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Bitch Planet #9: Make Good Trouble

Written by Ashley Leckwold on Monday, November 07 2016 and posted in Reviews

Bitch Planet #9: Make Good Trouble

Released days before this hellfire election, Bitch Planet comes back with a relevant message.

Source: Image Comics

Written by: Kelly Sue Deconnick

Art by: Valentine De Landro

Colors by: Kelly Fitzpatrick

Letters by: Clayton Cowles

The delays in Bitch Planet this year have been unfortunate. In a year where the political climate has threatened to tear us all apart, to only have four issues come out in the space of a year has been a little rough. However, when the issues do hit, they hit like a sucker punch. Bitch Planet #9 has been no different, with the fallout of Makoto Maki's plan (or lack thereof) hitting right before election day in America.

Part Three of the "President Bitch" saga hits hard right from the opening. Not with a punch or a riot, but with retail. If you have been a woman working in retail, you have been poor Jenny at some point, dealing with indecisive customers, managers who treat you like shit, and trying to put on your best feminine and perky face while slowly dying inside as your managers plot your outer death. If you see me in the street, ask me about the dickhead manager who tried to make me say "Women can't do things" when I asked him for help taking a security tag off.


Back on the ACO, things have dropped faster than an elevator in the Tower of Terror. Makoto is more than willing to set free the women inside, but Schiti warns him that the "planet got ways to kill you [that] ain't nothing to do with oxygen." Meaning that whatever is outside the prison is much scarier than what's currently inside. Instead of releasing the prisoners that way, Makoto instead opts to unlock the doors. Yes. All the doors. Even in Facility One.

What comes next is probably some of the most poignant moments of the series so far. As the inmates fight the guards, Makoto addresses the facility, saying that they're just people now. "A people whose future -- whether or not we have a future -- depends on our willingness to work together." This is similar to things I've heard Representative John Lewis remark on when talking about how the March trilogy represents our past, present, and future as a country and as a society. A sentiment that has been expressed by many during this election, but sometimes feels like it falls on deaf ears to those seeking hatred or ideological purity.

Of course, even within those "progressive" groups, we see some divide, even in the prison. When Morowa and her crew from Facility One reach Facility Two, they're immediately met with hostility not just from the guards, but the other inmates as well. "Sticks or lipsticks, they're still men trying to take from you," Violet angrily declares before the two groups clash. There's a part of me that wishes that I could say that this is just a result of this dystopian future, but with the prevalence of trans exclusionary radical feminists (TERF for short) in feminist circles and people like Dave Chappelle making transphobic comments while saying that women's, queer and trans rights should not be "put before" the concerns of racism in America, it's still a common statement/sentiment to our current society. Nevermind that the Black Lives Matter movement was founded by queer black women and that not only did trans women of color start the modern gay rights movement, but are also likely to face more violence. There is a lot of intersectionality between the movements and to keep these divides going is, to be blunt, fucking frustrating.


Luckily, there is a light at the end of this chaos. No, not former president Eleanor Doane since I'm not certain what the guards have planned with her, but isn't it chilling to see a woman president thought to be long dead locked up in here? No, it's Kam finally being reunited with Morowa and, when asked if that was her sister by Penny, declaring "She's my blood. But they're all my sisters." Because if we're gonna make it out of this election and beyond alive, it has to start with realizing we're all in this struggle together and we're not going to make it out if we can't start breaking down those divides and listening to one another. Even in the letters section, the team realizes this and cops to an error from the previous issue of leaving out those on the asexual spectrum in the Lip Glossary section.

It feels like I have spent a lot of this review talking about Kelly Sue Deconnick's writing, but really, the intensity of this issue also builds up from art. Valentine Delandro's panel layouts and facial expressions build the intensity of this issue so much, with everything in the ACO balancing on a knife's edge and Makoto only being able to watch from above. Without Kelly Fitzpatrick's range of reds in this issue though, that intensity wouldn't feel the same. Everything feels like a danger, but maybe there is still a brightness to be had at the end of it all.


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About the Author - Ashley Leckwold

Ashley Leckwold is a writer based out of Atlanta who is the cross-section of a magical girl and a demon queen. She has done a whole other host of weirdness, including work at Steampunk Chronicle, Nerdophiles, the Ratchet Retrocast, The Rainbow Hub, PopOptiq and the Killer Queen and 27 anthologies published through Red Stylo Media. Most of her current work is non-fictional and found at her blog as well as Graphic Policy. She can often be found on Twitter at @misskittyf crying about comics, TV, pro-wrestling and music.

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