It was difficult for me to decide on my third comic review for the week. Howard the Duck 3 was in the running because of how delightfully weird it is. Ultimates 3 was in the running because it brought up some potential consequences for the Ultimates team transforming Galactus into a giver of life instead of a planet eater, while also introducing a new dimension. But ultimately I decided to go with Bitch Planet 6 because it touches on several important issues.
Bitch Planet 6 takes place sometime before the main series, and explores the history of Meiko, one of the prisoners in the series. It shows her family life and exactly what she did to get locked up. She comes from a family that treats women with a lot more respect than the society that surrounds them, to the point where her father lets her help out with planning his projects. He’d sooner be tried in court than to sell away one of his daughters for his own protection. Of course Meiko takes matters into her own hands in the end.
The main story itself is well-written and paints a vivid picture of what a sexist culture can look like, and how families within that culture can be better than that. The comic also contains images and plot themes related to sexual assault, something the inner cover warns readers about. Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick handles it with respect and in a much more subtle way than this series usually handles things, but the themes could disturb some readers anyway.
As good as the main issue is though, the letter section and interview after the comic is the real highlight. There’s an interview with a Japanese artist who’s facing legal troubles for her controversial work. The interview shows that Japan has its own troubles with sexism that mirror this issue’s story quite well.
The art by Taki Soma is simple but good. Facial expressions do a great job at conveying emotion, especially when Maiko commits her crime – you can see the determination in her eyes and a hint of regret. The environment is complete with objects in both the background and foreground which help make each location feel a bit more real. And of course the violin imagery meshes well with the story and characters. Kelly Fitzpatrick’s colouring is also good. The faded colours give this a bit of an indie comic feel in a good way.
Again, this comic might disturb some readers, but it’s brilliantly written. Those who have read other issues of Bitch Planet should at least check this out, and definitely pick it up if you think you can handle this issue’s themes.