Review: Bitch Planet — Extraordinary Machine (Vol. 1)

deconnickbitchplanet1

Bitch Planet: Extraordinary Machine
by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, and Robert Wilson IV

★★★★½

2015 • 156 pages • Image Comics

While I’m familiar with the long history of feminist dystopian fiction (have I mentioned how much I loved Only Ever Yours?), I’m far less familiar with exploitation films, especially the women-in-prison variant. Nonetheless, the idea of reclaiming women-in-prison films for the purposes of feminist discourse naturally appeals to me. I also very much trust Kelly Sue DeConnick due not to anything like Captain Marvel (as I haven’t read her run yet), but to her adaptation of Barbarella (which I also haven’t read, but I’ve read DeConnick’s interviews regarding the art of adaptation). Reframing and adapting supposedly empowering female narratives from the past to actually be empowering? Nice.

Bitch Planet takes place in a future where women who are deemed noncompliant—i.e., too loud, too butch, too queer, too brown, too assertive, too “insufficiently feminine”—by the ruling Fathers. Women who are terminally noncompliant are arrested and shipped off to the Auxiliary Compliance Outpost, nicknamed “Bitch Planet.” The latest crop of ladies struggle, suffer, and resist against their guards. But inmate Kamau Kogo is approached with an offer: put together an all-female team for the bloody Duemila sports competition. While kowtowing to the powers that put them in prison doesn’t appeal to Kamau, the opportunities it might provide, for both her fellow inmates and herself, do…

Continue reading

Review: Rat Queens — Volume One: Sass and Sorcery

Rat Queens: Volume One — Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch

reviewstarreviewstarreviewstarreviewstarreviewstar

rat-queens-vol-01-releases

Out of all the films in Tom Cruise’s filmography that I haven’t seen yet, Legend is the one that intrigues me the most. While Cruise has been involved in a lot of genre fare, it’s his only fantasy outing. Plus, it came out in 1985 and features Tim Curry as Satan, so I’ll probably adore it. It sounds like old school fantasy at its finest. For me, that’s fantasy produced from 1977 (Star Wars is science fantasy, y’all!) to 2001 (when The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring legitimized fantasy in mainstream eyes to a certain extent), as codified by Dungeons and Dragons. It’s your Standard Fantasy Setting, but something about those specific dates make it work for me. (I’m probably romanticizing the idea of listening to Iron Maiden while reading The Lord of the Rings on your parents’ roof in 1994, but hey.) Past those dates, however, and my tolerance for the lack of diversity to be found in your Standard Fantasy Setting becomes nil. Heck, there’s diverse stuff to be found between my extremely scientific dates, so there’s no excuse.

Continue reading