Film // List // A Few Villains who are Better than the Films They’re In

There are plenty of movies that feature strong villains, and many where the villain just steals the show. But there are even more villains who are just plain dumb (what exactly is your plan again Lex, build a giant ugly un-even island of krypton-rocks to sell as prime real estate, I’m not sure anyone will buy that), or outrageously boring (does anyone remember anything the Red Skull said, literally anything?). This makes me get a little more invested when a film takes the time to create a bad guy who is also a nuanced character, one that has desires and emotions and quirks of their own, without simply being a punching bag for the heroes.

For me the best villains are the ones that have a reason to do what they do (even if that reason is, like with the Joker, just for the hell of it), and that are good at what they do. Strangely there are some films that whilst an utter shambles overall still manage to pull this rare feat off.

Prince Nuada – Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

Prince Nuada Photo
“We die and the world will be poorer for it”

Prince Nuada is royalty without a kingdom, his homeland has been overrun by humanity and the old ways of magic and wonder have been replaced by the chaos, pollution, and destruction that accompanies mankind.

One of the many problems in Hellboy 2 is that there are no sympathetic characters for us to root for; Hellboy, Liz and Abe are by turns grumpy, selfish, and aloof, and with Myers gone humanity’s sole representative is the cowardly and untrustworthy Manning. Even the humans that Hellboy saves in the city seem mean-spirited and ungrateful. The heroes are all doing what needs to be done because someone somewhere dictated that it should be – they don’t believe in what they are doing and they don’t value the world and people they fight to save.

Nuada on the other hand is dedicated, passionate, and logical. He has seen his civilisation almost wiped out by the unrestrained march of human progress, progress that doesn’t even care for the world that gives us life. “The humans have forgotten the gods, destroyed the earth, and for what? Parking lots? Shopping malls? Greed had burned a hole in their hearts that will never be filled! They will never have enough!” says Nauda, and the film offers no counter to this point of view. There is no human character who represents the good in mankind, or that can point to the benefits of technological innovation. Why are the humans of Hellboy’s world actually worth saving (Hellboy and gang even abandon humanity at the end of the film!). Nuada is merciless, but he acts with a heavy heart – the desecration of his people has driven him to take the violent steps he considers necessary, and he is willing to sacrifice a great deal to restore the world to balance. Luke Goss plays Nuada as someone filled with sorrow but whose resolve remains unbroken despite the tragedy he has lived through. Oh, and he is very good with a giant knife.

Gabriel – Constantine

"Are you judging me now…"
“Are you judging me now…”

Truth be told I don’t think Constantine is an out-and-out ‘bad’ film, it is just mostly average. An incredible premise and a potentially visually arresting universe are rendered in a pretty pedestrian fashion and the plot is fairly standard sub-noirish thriller with overt religious trappings. Everyone does serviceable work and there are a few nice moments, but ultimately this film isn’t a big success.

But although having very little screen time to work with Tilda Swinton’s Gabriel is a memorable and intriguing bad guy. Swinton’s elfin appearance and otherworldly presence give Gabriel a palpable strangeness – it is easy to understand how the angels of Constantine’s world get things so wrong as they are so very different to us. The costume design and effects are also a compelling choice. Gabriel is first introduced in a very fine bespoke double-breasted suit; even when appearing human Gabriel is an elitist. When revealed in full angelic form Gabriel possesses grand and expansive wings but wears understated simple contemporary clothing.

Gabriel wants to fix this world but lacks the compassion and understanding to do so. There is an attempt to do good at the heart of Gabriel’s plot, but it is obscured by the lowly pragmatism and devilry that she engages in. Gabriel wants mankind to be worthy of God’s love (and there is a bit of jealousy in their too), but she will burn the world to the ground to make us prove it. A great visual is when with no effort at all Gabriel uses angelic strength (and breath) to pin Constantine to the ground and fling him all over the place despite his best efforts.

Bane – The Dark Knight Rises

Bane Photo
“Victory has defeated you”

I don’t know if this is controversial or not, but I didn’t enjoy much of The Dark Knight Rises. The film seemed to be a rushed and illogical mess full of huge character inconsistencies (why would Bruce quit Batman immediately after The Joker’s massive crime spree? Oh and ALL crime was eradicated by one unspecified law?!). But one thing I loved about the film was Bane. Well, for most of the movie at least.

