The first seven pages of “Bitch Planet” #2 are set on Earth. This is important, because it immediately lets Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro reiterate what we learned in the premiere issue: assume nothing. So while you may think you knew what “Bitch Planet” was about — perhaps that it was solely a prison saga set on an entire planet — this second issue begins to open your eyes to the fact that there’s a lot more going on here.
With “Bitch Planet” #2, DeConnick lets us see just what else is going on in our future; corporation heads talk about ratings and viewer engagement and we’re quickly reminded that, while the technology might be shinier, human nature is still just as driven by greed as anything else. Father Josephson is the epitome of that particular thrust but, at the same time, DeConnick keeps him from becoming a caricature. He’s someone who is very much in power and who values everything he’s built even as he wants to make it stronger. At the same time, we never get that sort of demonic “I’m the bad guy” vibe that would take him over the top, and that’s a relief. By being a little more human, it instead makes readers have to get to know him a little more to start truly hating him, rather than going for any sort of superficial evil veneer.
Our protagonist, in the form of Kam, is the strongest part of “Bitch Planet” #2. The death of Marian last issue is still a large plot point that looms over Kam and watching how it’s used to propel the entire series forward helps give us a purpose for that event beyond a simple fake-out for the first issue. I like that Kam’s not willing to jump right into whatever the Bitch Planet authorities tell her without seeing what’s in it for her and, even more importantly, how she’s able to recognize when they need something from her and she can use it as leverage. She’s an interesting main character, and she definitely propels the reader’s interest forward.
De Landro’s art is solid here, with that cleanly defined sense of character that reminds me of other artists in that same wheelhouse, like Stuart Immonen. He’s good with not just the primary details, too, but little background moments, like the fight between the cooks on the opening page or the bustling of crowds at the party and how the attendees are looking forward while the servers are focused on the guests instead. The confession module sequence is especially striking, with De Landro and Cris Peter creating a visual cacophony of images and garish colors that assaults not only Kam’s eyes but ours as well. While I’m still not entirely on board with the old school newspaper dot coloring that Peter is using (no doubt to evoke the old four-color printing process from back in the day), it’s certainly a choice that stands out and gives “Bitch Planet” its own visual identity.
“Bitch Planet” #2 is a good second issue, enough to firmly lock readers in for the duration of the series. DeConnick and De Landro are not only setting all of their ducks in a row, they’re knocking some down at the same time so that there’s something in each issue to make you feel like you’ve received your money’s worth. I’ll be back for #3 and beyond.