Review: Bitch Planet #2

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Bitch Planet #2 does everything expected of it, which is no small task considering the high critical acclaim for the debut issue. The overarching world of Bitch Planet is expanded upon, giving readers a pretty clear idea of the setting crafted in this series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and her artist Valentine De Landro. More important than that, however, is the development of a plot thread focusing on an intimate group of characters, establishing what appears to be the more intimate angle of this series. Despite ridiculous and fun action, characterization, and world-building, this comic continues to be ferociously intelligent, too. Bitch Planet #2 is contemporary feminism and the comics craft done right.

The opening of this comic introduces readers to Father Josephson, a president-like figure so over-the-top loathsome that he proudly admits to embracing the “us vs. them” mentality in a speech. This concept seems so crazy to a sane, regular person in civilized culture, but in the world that Bitch Planet creates, it is believable. That is what is so special about this comic book; it creates a world filled to the brim with feminist themes and symbols that intellectually satisfies while being simultaneously satisfying in a more base fashion. It’s so seamless, which is an extraordinary achievement.

The general atmosphere of Bitch Planet is just really cool, as well. It’s a grimy, gross looking book that often conjures up thoughts of the exploitation films its inspired by, but it’s much easier to digest and take lightly. Fights translate onto the page in such a way that feels rough, but it’s framed in such a way that keeps things light. One scuffle in this issue, for example, takes place in the background of a quiet, dialogue-heavy scene, implying brutality through obscure drawings. The muddily-colored prison set-up intrinsically creates a sort of messy, uncomfortable atmosphere, but the science fiction bent adds some whimsy and fun to this aspect of the comic. Brightly-colored holograms clashing against a drab prison environment really goes a long way in establishing a certain mood.

All of that is merely a continuation or extension of what made the first issue so great, though; what’s important in this second issue when examined as a follow-up to the debut is it effort to establish its main characters. Providing a more micro-level, human angle is essential for a comic like this, because otherwise it would risk coming off as overly academic. Not only does this issue provide further characterization for who appears to be the protagonist, but it gives her a stake in this world and a simple goal to chase that necessarily involves interacting with other characters. There isn’t any truly thrilling character moments, as it is still in an expository phase, but this issue takes a necessary step forward and does a good job.

It really is incredibly admirable how seamlessly Bitch Planet simply works. It’s patriarchy in space, with prison-based rambunctiousness held afloat by academic smarts.

Story: Kelly Sue DeConnick Art: Valentine De Landro
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.75 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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