn’t understand that they too are a part of an out grouping. The story is also funny though. A highlight is the hilarious dating app that she tries called DicPic where “each guy uploads a picture of their dick, some basic info, and picks a filter to show their personality.”
As always, the little things that are added into each issue are well worth noting. Continuing the underlying educational focus, this issue contains “Future(ist) Conversations: Jamais Cascio on the Future of Race & Gender (Part 1)” where Kelly Sue interviews Cascio who is a, in its simplest terms, a scenario planner. Along side this is “Bitches Read,” which features female editorial cartoonists. To keep it fun, they also include Bitch Planet BINGO “Where Winning Means Everybody Loses!” and a couple of cool cosplayers in non-compliant overalls at the end.
All three stories bring something new to the universe that Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro have built and are well worth reading. If a “dystopian, feminist sci-fi take on exploitation genres that attempts to be both satirical and intersectional” isn’t something that sounds appealing to you, nobody is making you pick up the book. It’s that simple. But, if that does sound appealing, and you haven’t picked up Bitch Planet yet, now is your time to do it. Now is the time to be non-compliant. Four Stars!
Story: Che Grayson, Danielle Henderson, Jordan Clark
Art: Naomi Franquiz, Ro Stein, Sharon De La Cruz, Ted Brandt
Cover: Valentine De Landro