This entry finishes out my close reading of the comic itself. Part VII will tackle the extra materials. As before, this contains all the spoilers. Check out the previous parts here: Part I. Part II. Part III. Part IV. Part V.
The wild-haired woman opens her hands, preparing for action. As she leaps on the guards, she tells Marian to stay low. She takes on the four guards at once, throwing elbows and scissor kicks. Penny looks up at her from her own four-guard match and laughs, “I know where I seen you before, girl…”
An alarm sounds in the prison. Marian is focused on the wild-haired woman’s fight. The knife-wielding hand comes into view. The wild-haired woman’s attention is drawn by the sound of a sliced throat and a splurt of blood. The next panel gives a near silhouette of Marian gripping her throat, trying to speak through pink lips with blood spilling from between her fingers.
The wild-haired woman reaches out to Marian, but she knows it’s too late. Subset panels show the two Operators closing the Red Window. Marian’s death was a “courtesy” by the Council of Fathers to appease Mr. Collins for the inconvenient mix-up of Dawn for Marian. The perverse abuse of power is sickening.
The name “Council of Fathers” directly links to the concept of Patriarchy, that the father is the head of the household and the household is the microcosm of society. It further links to the concept of God as masculine, our Father, which connects both to The Catholic and the history lesson of pages 2-3, wherein the creation myth ends in the Father casting these women out.
Three panels depict the ebbing life of Marian, showing her go from peach to gray.
One Operator asks, “Who is she?” Most of the page is taken up by a battle-posed, now with knife, shot of our wild-haired woman, Marian’s would-be savior. The other Operator answers, “Her name is Kamau Kogo, and Schiti, my friend…I think we just found the star of our show.”
His name is Schiti (shitty)? Larf.
The comment that Kamau might be the star of their show has double meaning. First, DeConnick pulled a Psycho on her readers. In fact, the murdered-midway-through-the-movie-heroine of Psycho is Marian Crane. Hitchcock’s Psycho shocked audiences of the day by making them think, though classical narrative style, that Marian was the film’s protagonist. When she is murdered halfway through, the audience is thrown for a loop wondering who the protagonist is now. In Psycho, the audience jumps their allegiance to Norman, but here in Bitch Planet, when our Marian gets murdered, we’re aligned with Penny and Kamau.
Second, the Operators are now also Producers and Editors of an unknown show. The photography lights of the introduction to The Catholic are now contextualized. The women’s punishment on Bitch Planet is the equivalent of a sinner put in a Coffin in the town’s square. They are to be put on display to model the rules for and entertain the compliant people of Earth. That sort-of explonentially (portmanteau: exponentially explodes) increases the exploitation of these women. Not only are they imprisoned, their punishment is sold back to the “free” as capitalist entertainment. The prison is there to distract us from the fact that society is a prison, Baudrillard said. The mediation of this prison by the Council of Fathers distracts the people of “free” Earth that their society is fascist.
But perhaps even the people of Earth just need a leader like Penny or Kamau to throw the first punch to rise against their oppressors. I am truly excited to see where this series will lead.