Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bitch Planet #2 - A Review

With the basic premise of its world established in the first issue, Bitch Planet #2 travels at a more sedate pace as the basic plot begins to unfurl. We find out that the society of this world is built around an annual sporting event called Megaton - or Duemila if you're a snob.  Apparently general interest in the bloodsport is waning, which displeases The Powers That Be. Luckily, the overseer of Bitch Planet has an idea on how some of his charges might be put to work in solving this problem.

It seems paradoxical that after all the originality we saw in the first issue, that this second issue should prove so relatively mundane. The idea of a dystopia built around bread and circuses is nothing new (Do the words Hunger Games ring a bell?) and The Overseer's plan is straight out of the 1974 Pam Grier film The Arena. Yet while one may have heard a song before, how the band plays can alter the tune. Such is the case with Kelly Sue DeConnick's script, which wrings new life out of the familiar premises.

Talking of Pam Grier, one can't help but see her in artist Valentine De Landro's design for our protagonist Kamau Kogo. Not because the character seems to be a direct caricature of Grier but because she's evocative of the sort of grindhouse heroines Grier built a career on playing.  Whether the homage is intentional or not, it speaks to how effectively De Landro captures the aesthetic of the genre that I should immediately hear the voice of Cofy as I read the dialogue and look at the artwork.

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