I’m the worst at keeping up with book reviews, but look at me now. Writing a review…like a month after I read this one. Which doesn’t reflect my feelings toward this comic/graphic novel/I can never decide which term to use, Bitch Planet, Vol 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelley Sue DeConnick.
The premise is the stuff dreams are made of: in the near future, non-compliant women are sent to a prison planet informally known as Bitch Planet. You know you’re going to adore all of these characters, don’t you? You also know your love is doomed.
In the beginning, we follow Marian, a married woman who insists this is all a mistake and her husband will be doing everything in his power to have her released. There are some great point/counterpoint panels that support everything Marian says…until there’s a sudden dark turn. Remember this series is called Bitch Planet, ok?
After our dramatic twist, it turns out Kamau is really our protagonist. In addition to being a gifted fighter, Kamau has some sort of mysterious dark past b/c of course she does. Her life on Bitch Planet is about to get even more unpleasant since she is framed for murder by the prison guards. All of this happens because the Bitch Planet execs want Kamau to form a team that will fight to the death against a team formed by the prison. It’s apparently a Bitch Planet tradition that makes them a lot of money.
So we’ve got a rigged futuristic football game to the death, which Kamau is pretty reluctant to participate in. However, several of the other inmates convince her to form a team, which includes my faves Meiko and Penny.
Penny had a particularly difficult childhood—her mother was considered dangerous, and Penny was raised by her grandmother until age 8. After her grandmother was arrested, Penny became a ward of the state. In her adult life, Penny remains fiercely loyal to her family and becomes violent when provoked. Not a reflection of idealized beauty, Penny nevertheless remains full of strength and self-confidence, never letting others define her. She’s definitely my hero.
It’s not a great idea to get too attached to any of the characters, though, as even the practice game of prisoners vs. guards ends in tragedy for our team.
You know even more shit is going down in volume 2 (which I’ve already pre-ordered).
Rating: 4/5 Pink Panther Heads
I really enjoyed it, but there were times when I wanted to skip ahead to the fake newspaper at the end of each issue called Hey Kids, Patriarchy! Not because there’s anything wrong with the main story plot but because the biting satire is at its strongest in these issues.