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Cell by Cell: ‘Bitch Planet’ #6 Part 6

BitchPlanet_06-1In this Cell by Cell, I look deeply into the panels of Bitch Planet #6, pages 11-12, appreciating and analyzing the story and artistic composition.

Bitch Planet #6
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by Taki Soma
Cover by Valentine De Landro
Colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Published by Image Comics on January 6, 2016

Click here if you’d prefer to see my review of the issue.

In these two pages, Mr. Braxton gets down to business with Makoto. And business is blackmail.

Page 11

Bitch Planet #6 Page 11In cell 1, Makoto gets aggressive about finally getting Doug Braxton to discuss the problem with the Polestar plans. But Doug calls for more saki first, though he’s already clearly drunk. Yume’s subtle sarcasm in the response that their out speaks volumes about her character and role in society. Any subversion from women must be heavily veiled, so as not to show up on radar or to be believably denied. The compositional lines all lead to Doug, and the lines and boxes created by the wall and hanging lights build a subtle effect of introducing the trap Doug is setting for Makoto.

Cell 2 shows the breakdown of niceties as Mack gets annoyed at Doug’s utter lack of forthcomingness. Makoto holds his chin in his fist, showing growing boredom with Braxton’s antics. He also turns to sarcasm with his comment about drinking lighter fluid. Meanwhile Doug just looks sad that the saki is gone. This is the brilliance of the character. On the one hand he is so clearly pathetic. He’s just a little kid, practically, an entitled brat. He’s got nothing of his own making, instead just appropriating other people’s culture and opportunities. But he’s as dangerous as an adder. The more he drinks, the more Mack thinks he’s getting the upper hand. But that is not at all the case. When Makoto finally gets Doug to answer his question, the response is dismissive, condescending, and smacking of his signature cultural appropriate: “You’ve shit the bed, Sensei.”

To read the rest of my analysis, click through to PopOptiq.com!


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Cell by Cell: ‘Bitch Planet’ #6 Part 5

BitchPlanet_06-1In Cell by Cell, I look deeply into the panels of an issue, appreciating and analyzing the story and artistic composition.

Bitch Planet #6
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by Taki Soma
Cover by Valentine De Landro
Colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Published by Image Comics on January 6, 2016

See Cell by Cell: Bitch Planet #6 part 1 here.

Click here if you’d prefer to see my review of the issue.

Page 9BP6-9

Now the comfortable, happy family stuff falls away when Mr. Braxton calls Makoto at the office. The panels are layered and unaligned, creating a faster pace and chaotic mood. Cell 1 gives an establishing shot of the skyscraper that houses Maki’s business. The panel starts in lighter shades of yellow, blue, and pink with heavy contrasting shadows. This is a conversation that seems pleasant but has dark threats underneath. Cell 2 re-establishes the scene’s layout with a medium-long framing of the office interior. Braxton appears on a video screen. Makoto is initially standing, showing his position of power in the moment. In the next row of panels, he will sit as the power shifts. The many blues give the scene a coolness, reflecting the blackmailing that is being slowly delivered to Makoto.

Cell 3 is Makoto’s point-of-view of Braxton on the vidscreen. He’s a young, blond man, his finger wagging in accusation and disapproval as he mentions inconsistencies in the plans that concern him. There is a condescension implied in Braxton’s manner. His youth accentuates his privilege as a white man. Though he barely seems old enough to have finish college, he is overseeing Maki’s work. In cell 4, we see Braxton’s point-of-view of Makoto’s reaction. It’s a small panel, implying the small estimation of Maki’s power in this situation. Mack is initially speechless, perhaps trying to figure out how best to respond. His background has gone black, showing the mental and emotional abyss he’s in contemplating being caught at sabotaging the space ship.