The politics of TDKR are all over the place, this is a film asking a hundred questions (is capitalism bad, are the police adequately prepared, are poor people to be feared, are the rich self-indulgent fools, is vigilantism good) and offering no answers, but the beauty of Bane as a villain is that he has no politics. Bane wants only to destroy the Dark Knight, both physically and emotionally, so his plan is relatively simple – break the Batman, and then reduce the city he protects to ruin. The intricacies of this plan make literally no sense as Nolan doesn’t seem to care about logic by this point (what is the deal with that bomb, just blow the place up already), and there are loads of arbitrarily weird things going on (the US government is just gonna sit this one out, ok Bats), but Tom Hardy does a yeoman’s job of making it work most of the time.

Hardy’s Bane is playful without descending into camp, he is physically threatening, and mentally imposing, I believe he could take on the Dark Knight in every way. His first fight with Batman is truly excellent, and his speeches are magnetic, it’s just a shame that by the end of the movie he can barely throw a punch and is revealed to have been working on someone else’s orders the whole time.

I should also note that Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman is way better than this film too.

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Review: Uncanny X-Men #30

Concise

Brian Micheal Bendis counties to tell his labyrinthine time travel story that has long since left logic and interest behind. There are pulled punches, obvious plot developments and sheer nonsense in this issue, and it still seems like Bendis doesn’t have a good handle on these characters. But then there is Chris Bachalo’s art – it remains rich, complex, and inventive. The reason to read this book is the excellent art, not the lacklustre story.

Grade: B-

Uncanny X-Men #30 Cover

Spoilerful

What a long and winding path this story has trodden with X-Men from many timelines all sharing one trait, an inability to act rationally. The majority of characters in this issue act and speak as one with each plot development, there are no unique voices – there is no difference between Beast and Storm for the purposes of this story because Bendis does not write them as nuanced individuals. They all agree Scott is wrong, that he has become a terrorist, that saving Matthew Malloy is too hard or too dangerous. Isn’t this exactly a situation they have faced before, an unstoppable mutant who may destroy us all (think Phoenix), and isn’t Scott’s attempt to talk Malloy down rather than fight him the exact thing that Professor X would have done? “Scott Summers is making his play” says a frankly idiotic Beast – yes Hank, something must be done to stop one mutant from helping another.

Bendis has tried to tell the story of Scott Summers’ descent from Professor X idealist to Magneto terrorist, but he has failed to convince at every turn. It has never really been clear how much blame should be on Scott’s shoulders for the death of Professor X, after all he was under the influence of the Phoenix force, and yet Scott has been abandoned by his friends, Beast has even accused him of attempted genocide. So what is any of this really based on, Scott has repeated his manifesto not to let mutants be hunted by humans several times, but it doesn’t sound much different to the X-Men’s old remit. I still don’t understand whether Cyclops is the hero or the villain of this story, but it seems like Bendis doesn’t know either. This might be intentional on Bendis’ part, but there is nothing to back it up in the book, no heated debate or well framed argument about the rights and wrongs of Scott’s actions – every character just magically agrees that Scott has to be stopped without really exploring why. This is much the same as the repeated convention of ‘broken powers’ that Bendis has played with in this book, he says they are broken, but refuses to explore how or why.

So Scott has become a half-formed mini-Magneto (but one without the passion, rhetoric, or personality), and the remaining X-Men are all standing around talking for literally months (how long have they been stood in that office?), which I guess means there is only one man who can save the day. Eva has travelled back to an unspecified earlier time in X-Men history to recruit a young Professor X. When Beast had his cockamamie idea to bring the original X-Men forward in time it achieved literally nothing except convoluted storytelling and forced drama. And here again Bendis writes a character in a bizarre way – this Professor X is unhelpful and obtuse, even threatening to control Eva’s mind. This is unlike any 616 Professor X I have ever read. Oh wait, no it is just like the unreasonable mutant rights obliterating Charles that Bendis wrote at the start of this story. “This is the other Charles Xavier I’ve heard about” Eva says, but I wonder where she heard about this person. In Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men, for example, the professor made some dubious choices but that was because he was taking on responsibility for protecting mutants not shirking it. For some reason Bendis wants all of his characters to be on the grey end of the moral spectrum, but then he writes them on the grey end of the interest spectrum.

Bachalo has long been one of the most inventive and exciting artists working on Marvel’s core books, and he is especially good at drawing X-Men. His panels as Malloy comes back to life and the subsequent angles on his retribution are just great, and boy can Bachalo draw destruction incredibly well. He also colours much of his own work and his technique for flashbacks and close-ups, Ben-Day dotted shades of grey, remain a personal favourite of mine. The Professor at the pool side is suitably relaxed and the panel composition mirrors the subsequent destructive panels; Bachalo is contrasts these environments to great effect. This isn’t a vintage Bachalo book, he isn’t given an opportunity to really cut loose in this issue as it is mostly large talky panels, but his work always has character, detail, and depth.

