Archive for Bitch Planet

Chained Heat


Bitch Planet #6

Last issue, Meiko Maki was murdered by the guards on Bitch Planet. In this issue, we learn who she was and what she did to piss off the Powers That Be. Her parents were secret rebels against Earth’s male-centric corruption. Her mother is a violin teacher — but her violin lessons are just a cover so she can teach girls forbidden subjects like math. And her father is a spaceship engineer who’s just made a not-so-accidental error on his latest design that would fatally sabotage a spacecraft. Unfortunately, his latest error has been caught by a colleague who plans to blackmail the family — he’ll help cover up the error in exchange for having sex with his daughters. But Meiko has her own plan to save her family, even if it dooms her to an early death on Bitch Planet.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The story is really wonderful, the characterization is great. I love the violin lessons as cover for secret math class. And I must say, I’m becoming more and more amazed, happily amazed, by the devotion the series is shown by fans. Women getting the “NC” (Non-Compliant) tattoos from the comic in real life? Do you know of any other independent comic series that inspires fans like that? And I love the way the comic is now including short articles on feminism and related topics in the back pages. This comic is something special, and while I want to learn what happens next in the story, I also want to learn what happens next with the fandom.


The Totally Awesome Hulk #2

Amadeus, Maddy, She-Hulk, and Miles Morales meet up with Lady Hellbender, the Monster Queen of Seknarf Nine. She and her giant lizard mostly knock the Hulk around, mainly because Amadeus is a sexist dweeb. Maddy settles most of the problem, Amadeus loses control of his temper, Lady Hellbender reveals that she collects monsters to take them to her homeworld, and we catch a glimpse of next issue’s Big Bad.

Verdict: Ehh, thumbs down. I didn’t find myself particularly entertained, and I’m starting to wish this comic had Banner in it as something other than a flashback.


The Ultimates #3

Fresh off their success in evolving Galactus into a being who brings life to the universe instead of death, the Ultimates have just found out that the Shi’ar Empire is good and angry about the change in the Devourer. Meanwhile, it’s been discovered that too much time travel has caused severe damage to the space-time continuum, and in order to diagnose how bad the problem may be, the team will actually have to travel outside the universe in order to get a look at time from the outside. And once they make it to the Neutral Zone, the Blue Marvel discovers an old friend waiting for them.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Outstanding superheroic sci-fi, with wonderful characterization and art.

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Evil Twins


Harrow County #5

Emmy spends most of this issue cementing her new status as the county’s good witch/kind mother. She makes nice with her dad, with the skinless boy, with her friend Bernice, with the gigantic demon in the woods, with a gremlin spoiling the grain at the local silo, with the townspeople — and she even makes sure the folks in town who think they can push her around know that they really, really can’t. And then they get a visitor in a fancy car, and she’s wearing a very familiar face…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Even in an issue where it’s mostly Emmy going around being friendly with everyone, we still get some wonderfully creepy moments — anything with the monstrous demon in the woods, the little grumbling haint in the grain silo, even Bernice’s worries about whether she’s human or not. And to top it all off, there’s a nice supposedly-true ghost story about a movie theater ghost at the end.


Bitch Planet #5

Earth is eagerly awaiting the big Megaton match between the home team boys and the upstart women players from Bitch Planet. But a scrimmage game in the prison between Kamau Kogo team of prisoners and a team made up the guards makes it clear that this will be a very hard game for the women — the other team will be allowed to cheat as much as they want, and they’ll never suffer any penalties for infractions, no matter how severe. Is there any hope for the Bitch Planet team?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great story, great action — and a great illustration of how much trouble the team is going to have. They’re the despised women cast off from a deeply misogynist society where everything is permitted as long as it hurts a woman. They’ve got a severely uphill battle ahead.

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Loop the Loop


Silver Surfer #11

This is one of the best designed comics of the year, and it’s a near certain bet that it’ll be nominated for oh-so-many awards. Most of the story is actually set up like a Moebius strip — we follow the Surfer’s story to its end, then it literally flips around, upside down, and starts over from a new perspective and new point-of-view character, then it flips around twice more. It’s an astonishing feat of storytelling and graphic design.

