Published on April 29th, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
Bitch Planet #4 Review
The Obligatory Shower Scene proves to be more than a modern critique on 60’s exploitation movies and is actually integral to this month’s plot.
But first there’s a funeral to attend. On Earth Bert, the Bitch Planet warden, is given some good news about the Megaton games: he is been given the opportunity to enter a team of ‘girls’ from his prison. Later in the issue there is an info-documentary, shown to the women of the prison, that displays the basics of Megaton. It also explains why it’s good for women to allow their men to watch: men who watch Megaton do better at work and have a spark for success. Everything about the game seems to be about control through strength, from the game itself to the barely dressed product sold to the viewers. And it’s all aimed at men so a team of female prisoners should really boost the ratings.
Meanwhile, on Bitch Planet itself, Kamau is compiling her list of players when she receives an invitation to a clandestine meeting to be held at the very back of the shower room. Cue unnecessary nudity and lesbianism; except of course the entire scene is necessary for the narrative, for the underlying critique and for the comic as a whole. It’s an element of the genre that needs to be addressed and the creators of Bitch Planet deal with it superbly. This is probably down to the fact that they tried the scene in several different ways just to make sure they got it right (this is the reason that this issue has shipped late, Kelly Sue explains all in the comic itself). What makes the entire shower scene work, without degenerating into sordid titillation, is that each character within the scene is different, it’s not a scene of adult entertainment women gyrating provocatively. The focus of the scene is also on the peep hole at the back of the shower room so even during panels of full frontal nudity the reader’s attention is taken elsewhere to the mysterious figure watching from behind the tiles. This perverted act reinforces the point of the scene as the reader becomes the character that is being portrayed as the villain: it makes you question what you are reading and what it means. Will you allow yourself to become the ‘pervert’?
This mysterious figure proves to be instrumental to the plot later on as Kamau literally drags him into the story and blackmails him into helping her. He doesn’t stand a chance as she proves that she has everything thoroughly thought through: everyone thinks they are in control but she is playing them all. But for how long?
This issue is a triumph of beautifully orchestrated set pieces. Different aspects of life on Bitch Planet are played out giving the reader an insight into these women’s lives but each serves a narrative purpose so not a single page or panel is wasted. (I haven’t even mentioned the first training scene have I? You’ll just have to check it out yourself. It’s hilarious)
The creators have a much deserved runaway hit on their hands and to be honest, if a little delay means that this is the calibre of comic that they are putting out each month, I for one am more than happy to wait.
Title: Bitch Planet
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist: Valentine De Landro