Scott, Illyana, and Emma are not going to remain dead, Matt Malloy won’t destroy the world, but the Professor will almost certainly complicate the already stretched-thin-time-travel-shenanigans that Bendis seems intent on drowning the X-Men in. There is no character development in this book, and a very slow-moving nonsensical plot. If not for the always dependable Chris Bachalo this book would not be easy reading.

Uncanny X-Men #30 Panel (Bachalo)

Uncanny X-Men #30 // Writer – Brian Michael Bendis / Art – Chris Bachalo / Colours – Chris Bachalo & Antonio Fabella // Marvel

Notes and Observations

  • The long running X-Men visual of the ‘Magneto Was Right’ t-shirt is wonderfully subverted in a brief moment after Malloy arrives at the school – a shirtless character has ‘Thanos Was Right’ painted on his chest. Glob Herman is there too!
  • Maria Hill is necessarily merciless, but I still can’t get on board with her war on Cyclops – it just doesn’t make sense.
  • Malloy looks noticeably younger once he resurrects himself. Not sure if that is on purpose.
  • I have no idea why Marvel insist on publishing Kris Anka covers on a Bachalo illustrated book and then Bachalo covers on an Anka book.

All art belongs to the copyright holders

Review: They’re Not Like Us #2

Concise

Another great issue of an already great book.  Stephenson is at home exploring the ambiguity of vigilantism and super-heroism here, and he is offering up a wealth of exciting questions about the true nature of this group; there is plenty of scope for this anti-hero book to become both an intimate journey for Syd and an epic tale for this world. Gane’s art remains remarkable, but it is really colourist Jordie Bellaire who steals the show with some truly exceptional work throughout. This book is going somewhere very interesting.

Grade: A

They're Not Like Us #2 Cover

Spoilerful

So I guess these are the bad guys. Or are they? This issue spends a lot of time establishing that the group of ‘specials’ we were introduced to last time are as morally ambiguous as their leader The Voice. They beat people up and steal their stuff, they are violent, callous, and petty, and they don’t seem to be too affected by the brutality of any of it. Juxtapose these violent images with the first time we met the members of this group last issue – then they were all friendly smiles for Syd (except for the ever intriguing Misery Kid of course), but now they wear malicious grins as they go about their work.

The Voice explains to Syd that the group take liberties because they can and because they want to, and that mankind has always feared those who were different and should be thrown off its pedestal, but Maisie enters the scene with an alternative agenda. Is it possible the group are taking a round about way to deal with crime given that the targets of their attacks are criminals themselves? This may be the case, but it still seems like both The Voice and Maisie are keeping Syd in the dark about their true agenda – Maisie says the tagger draws attention to the neighbourhood so is it merely self-preservation at work as the group ensures they stay hidden?

Artist Simon Gane continues to do incredible work in this book; each panel is filled with the physicality of the characters and their emotions seem to emanate from the page. When Maisie talks of a more noble cause The Voice is visibly dismissive, during the attack the use of Moon’s illusion is wonderfully (and efficiently) portrayed, and when Moon claims the headphones she looks positively demonic. The spoils of the attack are shown in a small cluster of panels; this pitiful haul is all they got despite the violence of their crime (and Stephenson has great fun with the ‘fortune’ line).

Music is an interesting through line in this book so far. Last issue The Voice made sure to emphasise the luxury of the group’s music room and record collection, and Loog mentions that he, just like Syd, was drawn to the room on his first night. Knowing that The Voice has telepathic powers makes the obvious conclusion that he has planted a physic suggestion to return to the room in Syd’s mind, but the headphones, album recommendations, issue titles (both Manic Street Preachers song titles), and back page lyric quotes give this more meaning. Last issue it was the Manic Street Preachers with a song about disaffection and rebellion, this time it is Public Image Ltd with a protest song rejecting apartheid (from the album that Loog recommends). I wonder if the first song might speak more to The Voice’s view on the group’s activities, whilst the second might be closer to Maisie’s view.