Our plot: The Silver Surfer is escorting a makeshift fleet of billions of aliens, all of whom have lost their homeworlds, thanks to Norrin Radd guiding Galactus to their homes. But another set of aliens opposes them, fearing that they’re an invasion force. And when they can’t defeat the Surfer, they unleash a doomsday weapon that sticks everyone involved into a time loop. Can the Silver Surfer break free and save those he’s promised to protect?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Again, an absolutely astounding comic book. It’s an amazing and fun read, and y’all better get your hands on it before everyone starts giving it trophies.


Bitch Planet #4

Kamau Kogo has to put together a team of her fellow prisoners — all women hated and feared by the patriarchal government of Earth — to compete in the futuristic — and all-male — sport of Megaton. While she’s putting together her list of potential players, she’s invited to take a shower with a couple other inmates — the guards can’t follow them into the showers, so they’re free to warn her that the authorities are setting her team up to be murdered. Can she field a team that can win? And can she use the shower’s secret peephole to snare a mole on the inside?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great story, great art. Love the background on the Megaton game. If you’re queasy about nudity and sexual situations in comics, well, this one has a heck of a lot of nudity and sexual situations. Consider this one Rated M for Mature — and then you mature readers should go read it.

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Masters and Puppets


Multiversity: Mastermen #1

Welcome to Earth-10. After the Nazis discover a crashed alien ship with a tiny superstrong baby inside, they raise him to be a good National Socialist, and he helps Germany conquer the world in 1956. Sixty years later, the Kryptonian called Overman is still alive, but his cousin Overgirl is dead, he’s having nightmares about a mad haunted house stalking him, his wife hates him, and he’s having terrible regrets about the extremes Hitler’s madness took him to. And his fellow members of the New Reichsmen, including Leatherwing, Brunnhilde, Lightning, and Underwaterman, don’t care about the bodies their empire was built on. But a group of super-powered terrorists, brought together from groups persecuted by the Nazis, are calling themselves the Freedom Fighters, and they intend to bring the Nazi utopia crashing back to Earth.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The corrupted versions of the Justice League are appropriately dislikable, with the exception of Overman — while Superman has normally been the moral center of the Justice League, I’m not sure that a Superman raised from infancy as a Nazi would have much of a moral center left. Still, it all seems to work. I also love the revised version of the Freedom Fighters — these are people who you could make a very enjoyable comic about. And while I’ve mostly gotten tired of the rigid, scowling formalism of Jim Lee and Scott Williams’ artwork, it does seem an appropriate style for a story about Nazi supermen.


Bitch Planet #3

I wasn’t sure about this going in — a full-issue focus on Penny Rolle didn’t interest me a lot because she seemed like such a complete stereotype — the fat, angry, black woman. But this was a lot better than I’d anticipated. We get a short history of Penny, from her childhood. She was taken from her loving grandmother’s home at a young age, mostly because her mother was considered unstable. She was abused in school by her whiter, more fashionable, more authority-worshipping teachers and fellow students. And later, running a muffin shop, when the irritations of Fox News bimbos, racist douchebags, dieting anorexics, and an autocratic society finally push her over the edge.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Again, loved this a lot more than I was expecting. Best thing about it is how just plain decent Penny is. Yes, she’s angry and violent, but she’s angry about the right things, and she’s violent with the right people. She’s not abusive, she’s kind to those who need it, and she’s proud of who she is. I want a whole comic series just about Penny now.


Lazarus #15

The thoroughly rotten Jakob Hock has chosen another family’s Lazarus, Sonja Bittner, as his champion — because he knows she and Forever Carlyle are friends, and he wants to twist the knife. And for the sake of added cruelty, he demands that if Sonja wins, he gets Forever for his own, dead or alive. The battle is bloody and frantic — and Hock has even more plans for evil, whether he wins or loses.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Most of it is a long fight scene, but it’s an excellent fight, and at the end, the Carlyle family is in pretty deep trouble. Gonna be interesting to see what happens next…

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The Superhero’s Guide to the Galaxies


The Multiversity Guidebook #1

It’s Grant Morrison’s long-awaited field guide to DC’s latest version of the multiverse, but luckily, we get some story to go along with it. Part of the tale follows Earth-51, home of the Great Disaster, Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth, OMAC, and the New Gods (in other words, it’s Earth-Kirby), where we follow Kamandi, Ben Boxer, and Tuftan as they look for a lost friend and learn the secret history of the multiverse. But most of it focuses on Earth-42, home of the child superheroes who made their first appearance in an old issue of Superman/Batman before the reboot. They’ve been invaded by the League of Sivanas, and many of them have been killed — but Batman meets up with the Atomic Batman, one of the Atomic Knights from Earth-17, and he learns that he and the rest of Earth-17 hide some sort of terrible secret. What is it? And what is the threat of the Empty Hand?

