Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro
I’ve been seeing reviews for the first volume of Bitch Planet pop up on CBR and Goodreads, so I was curious to see what it was all about. I’m always interested in new graphic novel volumes, especially while I wait not-so-patiently for the new volume of Saga to release. I figured it would be good for me to diversify, especially with woman-centered comics. Bitch Planet promises to be all that.
Basically, the plot runs like this: if you are a woman who has committed a crime (or really, a “crime,”), you get shipped off to a different planet for incarceration. The guards often ogle you openly, and there are fights you sometimes have to get into to survive. The focus initially centers on a white woman (think Piper from Orange is the New Black), but quickly shifts to other female characters, particularly women of color, who are trying to break out and clear their names.
I don’t want to say a whole lot about this, because that would be spoiling the experience. This was an interesting comic, because it looked at several social justice issues: incarceration, corporate capitalism and consumerism, socioeconomic strata in society, feminism, and hegemony. In the United States, we’ve been hearing the term “intersectionality” bandied about quite a bit, and this series has certainly illustrated what that means. You get feminism in context of social authority and oppression, which makes it easier to understand why women of color so frequently populate Bitch Planet (I mean, the Auxiliary Compliance Outpost) and are treated so horribly. I might actually recommend this for a feminist class or for those of you who want to expand your feminist primer on incarceration/class/oppression, especially in regards to women of color. I hope Emma Watson chooses this for her book club!