Wow, the colouring in this book continues to amaze. The first page is solid black (excluding the internal page edge that is uncoloured on every page), this is a point of view panel from the guy on the front page and all three victims on the next; this is what it looks like to be on the receiving end of an attack from the group (and it reminds of Syd’s unconsciousness last issue). The attack itself takes place in the darkening dusk, and the victim’s vulnerability is emphasised by the blackness around him. When we see the attack sequences in flashback (or flash forward if they are from Maisie’s perspective) they are shrouded in a deep blood-red, mirroring the violence of the attack. Throughout the rest of the book the colours are warm, rich, and enticing, just like the comfort of the world and freedom that The Voice offers Syd.

Two issues in and this book has really caught me: it has an energy and creativity that is enticing, and its moral ambiguity begs to be explored. We still don’t really understand this group of characters, or what part Syd will play in their story, but the revelation that Syd’s narration is coming from some point in the future just adds more questions. I have a feeling this book will continue to go from strength to strength, and it is already pretty darn strong.

They're Not Like Us #2 Panel

They’re Not Like Us #2 // Writer – Eric Stephenson / Art – Simon Gane / Colours – Jordie Bellaire // Image

Notes and Observations

  • The protagonists refer to regular people as ‘normals’ but we still don’t have an in-universe term for people with special powers yet.
  • The only time we see Misery Kid this issue is when Syd suffers a flood of telepathic images – he is apparently putting a scalpel to someone’s arm. Well, that doesn’t look too good, but I’m still thinking that he might actually be a good guy – don’t ask me why, it’s just a feeling!
  • Two minor peeves for an otherwise excellent issue; Syd remains in her hospital gown for a second issue, would someone please get this woman some clothes! And, how great would it have been if Blurgirl were punching out a man on that first page (girls don’t only have to fight girls!)

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Thoughts and Feelings About Gone Girl

This essay contains spoilers.

image

David Fincher is an accomplished filmmaker, but for all his flare and vision his latest thriller rarely rises above its airport potboiler roots. The movie looks great, every scene, shot, and movement is perfectly orchestrated and the shocks, twists, and revelations are well handled. Gillian Flynn’s script, adapted from her own book, includes moments of tension, rare levity, drama, and horror. Ultimately though this film left me with some major misgivings about its representation of women.

Gone Girl presents an unhelpful caricature of the ‘wronged woman’ as a murderous, manipulative, and vindictive villain, and what is worse is that it uses deeply unsettling and wrong headed stereotypes of rape myths and victim blaming to do so. Some have claimed that this is a triumph of feminist propaganda, but what troubles me is that there are only three types of women in this movie and they are all negative portrayals. As a woman you are either an aggressive gossip/TV presenter (both TV personalities and the neighbour), ultimately powerless to affect anyone’s lives in any meaningful way at all (Margot and Detective Boney), or a cold hearted and manipulative criminal who rather than get a divorce when cheated upon falsely accuses someone of murder, actually commits a murder, and uses sexual violence against herself to control men. Margot is the only woman sympathetic to Nick and she can do nothing to help him, all the other women in his life are actively destructive (his girlfriend, the ‘fan’ at the volunteer centre, Amy’s mother), none more so of course than his wife Amy.

Amy is so dedicated to ensuring that Nick goes down for her murder that she has planned several fail-safe points where she would actually commit suicide. Throughout her time hiding out she eats constantly, presumably to both change her face/body shape as a disguise and to support her false pregnancy if she does commit suicide (though I don’t think she has considered how the weight gain and lack of actual pregnancy would be explained). Amy will literally stop at nothing, even death, to get her revenge on Nick. Why is she so vindictive? Not only because he cheated on her, but because she defines herself by him and he has betrayed the role she wants him to play. Amy wants Nick to play the character of a devoted, loving, and ambitious husband more then she wants him to actually be those things – it’s not important to her at the end of the film if he can even stand her, she just wants the illusion because it allows her to define herself more effectively. It didn’t matter that Nick had an affair, it mattered that he stopped caring how he represented himself to Amy and the world at large. Amy is all about the appearance, she wants to wear the disguise of being a successful wife (it’s never clear why she needs a husband to feel successful). The film is curious though in that it never gives us a ‘real’ Amy to understand or sympathise with. The flashback sequences are just Amy’s fantasy storytelling (complete with a cloying and overwrought score), the friendly neighbour was an act, the rape victim is a trap, and even the miraculous survivor is just a role she chooses to play. The only ‘real’ Amy we know anything about is the calculating mastermind, but we have no idea who she is behind those cold eyes. We spend the most time in the movie with Amy as the vulnerable run-away oppressed woman, but that of course is her most obvious disguise of all.

