“Bitch Planet” gets the lesbian couple you were hoping for

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If you’ve been reading Bitch Planet, you knew that writer Kelly Sue DeConnick was way too freaking cool to keep that prison planet entirely straight.

And if you haven’t been reading Bitch Planet, you might be doing life wrong. It’s compelling, funny, uncomfortable, and wickedly subversive. Even the “ads” on the back page are hilarious.

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It’s also beautifully drawn, full of nonwhite characters, and loudly, openly, ovaries-out feminist. And it’s only four issues in, so it’s going to be a breeze for you to catch up.

Bitch Planet is a prison planet in a future dystopia where ‘50s attitudes about women have swung back in with a vengeance. Women can get sent to prison for not being the right weight, not being the right kind of pretty, not being willing to turn a blind eye to her husband’s infidelities, or just for the sheer hell of it. If a woman is nonconforming, she’s getting shipped out. (Yes, Bitch Planet is why you’ve been seeing those stylized “NC” tattoos popping up on your most awesome friends.)

Our heroine, Kam, is an ex-athlete in prison for a murder she says she didn’t commit. The powers that be are trying to get her to form an all-female-prisoner team for the violent sport of Megaton, probably for hideous reasons. But Kam has a few reasons of her own for going along.

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We’ve also met Penny, who does not give one damn what you think about her looks, and Meiko, an engineer with a plan. But this issue, we met Fanny and Renelle.

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Hello, ladies.

In case you’re wondering if they can really do this right, you should know that Fanny and Renelle were actually the reason this issue dropped a few weeks late—Bitch Planet plays with women-in-prison exploitation movie tropes, so we meet Fanny and Renelle in what’s titled “The Obligatory Shower Scene.” In that sequence, we do indeed learn that the couple is an affectionate one. But in her note at the back of the book, DeConnick explains that getting the shower scene right took three tries; the team wanted to keep the fun exploitation-flick feel without getting too “male-gazey.”

Kam’s not a particular fan of the male gaze either.

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And, yes, the Bitch Planet team gives that much thought and care to everything.

There are so many smarts and so much good fun in the series–one sequence of Issue 2 features top-secret plotting in the foreground as Penny beats the snot out of a hilariously increasing number of guards in the background–that the temptation is to tell and tell and tell.

But it’s better if you take the trip to Bitch Planet yourself. Why are you even still reading this? Get out there, fill your eyeballs with this magic, and get your nonconform on.

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