Before we get into all of this, I wanted to yammer-on for a moment. I'm not going to jump on some moral high-ground or barrage anyone with my beliefs. I will say as a one-time student of film that I have a bizarre appreciation for the exploitation films like blaxploitation, sexploitation, women in prison films, mondo films, and spaghetti westerns, which is borderline exploitation at best. I could go on and on why I've spent so much time watching these films, but I'd rather talk about BITCH PLANET.
Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick hits the exploitation vibe, mainly the women in prisons sub-genre. The second you see the cover, which says "Girl gangs... caged and enraged," you know what you're getting, but there's also an understanding this book isn't going to take itself too seriously. DeConnick's writing is some of the strongest I've read in quite some time, and I'm a fan. Her dialogue really helps move this along, as well as giving the reader insight to these brand new characters.
BITCH PLANET takes place at the Auxiliary Compliance Outpost, a women's prison for those who are "non-compliant," a term the reader has yet to learn the meaning of. What DeConnick does really well in this opening issue is develop the setting. She doesn't just give the reader the setting though. She gives us some of the inner-workings of everything and the dynamic of the prisoners and the guards. She paints a full picture of this place, and it's intriguing and something readers will gravitate towards from future issues.
The art for this book is pretty dang awesome. Valentine De Landro covers the art and the rocking cover and Cris Peter worked on the colors. De Landro has a very distinct style and he uses his heavy shadowing extremely well. This is the type of art you want on a book: strong, stylistic, and something to compliment the awesome writing. Also kicking it into overdrive Peter, whose color style is relatively flat, but emphasizes De Landro's style. These two artists are truly in sync with one another. There is a fantastic panel, towards the end of the issue, where a someone gets their throat slit and the blood flows out of their neck, and their lips are highlighted, but nothing else. It's startling and begging to grab the attention of the reader.
There's a few things that are unclear and there's a bit of confusion going on with Mrs. Collins. It's given a bit more meat at the end of the issue, but I still feel like I'm missing something. At points, following the book is a no brainer, but there's just a few moments here and there that left me scratching my head. It's the first issue, so a lot of this will most likely be cleared up next month.
For a moment, let's step away from the online hype and promotion. This book is awesome without it. Sure, there's certainly a feminism slant towards the book and if you're the type of person that gets turned off by things like that, first, you're silly. Secondly, this book stands on its own as pretty dang rad for a first issue. Is this book geared towards women readers? I have no clue. All I see is a concept I really enjoy, some killer art, and some killer writing, but hey, I like space, HBO's Oz, and Orange is the New Black. BITCH PLANET deserves the hype it's getting, and it's a issue you should probably give a shot, since this book is bad ass. If you're still not sold, then there's a plethora of books featuring super-powered loners, punching dudes in the face, and feeling sad about life and things that you may find more up your alley.