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For the rest of my analysis on pages 9-10, click through to PopOptiq– http://www.popoptiq.com/cell-by-cell-bitch-planet-6-part-5/


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Cell by Cell: ‘Bitch Planet’ #6 Part 3

BitchPlanet_06-1In Cell by Cell, I look deeply into the panels of an issue, appreciating and analyzing the story and artistic composition.

Bitch Planet #6
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by Taki Soma
Cover by Valentine De Landro
Colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Published by Image Comics on January 6, 2016

Page 5

The page break takes us from the morning’s lessons to the evening’s dinner. The layout patterns the panels on top of each other like a scrapbook, creating a feeling of nostalgic memory. To be certain, these two pages are probably golden moments tinged with regret for their briefness to all four Maki family members.

Cell 1 is an establishing frame of outside the house. The dark blues in the coloring establish evening. The point-of-view is average enough to be objective but angled and distanced just enough to suggest a possible watching eye at night, perhaps a drone camera. This possibility is cemented by Makoto in the final panel.

Read the rest of my analysis over at PopOptiq.com.


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Cell by Cell: Bitch Planet #6 Pt 2

BitchPlanet_06-1In Cell by Cell, I look deeply into the panels of an issue, appreciating and analyzing the story and artistic composition.

Bitch Planet #6
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by Taki Soma
Cover by Valentine De Landro
Colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Published by Image Comics on January 6, 2016

Page 3

This page sets up a regular, six-panel page with each panel of equal size. The structure connotes the comfortable order of the Maki home during this time. Reinforcing the harmony of the house is the many smiles shared between family members and the warm color tones–mostly sepia brown with some red and yellow. There are blue and green tones, but they have a softness, indicating calm and the naturalness of grass and water.

BP6-3The page introduces the joy and intimacy in the relationships between Makoto and his wife and daughters. The conversation isn’t incredibly deep–revolving around being on time and experimentation with muffin recipes–instead, the relationships are developed in the physical language as they speak. Smiles that go all the way up to the eyes. The cock-eyed smirks and winks of shared jokes. This is an idyllic pre-work morning.

In cell 1, Meiko comes down the stairs and finds Makoto with a steaming muffin in hand. She asks why he isn’t at work yet, indicating that on most mornings, Mack would be gone by this time. Makoto shushes her, but in a playful way. This is not the fatherly control of the Council. Her added height from being up two stairs suggests the more egalitarian power structure in the family. He tells her he can’t resist the fresh from the oven muffins in cell 2. The gold background fills the panel with a visual warmth akin to the kinesthetic warmth of the muffins.

 

For the rest of the analysis of pages 3 and 4, click through to PopOptiq.com.

 


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Cell by Cell: Bitch Planet #6 Pt 1

BitchPlanet_06-1In Cell by Cell, I look deeply into the panels of an issue, appreciating and analyzing the story and artistic composition.

Bitch Planet #6
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art by Taki Soma
Cover by Valentine De Landro
Colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Published by Image Comics on January 6, 2016

Cover

Central to the image is Meiko bound with her hands behind her back. She is barefoot, turned away from front, looking back over her shoulder with her face set in determined defiance. The posture suggests the metaphorical “looking back” that happens in this issue through flashback. The binding isn’t a particular moment we see in the comic issue, though it could be an unshown moment of incarceration adjacent to what is depicted, most likely the end when she makes a play against her guard-rapist, landing her a transfer to Bitch Planet.

The background image is a blueprint, bringing in the plot machination of Meiko and her father designing the Fathers’ fancy space ship. There is a rip in the blueprint to suggest the “breaking” of Meiko, her transformation from seemingly compliant to murderous. To the left stand three men, seemingly white, definitely suited, suggesting the business men who flex their power over subordinates and women, and in particular her father’s boss who attempts to marry Meiko. Behind the men are repeated circles with stylized outlines shaped like angular violins–which play as both a mask of compliance and the source of her weapon. To her right is Meiko’s head in the expression of vocal outrage. She will not be silent or passive. That’s what we love about her. The announcement that she’s an “Extraordinary Machine” is no hyperbole, but it does play ambiguously: machines are objects, but also do their jobs without emotional distraction.

