Image has really been trying new concepts and this is just another example of that. Bitch Planet is a few months old now, and with issue 3 creator Kelly Sue Deconnick shows that she can really focus on characterization and not just a little bit of a “shock” feel to the book. The first few issues set up the concept of the society that surrounds this world and gives us a fairly quick introduction to some of the characters. Deconnick has indicated that every 3rd issue – at least for now – will give us a guest artist and a story focusing on one of the characters of the series and not necessarily the overreaching story arc. This issue gives us a focus on one Penny Rolle.
Without giving anything away for those reading the book, this issue gives us a focus on what brought Penny Rolle to where she is in the main arc. As well, it gives us a little more insight as to how this society is run and how the gender roles are positioned. It is a very male-oriented society, which may seem strange by some coming from writer Deconnick, who has written series that has a focus on strong women. I see this book as being something that could showcase that better than anything else – a male-dominating society who sees women mostly as “entertainment”, but I can see Deconnick showing how strong these female characters really are by using this society to make that point.
This issue had a guest artist in Robert Wilson IV. With this story, which flashed around from present day (in the story) to the history of Penny Rolle. Overall, I thought the art was done quite well, but with a couple of caveats. With the time shift, there was a different look to the art between the time periods, and I enjoyed that. It was all the same artist you could tell, but the colouring of the book was different and I really enjoyed that. I think that the art from Wilson was better in the flashback scenes, mostly because the colours (although vibrant) had that old-school 1970s style applied to it, and it really suited Wilson’s artwork. The crisper colours just seemed to not work for me with the art as much, but the flashbacks were phenomenal. I am a long time comic reader and collector, and I loved the nostalgia feel – it took me back to many of the comics I loved when I was younger that originated from the 70s era.
I would give credit to the rest of the crew, but I couldn’t find the full credits page in this issue. As a result, I only am giving credit to Deconnick and Wilson, and part of the reason I could credit Wilson is that his name is mentioned in the final bit of the book. The only other name I can definitively identify is Megan Carpentier, who wrote a wonderful essay at the end of the issue. I have seen many essays coming out of Image books over the last few years, and I find that a fair few of them are great reads. Not all, but this is definitely one of the good ones. As a final note, I have to give credit to the back cover of this series, too. Every issue so far (yes, all 3) have had the classic “order now” style of ads, the kind you used to see to order X-Ray glasses. But these ads are for the society of the story and it just gives that extra little oomph to the story.
To be honest, I was not going to pick this book up as I was (am) trying to cut back on my monthlies, but the story so far has definitely grabbed me. I will at least be grabbing the next few issues. I enjoyed Deconnick’s previous series with Image, Pretty Deadly, at first but as the first arc continued it just not longer grabbed me. I am hoping that this series will be different, and with a much broader cast (as broad a crew as Orange is the New Black to be honest, which is a good thing) I think that my interest will stick around a little more. Well done!
Writers: Kelly Sue Deconnick, essay by Megan Carpentier
Artist: Robert Wilson IV
Publication Date: February 2015