Whilst on the run the only person who we are seen explicitly unconvinced by Amy’s disguise is both a woman and poor. One reading could be that Amy’s arrogance and prejudice is the reason for this; she comes from a privileged background and has no understanding of those less well off than herself – she underestimates Greta because she is ‘lower class’, believing that simple tricks will be enough to obfuscate the truth (why does Amy even interact with Greta as it is surely just an extra risk to being discovered?). On the other hand this could simply be more damning evidence that Amy as manipulatrix is only able to influence men using her feminine wiles and sexual powers. We are told that Nick’s sister Margot never got on with Amy, and here Greta is able to quickly de-mask her. Detective Rhonda Boney is also unconvinced by Amy’s show once she returns from ‘captivity’ after killing Desi. A roomful of professional law enforcement is too prudish to talk about the sexual crimes that Amy claims to have experienced and is unwilling to give any credence to the very reasonable questions and inconsistencies raised by Boney. At this point in the film Amy’s story is laughably incomplete, full of plot holes, and delivered in an unbelievable and overly dramatic monologue – why would these officers believe any of it? Oh yeah, they are men and Amy is able to cast a spell over men no matter who they are.

There are some moments of sympathy for Amy Dunne in this movie, most notably those where we learn of her childhood, overbearing parents, and unbeatable ‘sibling’ Amazing Amy, however, none of it is explored enough to really give credence to Amy’s psychological state being the result of anything other than stone cold feminine malice. We learn that she could never keep up with her fictional counterpart, but we also learn that she got to try her hand at music or horse riding and was able to walk away from it if she didn’t enjoy it – this isn’t a situation where her parents forced her to excel, she was allowed to try things and fail. Not to mention the fact that she was raised in luxury. We are told that she and Nick have money troubles once they are laid off (and her parents raid her trust fund), but they still seem to be able to purchase a very large house in Nick’s home town, and a bar, and have a line of credit that runs to hundreds of thousands of dollars. I bring this up not because I think rich people have no problems, but because outside of her failing marriage and loneliness there doesn’t seem to be any external factor that leads her to become a murderer and Machiavellian genius. Unless you count Tommy O’Hara.

A friend of mine has talked about giving the movie the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the film’s anti-feminist message about the true nature of women and marriage. If you work for it there is a potential way some of the film’s message can be explained more sympathetically. But you really have to want it. Tommy O’Hara is first raised by the police in a question about Amy’s past legal case against him, and is someone Amy has never mentioned to Nick. O’Hara was convicted of sexual assault against Amy. When Nick meets O’Hara he explains that in fact Amy pulled the same manipulative shtick she is pulling now having falsely accused him after he tried to leave her. On the surface the movie plays this straight – the protagonist of the film, Nick, is being persecuted by Amy and he believes Tommy as it supports his version of events. Our sympathy is with Nick, we know he has been framed, and we are given no direct evidence to contradict Tommy’s story, especially as it is in line with what we know about Amy’s modus operandi.

But what if Tommy is lying? It could be that Amy did not tell Nick about this incident not because it was evidence of her past indiscretions but rather because she was the victim of abuse and doesn’t want to relive it. The only other ex-boyfriend we see is actual legitimately creepy stalker Neil Patrick Harris (Amy’s story about him is true) so although Tommy being innocent is in line with current events, him being guilty is in line with past ones. If Tommy really did assault Amy might this be a factor in her subsequent actions? Whilst that is an interesting potential motivation for the character even if it is true then the film would still suffer from presenting an unhelpful archetype of the vengeful female victim – she reclaims her agency and power but uses it to destroy an ‘innocent’ man (and murder an arguably mentally unbalanced one) whilst leaving the real villain to live his life.

My problem with this movie is the message it ultimately sends regarding marriage, victims, and women in general. There are no powerful females in this film who aren’t criminals (sure Detective Boney is fair and just, but she is unable to act even when she knows Amy is a lying killer). Greta is a thief (though she needs male muscle to get the job done) and Amy is the ‘Napoleon of Fake Sexual Violence Crimes’. The closing sentiment is the inevitability that the average innocent man will end up trapped by marriage and pregnancy at the hands of a dangerous and unstable woman. Though I don’t think the creators of Gone Girl believe this to be true, and it is possible to enjoy this film as the disposable thriller it is intended as, I do find this film to be problematic. The fact that there are so few films out there that deal with the victims of rape and sexual violence in an even handed and responsible fashion makes it all the more important for those films that do tackle this important subject matter to do so in a less sensational and destructive way.

