BITCH PLANET vol. 1–a Book Review

BITCH PLANET vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro is a stark, snarky, startling, subversive read. It’s got a modern message set amid a classic plot and golden age graphics.

BITCH PLANET is the story of an off-world prison planet built for women who are deemed non-compliant by the patriarchy for being (as the rear cover says) “too fat, too thin, too loud, too shy, too religious, too secular, too prudish, too sexual, too queer, too black, too brown, too whatever-it-is-they’ll-judge-you-for-today.” A new group of prisoners arrive, and all the hypocrisies, dangers, and pain of the situation become clear as the world building is laid out before us. Soon the women are asked to form a team to play an exhibition game of a very dangerous sport (think The Longest Yard). Who will fight? Who will sell out their fellow prisoners? Can the prisoners get a fair shot?

Yes, there is nudity and sex and violence. Yes, this is a book with a message. Maybe that’s too many strikes already. But that would be a shame. You’d be missing out on a very rare gem in the comic book world: a comic that is well written, celebrates women, celebrates the diversity of women, and made me laugh, despite the dystopian set up (especially the “ads” at the back of every issue).

This is an ambitious, unapologetic, both birds flying, gut punch of a read. It will shock you, it will anger you, it will make you laugh, and it will make you think. It’s quite an impressive feat. And that’s why you should be reading this.