Bitch Planet #1 is not for the faint of heart. Kelly Sue Deconnick and Valentine De Landro have delivered a wild ride in their first issue, twists and sudden plot reversals leaving readers reeling but ready for more.
The issue follows a group of ‘non-compliant’ women as they arrive at the Auxillary Compliance Outpost, lovingly referred to as the Bitch Planet. It also seems to be the headquarters of a reality tv show. We’re introduced to some of our characters in the intake facility, focusing on Penelope Roll, Marian Collins and Kamau Kogo. Collins thinks she’s wrongfully imprisoned and fights break out between the guards and prisoners. All the while, Mr. Collins is trying desperately to free his wife from the prison planet.
Deconnick isn’t holding back in this book. There are plenty of cringeworthy moments, both brutal and captivating, but you can’t help but be engrossed with this story. The book feels gritty. I’m not sure how else to describe it. It evokes the 70s women in prison exploitation films and reworks the idea into an angry social commentary. Deconnick absolutely nails the script here, providing shocking twists and revelations throughout the issue that is sure to bring readers back next month.
De Landro’s art is a great fit for the story, combining a retro look with realistic character design. He doesn’t hold back with his panels featuring dozens of naked women, but it doesn’t feel sensationalized or excessive. It’s key to the plot and I admire the skill it took to pull it off so well. This is in part due to the careful character design. Each of the women feels unique and the cast is diverse, representing women of different body types and backgrounds. Color work by Cris Peter brings the retro feeling home, making great use of vibrant colors in small doses.
Bitch Planet tellss a captivating story and its only just begun. It’s aggressive and mean, but it’s also a brilliantly told story that readers can get a lot out of. The final page will leave you desperate for more and I predict most readers will pick up the second issue. I know I will.