Bitch Planet Reviews: Issue 3 Featuring Robert Wilson IV
I’m so excited for this week’s release of what we lovingly refer to as “Bad Girl Planet” in our house (we live with a 2-year old with very keen ears and a shockingly impressive vocabulary). Bitch Planet Issue #3 from Image releases this week, and seriously, it’s so good.
(Disclaimer: I am married to the artist on this issue, so I’m going to go ahead and let you know I might have some personal biases at work. Heck yeah I do!)
It was so fun to get the small stack of advance copies Image sent Robert and see his incredible art in print. The story really comes to life, and the creative team is so good: Writer, Kelly Sue Deconnick; Artist, Robert Wilson IV; Colorist, Cris Peter; Letterer, Clayton Cowles.
I devoured this issue from front to back (literally, the very back page is itself a fun, retro homage full of fun fan merch goodies).
The story is amazing. You’ll laugh and you’ll cringe and you’ll cheer and you’ll think. If you’re like me, you’ll get a secret thrill seeing so many hidden issues in our mediated, perfection-oriented society brought to light in absurd relief. The series does deal with a lot of complex issues and is rated Mature. The back matter essays – can I just tell you I’m so excited that feminist essays in this book are hitting the printed shelves of comic book shops across the country? Because yes.
The narrative arc is fantastic. I’m really loving the format here of short breaks in the regular narrative flow to step back and dive deeper into seminal moments in each characters’ lives. It provides great nuance and perspective to the character, plus, what can I say, I was a “Lost” addict, so I love a good narrative flashback now and again. Just as long as there aren’t any unresolved “polar bears” or anything, we’re golden.
Bitch Planet #3 Reviews
So that’s my (short) take and first impressions. It’s been a fun long weekend, watching the early reviews pour in. Here are a few of my favorite excerpts so far (emphases mine):
The dialogue is razor-sharp, and at times makes for uncomfortable reading as DeConnick tackles body politics, racism, and systematic, internalized, and flagrant misogyny. The commentary on which takes Bitch Planet up a notch or 20, to jarring results. Paired with a story that shows a woman being pushed to breaking point and ultimately imprisoned, this book is not something you will forget about five minutes after you have finished reading it. Bitch Planet is going to stay with you. It might even make you a better person.
Joining Kelly Sue DeConnick and colorist Cris Peter is guest artist Robert Wilson IV. With a somewhat softer edge than Valentine De Landro, Wilson’s renderings of the ideal women and the seemingly superior men of Bitch Planet stand in stark contrast to Penny Rolle. Every inch of whom is framed as a rebellion. Nothing of Penny, from her hair to her size are compliant, especially when viewed next to Wilson’s Stepfordian creations. Penny’s smirk in the very last panel is truly one of triumph, as DeConnick and Wilson defiantly declare that nothing will break this woman.
Newsarama – 10 out of 10
This is the first of the “Special Third” issues and features Robert Wilson IV on art duties. Great work as well as fantastic visuals. Ones that will stick with me for the rest of the day. One of them being what Penny sees in the mirror; it’s a fantastic moment.
Bitch Planet continues to be a superb comic with a strong message. Feel different? Feel like taking a stand? Feel like standing up and saying, “Hey, world. This is me. If you don’t like it, screw you!” ? Then you’ve come to the right place because all of us are like that, and we’re all here.
Coming Up Comics – 9 our of 10
This is a brave issue touching bases on several big hot button topics that feminists often find themselves embroiled in, including the male gaze, body positivism and yes, even Black women’s hair. Issue #3 of Bitch Planet did make me uncomfortable. It was also an issue that made me laugh, looking star struck at Penny in the last panels.
I’m okay to say that this is a comic that will make me feel some kinda way, and you know what? I’m okay with that because I see the writing on the wall. I can foresee a much grander picture where the ladies of Bitch Planet will be heroes in their own right. Not with capes or super powers but with inspiring girls and woman folk everywhere to not just be compliant, but be themselves. To be themselves as genuine as it comes, carrying with them everything that makes them different and choosing to take a stand against persons or institutions that would try to make them feel anything less than proud to be who they are.
One of the real strengths of this comic is its ability to actually condense patriarchy and patriarchal attitudes into concise sentences. Once they’re in short form, reading them is simultaneously hilarious and horrifying. They’re hilarious because they’re ridiculous and horrifying because there are people who have actually internalized these attitudes….
I also really dug the flashback art in this issue. It has a ‘70s comic feel to it, which is useful since it draws clear divides between the past, when dictatorial patriarchy wasn’t quite as strong, and now, when it appears firmly entrenched. Robert Wilson IV is the guest artist on this issue and he does a good job with the back-and-forth.
The third issue of Bitch Planet takes a brief sidestep from the ongoing narrative to present the origin story of one of the planet’s biggest and baddest inmates. And it’s fair to say the gloves are well and truly off, as Kelly Sue DeConnick tackles head-on the struggles facing women in a male dominated society, and more importantly, the overwhelming pressures they face in an image obsessed culture that openly objectifies them.
…Bitch Planet’s backmatter actually matters. Featuring thought provoking yet accessible essays from an impressive roster of feminist writers, it’s something that could only work in a creator-owned property, and is yet another example of Image’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of the comic industry.
Bitch Planet #3 Signings
We’re looking forward to the book hitting comic shops this week, and Robert’s planing a couple of local signings if you’re in the Dallas area!
Swing by to get your copy signed, and say hello to Robert!