Review: Bitch Planet #1

Concise –

This is a bold new book that sets out to imagine a patriarchal society where non-compliant women are considered valueless criminals. The satire is biting, the art great, and the story compelling. The creative team behind this book, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, and Cris Peter, and Clayton Cowles, have something to say and it is well worth listening up.

Grade: A

BitchPlanet_01-1

Spoilerful –

Let’s start on the outside. It would be hard to miss the intentions of this book from the moment you set eyes on it; both the name of the book and the front cover immediately evoke grindhouse sexploitation flicks and the strapline “Are you WOMAN enough to survive” lets us know we are in for a female-centric tale of tough women fighting for survival. Then there’s the silhouette depicted on the cover, and described as “caged and enraged” – a realistically proportioned woman. Bitch Planet is going to be about women, but it isn’t just out to glamorise or exploit; this book may have the trappings of a sexploitation film, but it isn’t going to be one.

Our first introduction to the setting of Bitch Planet is on the Earth of the future, a bustling metropolis where oppressive advertising appears commonplace. The advertising itself seems aimed primarily at women – weight loss “Eat less, poop more”, compliance “Obey”, and beauty “no more pores” are all clear topics. The panel lay out of this page emphasises the passage of time – a character, presumably out protagonist, is running late, someone is counting down, and the scene is shifting from the streets to the studio as we move down the page. This is a voice over artist and her script is a treatise, almost biblical in nature, about our planet – it is not Mother Earth we live on rather it’s Father Earth. We don’t know who this character is, we aren’t introduced to her here, and once we get to the prison the centre of the story pivots to another woman, Marian, so this opening presents an interesting mystery at this point.

Before we arrive at the prison we are given a glimpse of our cast of characters – there are six women with different shapes and builds, each naked in pink fluid, and connected to tubes and pipes, these women are going to be reborn at Bitch Planet and each will be equal, no possessions, no clothes, just their naked selves. The women are filed into the ‘Auxiliary Compliance Outpost’ and told to get their uniforms. They remain naked but they are not sexualised, this is a scene of humiliation and dehumanisation – to the prison they are all the same, criminals. Penelope Rolle is the first of the ‘criminals’ we really meet, she is unimpressed by the size of her uniform and isn’t afraid to express her discontent. She is well built, her left arm  tattoo reads “born big”, and she is willing to get into it with the guards. The situation quickly escalates and we have a riot, just as the two supervisors we’ve seen in cut away panels have predicted.

During the riot we get to meet another couple of important characters, a second woman who is not afraid to stand up to authority, and the ‘innocent’ woman. A caption, “no one deserves this”, follows the innocent, Marian, being knocked unconscious, except this isn’t someone talking about her situation or that of the prison, this is Marian’s husband talking about how he is being made to wait in reception. What follows is a well executed bait and switch, not the only one of those in this book, as both the husband and Marian confess their love, history, and crime. There has been a ‘mistake’, Mr Collins just wants his loving and compliant wife back. Except it slowly emerges that he is talking about his new wife and Marian means nothing to him at. She has been cast out, traded in for a younger model as the disagreeable phrase goes.

The women at this prison protect each other, maybe out of duty or because they hate their oppressors or even just because they want a good fight, but it certainly seems like they are willing to go out of their way to keep each other alive. Except for one of them; a mysterious figure is handed a shiv and uses it to kill Marian whilst her protector is fighting the guards. This establishes two things, first there is someone who can not be trusted amongst the women in this group, and second, that the real protagonist of this story is the as the wouldbe protector, Kamau Kogo. Is it possible Kamau is the woman from the start of the book, the narrator of her own expulsion from Father Earth? “I think we just found the star of out show” utters one of the supervisors, and I for one am very keen to see what she does next

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The prisoners arriving at ‘Bitch Planet’

Bitch Planet #1 // Writer – Kelly Sue DeConnick / Art – Valentine De Landro / Colours – Cris Peter // Image

Notes and Observations:

  • The guards on Bitch Planet wear full face masks that obscure their features and make them all appear uniformly faceless, dehumanising, and chillingly unsympathetic.
  • Penelope Rolle shares her forename with the wife of Odysseus in Greek myth, a woman who stoically and faithfully waited for her husband for 10 years.
  • One of the prisoners asks the others to count the guards, is a prison break in the offing? It’s worth noting though that this same woman also goes down the stairs to intervene in the caging of Marian, could she be the one who used the shiv?
  • The supervisors refer to assassinating Marian as “Closing the red window”. That is some cold terminology.

 

All art belongs to the copyright holder