Well, it is a new year and I guess it is time to be filled with sweet purpose again! I have read one book so far, only 99 more to go! Do be aware that I spoil things so if you have any plans of reading this book YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Title: Bitch Planet, Book 1: Extraordinary Machine
Authors/Artists: Kelly Sue Deconnick and Valentine De Landro
Artists: Robert Wilson IV, Cris Peter, and Clayton Cowles
I finished this book a week ago and I am still processing it. I am planning reading it again to really process how I feel about it, but this is my initial impressions and thoughts.
I read this book because it was recommended to me by multiple people and it was also given to me as a gift. I am a feminist, if you haven’t guessed already, and it was part of what really intrigued me about this book. The main premise of the book is that women who are non-compliant are sent to a prison planet. A range of non-compliant behaviors can land you on this planet from being too fat, too angry, too loud, too shy, too prudish, etc, or simply not playing by the Patriarchy’s rules. The plot is a little flimsy. The women of the prison planet have been invited to participate in a TV show (the feed) game to win their freedom? The reason I find it flimsy is it feels like it is a tired old plot that has been used over and over again. This series was originally put out in 2014 and the idea of the feed and deadly games is highly reminiscent of Feed by Matthew Tobin Anderson and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and many of the other new dystopian YA books.
I do like that the main cast is almost entirely non-white, but 5 issues in (the end of the first volume), I feel like I only know one character and that there is a lot that hasn’t been explained. It is all very chaotic. This could also be my inexperience with reading comics.
I believe the strongest character is Penny Rolle because they dedicate an entire issue to her (Number 3) and it is wonderfully rendered. We get to see her childhood, the reason for her initial arrest, and a wonderful scene where the patriarchy is trying to help her see her ideal self and instead of it being what the men think it should be, it is exactly as it should be.
I would read more, because I am interested to see if there is more to this world, if it is deeper and more complex. I like that women can be sent to this planet for reasons such as “bad mother,” “disrespect,” genetic disorders, and “seduction and disappointment.” I think that it works well and helps highlight some of the insidious parts of patriarchy that are easily overlooked by exaggerating them, but I want to see more being done.