Review of “Bitch Planet, Volume 1: Extraordinary Machine” by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro

"Bitch Planet Extraordinary Machine" by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro A review by Amanda.

Imagine a future where all women are expected to be subservient wives and mothers. They have specific guidelines to comply with, such as giving in to their husband’s every demand, having to be demure and respectful to all men, raising well-behaved children, and being aesthetically pleasing. It sounds like a throwback to the 1950s, right? Except breaking these guidelines will result in the women being labeled as “non-compliant” and sent to an off-world prison, Auxiliary Compliance Outpost, colloquially referred to as Bitch Planet. In the first issue, we meet Kamau Kogo, who has just arrived at the prison and has already caught the attention of the higher-ups. For the first time, a select few prisoners are offered a chance – a slim chance – at freedom. All they have to do is compete against male prisoners in a death sport, and win. Kam is tasked with putting a team together, which is easier said than done…

This comic series is an oddly appealing mix of Orange is the New Black, Hunger Games, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. It reads as a scarily realistic future, what might happen if the Tea Party conservatives end up running every aspect of the government. Each story provides more questions than answers and keeps the reader guessing. The characters are wonderfully diverse in race, body type, and background. Each issue reveals more history of the main players, both on Earth and on Bitch Planet. Every character, major and seemingly minor, has secrets, hidden agendas, and missed connections that may or may not tie into the bigger picture. The plot unravels tantalizingly slow, making the reader dive into the issue after issue, regardless of time or pending responsibilities. There is a lot of female nudity, some sex, and some graphic violence. Volume one consists of the first five issues, as well as a thought-provoking discussion guide. I am quite excited to continue this series!

My rating: 5/5 stars.

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