To be quite up front, this series wasn’t on my radar until overhearing an argument regarding the book’s title. However, the person upset was not offended by the scantily clad female comic character contorted into those all too familiar ridiculous positions two books over. So after taking a look at De Landro and Peter’s great looking cover, Bitch Planet was squarely in my sights and in my hands. The premise itself struck me a bit familiar since I’m currently reading Concrete Park as well, but if the comic shelves can be packed end to end with superhero titles then there’s definitely room for anther sci-fi prison title where a subjugated group of people are shuffled off planet.
It doesn’t take long for DeConnick to get the story going, as the Auxiliary Compliance Outpost is host to a riot soon after the new inmates are herded in. Several of the principal characters are introduced, while one in particular insists that her being there is a huge mistake. As she pleads her case from prison, her husband is advocating for the immediate release of his wife back on Earth. There’s several twists involved that quickly reveal how things work in this system, and that DeConnick isn’t afraid to kick up a little dust. Her dialogue throughout is fantastic, and the scene where Penny Rolle is asked to count the guards is just hilarious! Though it’s the first issue, she’s my favorite character so far, and DeConnick has given her a presence to match her sheer size and fierceness. I also think her tattoo of the elephants has a much deeper meaning that hopefully is touched on at some point.
As far as the art goes, De Landro and Peter deserve a round of applause. De Landro’s style has a pretty strong impact, and several of the scenes display this very well. When we first see the inmates shuffled in, it’s in such a dehumanizing way, and he and Peter capture all of that from the faces to the postures of the ladies waiting to be processed. The first time we meet Kamau is another pretty intense scene that shows a lot about her character just from her stance. So when the action kicks in and he shows off her skills, it’s even more impressive. Plus it looks like she throws in some Capoeira to fight off the guards, and I’m a sucker for that martial art style. There is also a moment where Mr. Collins and Mr. Solonza are arguing semantics about the facility, and De Landro nails the facial expressions and hits the beat perfectly with DeConnick’s dialogue.
Along with some very thought provoking themes, Bitch Planet #1 does what a first issue is supposed to and demands you come back for more. The writing is strong, the art is great, and even after all of that there’s a little something extra from Danielle Henderson to send you off! Sure, Bitch Planet may not be for everyone, but don’t let something as silly as the B-word in the title stop you from reading one of the best titles to come out this week!