By Scott Southard. This year I had that gift unwrapping experience. You know, the one infused with nostalgia, harkening back to the childlike giddiness many American suburbanite youths felt on Christmas mornings past (search “Nintendo 64 Christmas” on YouTube if you’re unfamiliar with the phenomenon). While I didn’t receive anything electronic or virtually polygonal, I did gleefully rip away at the wrappings to find the first trade paperback of Kelly Sue Deconnick’s middle finger to patriarchal society, and well, my holiday was complete.
There are plenty of blunt force, politically-minded comic book series around, like Material (a capitalist critique), or Sex Criminals (a socio-sexual vote of confidence), but I don’t think we’ve seen such a straightforward feminist knockout blow quite like Bitch Planet. From the instigating pulp title to the book’s cheeky “advertisements” (and pretty much everything in between), Deconnick leaves no punches pulled, forcing the issues that are generally glossed over or completely ignored.
After an extended hiatus, we return to the story of non-compliance with a flashback to Meiko Maki’s convict-origin story. It’s an interlude that adds a bit of background flavor to a character we’ve only glimpsed at so far, and the extra narrative is wholly welcomed. We see moments of white male dominance and it’s umbrella-oppression over pretty much every aspect of modern American life. We see its manifestation as misogyny and racism, and the intersectionality of the overarching oppressive forces. We see the structure of a world where women of color are totally fucked over. It’s a powerful periscope into a cross-section of America that’s rarely represented in media or mainstream art.
I had trouble following the chronology of the story as it jumped from scene to scene, and couldn’t quite pick up on where characters were or how they’d gotten there. But the sentiment was very clear, and the rage of Meiko was empathetically conveyed enough to get me clenching my own fists as I read along. The change of pace is at once welcome and uninteresting. The guest pencils of Taki Soma are more subdued than Valentine De Landro’s, but it was a nice touch for a one-off, especially in a less dynamic/more domestic setting than what we find in the hyper-media propulsion of the main story.
I’m ready to get back to the big narrative of Bitch Planet. I want to see the war play out and hope against hope that the team of convicted women get a chance at freedom and a fruitful future. The secondary stories are nice (maybe even necessary) flourishes, but the ultra-compelling underdog fight of Megaton is still forefront in my mind. The flood of blood is only beginning, and I’m confident that we will all get a little soaked and stained by the end of it all. The anticipation is getting the better of me. Good thing I’m learning to appreciate the taste of blood.
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick.
Art by Taki Soma.
Colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick.
Letters by Clayton Cowles.
8 out of 10