A final layer places concentric circles over Meiko and the men. This design suggests chaos, especially mental. Though Meiko has seemed one of the sanest women at the ACO, the tension and weight of her decision to murder a man to save her father cannot be discounted, and it creates much of the suspense of the issue.

 

For the analysis of the first two pages of the comic, click through to the full article on PopOptiq.com.

http://www.popoptiq.com/cell-by-cell-bitch-planet-6-part-1/


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Cell by Cell: ‘Bitch Planet’ #5 (Part 11)

BitchPlanet05Cover

Kelly Sue Deconnick (writer), Valentine De Landro (artist), Image Comics

In Cell by Cell, I look deeply into the panels of an issue, appreciating and analyzing the story and artistic composition.

Pages 23-25 Overview

The final three pages drop the symmetrical structure because the power balance has been thrown so far askew that there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the game is entirely rigged. The double-page spread of 23-24 has no symmetry at all, instead having four panels each in entirely different sizes and layouts.

As the narrative of the final violent event plays out, the panels become more regular and more cinematic, mimicking the ratio of a theatrical widescreen. The chaotic action of the previous pages gets stripped down to reveal the horrifying realization of Meiko’s death. Once the guard does his evil deed, the story becomes entirely about the women’s responses.

To read the full article, go to PopOptiq.com!

http://www.popoptiq.com/cell-by-cell-bitch-planet-5-part-11/

BP5-23-25

 


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Cell by Cell: ‘Bitch Planet’ #5 (Part 10)

BitchPlanet05Cover

Kelly Sue Deconnick (writer), Valentine De Landro (artist), Image Comics

In Cell by Cell, I look deeply into the panels of an issue, appreciating and analyzing the story and artistic composition.

Pages 21-22 Overview

As the violence ramps up to the issue’s conclusion, the action on the field and the layout of that action becomes more fragmented and chaotic. Faces are hyper-expressive, causing frustration, panic, and, in the case of Operative Whitney, smug enjoyment to leap off the page.

A new layout presents a structural diagonal, as before intensifying the sense of tension and chaos. It also creates a disorienting zoom in, pull back effect, like a dolly zoom (or Vertigo effect) for the page:

It’s a technique that expresses two concurrent qualities: disorientation and realization. Certainly, punches in the face are disorienting, but worse is the realization that Meiko is left entirely unguarded.

The diagonal lines of narrative created by the littlest panels featuring close-ups of Penny’s face and fist can be read in multiple directions, as long as the bottom right panel is read last, indicating her sudden realization and panic about being distracted from her defensive duties. They can also be read as happening concurrent to the panels featuring Kam, Alika, and Meiko, creating a heightened sense of chaos.

For the rest of the analysis of these pages, click through to the full article on PopOptiq.

http://www.popoptiq.com/cell-by-cell-bitch-planet-5-part-10/

BP5-21-22

 


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Cell by Cell: ‘Bitch Planet’ #5 (Part 9)

BitchPlanet05Cover

Kelly Sue Deconnick (writer), Valentine De Landro (artist), Image Comics

In Cell by Cell, I look deeply into the panels of an issue, appreciating and analyzing the story and artistic composition.

Pages 19-20 Overview

This is it. The beginning of the end. The finale of the episode. Here comes the heartbreak.

Keeping the 2-page, symmetrical spread of the game scenes, these two pages kick off a 6-page action scene depicting the end of the scrimmage match between the N.C. team and the A.C.O. guards.

The antagonism continues to rise as a guard picks a fight with Penny. Unable to let the aggressions pass, Penny gets distracted from her defensive duty, allowing another team member to get double-teamed and escalating further violence with the guards.

