I can tell this is going to be a very fun comic series to follow, bringing the list of comic series I follow up to 2 (Saga is the other.)
The first volume of Bitch Planet is very introductory, as we meet our main Bitches, learn a little of some of their backstories, and get a broad overview of what’s going on at Bitch Planet (a derogatory term for the off-Earth prison, where the actual name is some euphemistic acronym to do with compliance) and how women end up there. One of my favorite jokes: something about one group of transports being an especially rough bunch of murderers and such, and one volunteer? Who would ever?
Well, the answer to that who? is … probably a lot of us. And by “us,” I mean, certainly, card-carrying feminists, but also, any woman who rather values being able to make decisions for herself and doesn’t live just to be compliant to a man who keeps her. Because while Bitch Planet is home to plenty of actual violent criminals, it’s also full of women who simply “disrespect” their men or who don’t have a man at all to oversee them. Overweight women who don’t remodel themselves to please men, and women who got just a little too powerful, smart, or good at anything other than being a perfect housewife — those women all find themselves populating Bitch Planet.
I came for the feminism and stayed for the jokes, because I love the satirical magazine ads at the end of every issue and the declarative statements of self-worth made by the women of Bitch Planet. I will want to see, in the future, a little more exploration into the dynamics of the violent offender “inmates” versus the political prisoners, and, indeed, if the women convicted of violent offenses were actually in a lot of cases set up. Because while it’s worth a few laughs that non-compliant women would actually seek and find refuge on Bitch Planet, they undoubtedly need to be able to defend themselves physically from the guards, who have already demonstrated themselves to walk loudly and carry large sticks.
Many comparisons have already been made to The Handmaid’s Tale and Orange is the New Black, and they’re apt, but with only one volume down, one can only guess where the narrative of Bitch Planet is going to end up and how this story will end up distinguishing itself. And that is where I knocked off *star* points, because while the world-building did grab me, there isn’t much of a plot thread yet to follow. So conceptually there’s definitely something there, but I would have expected more of an obvious narrative hook by the end of the first volume.