Bitch Planet Vol. 2: President Bitch reveals new details about the series’ lore, while propelling the plot forward in big ways. Is it good?
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artists: Valentine De Landro, Taki Soma
Publisher: Image Comics
This collection includes issues 6-10 of the Image series written by Kelly Sue DeConnick with artwork by Valentine DeLandro. Issue #6 is an elongated flashback detailing the events that caused Meiko Maki to become imprisoned on Bitch Planet, while the rest of the TPB centers on a revolt at the outer-space prison facility.
The narrative in this volume is constructed coherently enough, and all of the motivations behind the characters actions are clear. With that said, this is a volume centered around violence, oppression, suppression, and resistance, yet the storytelling here isn’t very emotionally charged. This lack of emotional potency is probably my biggest qualm with the storyline. Several seemingly important characters receive next to no page-time, making it hard to get attached to them. Even the handful of characters who receive the most focus still feel underutilized, as their events frequently feel rushed and underdeveloped.
Pacing is a major issue in this volume. The prison takeover and revolt is rushed into slightly more than three issues, and a lot of the details are glossed over. Characters speak to the significance of populations from two different Bitch Planet facilities intermingling, but little time is spent on the actual result of said intermingling. Eleanor Doane feels especially underdeveloped, as both a character and a plot device. The writing appears to be taking a long-game, hint-based approach to introducing certain aspects of the series’ lore, the execution of said approach feels poor. The story feels incomplete as a result of necessary information being withheld when its needed.
The artwork here is similar to the writing in that it gets the job done for the most part but still leaves something to be desired. On the positive side, a lot of the characters’ facial expressions convey their emotions very well. Colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick does a good job while frequently using a relatively muted color scheme that complements the plot’s sense of despair and oppression. Unfortunately, there are many sections where the line-art feels very static, and the characters’ motions feel stilted. There are also some characters whose narrative age don’t seem fully coherent with the way they are drawn.
A lot of the problems with this volume pertain to the execution of its ideas. On the positive side, the writing is well-done enough that the characters’ actions all make sense. Unfortunately, the emotional impact of what the characters go through isn’t very effectively duplicated in the volume itself. There are some exceptions to this, such as short scenes that effectively tap into the sense of horror surrounding the series’ premise. The ending is also enjoyable due to an effective build-up and culmination of certain plot elements’ momentum. With that said, however, it feels like the volume could have been strengthened by decompressing the narrative and giving more page-time to certain aspects of the series’ lore. This isn’t a bad volume, but it does feel like it could have been much better with altered pacing and more expansion on a variety of plot points.