BP5-19-20


Cell 1 
is a close-up of a sweaty Meiko, smiling exactly like she was in the family picture at the end of the last page. To emphasize the connection, dialogue from Makoto, the closing bit of his argument with Yumi, is placed in a special box above her head: “Because she is our little girl.” BP5-19-1If this dialogue were coming from Josephson, it would seem condescending. From Makoto, though, it captures his regret that she’s gone. He misses the simpler time of her youth, before non-compliance. In spite of her criminal label, he attempts to maintain that relationship in his heart, reminds his wife of it. All that emotion is juxtaposed with Meiko’s indefatigable spirit. Her smile and her call for Kamau to give them the next play.

 

Read the rest of my analysis over at PopOptiq.

http://www.popoptiq.com/cell-by-cell-bitch-planet-5-part-9/


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Cell by Cell: ‘Bitch Planet’ #5 (Part 8)

BitchPlanet05Cover

Kelly Sue Deconnick (writer), Valentine De Landro (artist), Image Comics

In Cell by Cell, I look deeply into the panels of an issue, appreciating and analyzing the story and artistic composition.

Pages 17-18 Overview

This is the last part of the B-story of the issue. The 2-page scene splices together two dramatic moments: when the Makoto Maki tells his wife about the job, and the reflection in the car afterward. The merging of the two scenes is created in the familiar 8-panel dialogue page structure.

The scene is packed with emotion: Yumi’s anger at what she feels is Makoto’s betrayal of their success and Makoto’s feelings of regret and entrapment. Use of color and lighting and the juxtaposition of the two different but related moments amplify the emotional impact to lead into the issue’s climactic moments.

BP5-17-18

Page 17

Cell 1 and 2 give an establishing shot of the city split over two panels but continuous in the imagery. It’s reminiscent of the classic futuristic dystopia in Blade Runner, another setting that has off-world colonization. The city appears overcrowded, with elevated streets and tall buildings densely packed. Screens shine white on the gray, evidencing the advanced technology and importance of mediated message, while the familiar pink and blue color palette tints the asphalt. Yellow is added to the long shots, picking up the yellow in Yumi’s jacket and Makoto’s skin tone. The yellow suggests a third category to the compliant/non-compliant dichotomy symbolized in the prevalent blue/red (pink) palette. This couple finds themselves uncomfortably jockeying to stay compliant, but ultimately they’re being marginalized to another space altogether.

Read the rest of my analysis of these pages at PopOptiq.

http://www.popoptiq.com/cell-by-cell-bitch-planet-5-part-8/

 

BP5-18-7-8

 


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Cell by Cell: ‘Bitch Planet’ #5 (Part 7)

BitchPlanet05Cover

Kelly Sue Deconnick (writer), Valentine De Landro (artist), Image Comics

In Cell by Cell, I look deeply into the panels of an issue, appreciating and analyzing the story and artistic composition.

Pages 15-16 Overview

Switching back to the double page spread, De Landro once again employs the bilateral symmetry to emphasize the two sides of the game. But unlike the previous score of the game, this one shows the clear power imbalance. Though the layout is symmetrical, the guards have the judge on their side, and it allows them to get away with illegal plays and unnecessary violence.

Centralized in the page is the battle of wills between Kamau and Operative Whitney, but the battle is entirely one-sided. Kam has almost no power in this situation. Still, she stands up for her team and makes her voice heard.

BP5-15-16

 

Cell 1 spans the two pages. On the left side, taking up the bulk of the panel, is Penny getting tackled by two guards at once, double-teaming her. One appears to throw a punch. She yells in response. On the right side, Kam calls a foul. Her partial crouch shows her attention to seeing all of what’s happening to Penny down on the floor. This is the most important moment of the page and thus gets the largest panel. The extra-wide panel transitions the reader out of the small, enclosed spaces of offices and bathrooms in the parallel storyline and into the large expanse of the A.C.O. gym turned arena.

For the rest of my analysis, click through to PopOptiq.

http://www.popoptiq.com/cell-by-cell-bitch-planet-5-part-7/