Verdict: Thumbs up. If you want a guidebook with all-too-brief descriptions of a whole bunch of alternate universes, it’s in here. If you want a nicely Kirbyesque story of Kamandi, it’s here, too. If you want a weird team-up between armored-future Batman and adorable-kid Batman, it’s in here, too. About the worst thing about this is the eight dollar price tag.


Bitch Planet #2

Kamau Kogo is trapped on Bitch Planet, the prison world for inconvenient and unwanted women, accused of killing a fellow prisoner, an abandoned housewife named Marian Collins. She didn’t do it, of course, but the authorities don’t care. However, they’re willing to give her a second chance — if she’ll form a megaton team — the sport of the future, generally played only by men. She initially wants nothing to do with it, figuring it’s just going to be a way for the Powers That Be to humiliate them and provide a twisted object lesson in forced female compliance. But her fellow inmates convince her it could be worth doing. What’s the scheme here?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The first issue just seemed like a weirdly generic space fantasy women-in-prison pastiche — but this one is developing the concept into something a lot more entertaining. I also dig the glimpses we get of life back on Earth, with the dictatorial Fathers lording their power over their cronies.

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Which Planet?


Bitch Planet #1

Basically, it’s a women-in-prison comic — set in spaaaaace, and written by Kelly Sue DeConnick. It’s the horrible future, and there’s a whole planet where Earth sends women who are criminals or unpleasant or unattractive or inconvenient or no longer desired. Escape is questionable, survival is unlikely, and mercy is almost entirely impossible.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s still way too early — we don’t meet many characters — or at least we don’t meet them as anything other than stereotypes. But what we’re getting here is heavy focus on the setting and themes. We’ve got many issues to get to know the women here better, and if we know DeConnick, she’ll have lots of great surprises in store for us as to these people’s personalities.


Shutter #7

Kate Kristopher, her newly-discovered brother Chris, and her trusty robot cat pal are being attacked by a freakin’ gigantic dragon. But luckily, they don’t end up destroyed — they just get dragged off to Cambodia to meet up with another newly-discovered sibling — one with a particularly impolite method of greeting her long-lost sister.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of outstanding action and weirdness. Holy shmokes, the dragon is all kinds of freaky, and Kate’s sister is pretty dang weird, too.


Southern Bastards #6

More of the rotten childhood of Coach Boss, back when he was just a scrawny kid from the wrong side of the tracks who wanted desperately to play football. The coach didn’t want him, the other players didn’t want him, his dad didn’t want him. The only person willing to give him any help at all is Coach Big, an old blind black man who knows football better than anyone in Craw County. But even as he improves enough to let him play on the team, there may still be something serious that’ll keep him off the field.

Verdict: Thumbs up. More grungy Southern noir, with more emphasis on football and race in the South. And so very much more crime, seen close-up from Euless Boss’s point of view. It’s interesting to see the unloveable Coach Boss back when he still had a chance to be something other than a crime kingpin…

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Merry Christmas from the Avengers!
  • For your holiday sippin’, here’s Ike’s Eggnog.
  • This article about the ongoing D&D revival isn’t all bad, but it has a lot of the stuff that concerns me about the whole phenomenon. Ultimately, it’s not about much more than nostalgia, plus there’s a lot of weird anti-tech, anti-modernity, anti-younger generation bulldada wrapped up in this stuff. Playing in-person pen-and-paper RPGs won’t save the world, and the Internet won’t doom the world either. Anyone who thinks the younger generation is less imaginative because they grew up with computers instead of D&D is just playing the bash-the-youngsters game, and that’s one of the worst games out there.

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