Zeb Larson reviews Bitch Planet #7…
Makoto arrives on Bitch Planet. Whitney has to answer for Meiko’s death.
Bitch Planet #7 is here, and for once it came relatively soon after the last issue. We’re back on track with the main plot in this issue as Kamau’s group tries to move on after Meiko’s death in the previous. But how can they, when Meiko’s father is on his way to the prison and they’re moving ever close to the games? Given that we’re starting the new story arc here and there are new plot points to build upon, the story here feels like it’s in transition, especially as we delve into a couple of characters we’ve barely explored. I will be discussing spoilers from here on out, so consider yourself forewarned.
Back on Earth, the prison CEOs realize that they cannot let Maki know about the fate of his daughter if they want the arena to be finished. Once again, de Connick manages to roll in more real-world elements for this story, this time focusing on for-profit prisons. In retrospect, the whole structure of this awful world makes sense to have for-profit prisons. In a society where women can be imprisoned for “non-compliance,” it would be fantastically easy to make money off of incarcerating them. Of course, this means that one has to make a profit off of their jail time.
Meanwhile, Maki arrives at the prison and is clearly ill-at-ease, partly with the whole set-up and partly because he can’t get any answers about his daughter. Kamau and the others have been put to work building the Megaton Arena, and Kamau is working to try and keep people’s morale up since Meiko died. She’s also leaning on the guard she’s blackmailing for more information. Elsewhere, Whitney is being made to take the fall for Meiko’s death, throwing her into the general population of prisoners-right into Kamau’s lap.
While this issue isn’t riding the emotional roller-coaster that #5 and #6 were, it’s still incredibly strong. It’s partly just because Bitch Planet always has so many little things to analyze that and dig into. For example, I love that the brutal, violent sexism of this series is increasingly being juxtaposed with moronic, small-potatoes sexist humor. All the male Fathers spend the issue telling the stupidest jokes; if you ever needed a picture of what the banality of sexism looks like, you could find it here. And borrowing on some notions from Hannah Arendt, it’s the banality of this system that makes it work.
I also find it interesting that much of the administration of the prison is staffed by women. That exchange between Whitney and Christine is interesting to see because of their role in making sure that this oppressive system works. What does that say about the role of women in oppressing other women? That oppression generally leads to mini-hierarchies and makes the marginalized complicit in their own repression? Certainly seems to be the case here, and it works with the implicit threat that any failure could send you down the ladder.
So, maybe this will be the new pace for Bitch Planet? I probably shouldn’t get my hopes up, and in any event I can’t complain because the book is so good…but I can dream.