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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.

BP6-9-3-6

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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Meiko’s Backstory Sings With Reverberations in ‘Bitch Planet’ #6

BitchPlanet_06-1Bitch 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
It’s been four months wait since we last got a Bitch Planet fix. Despite that length of time, issue #6 does not disappoint. In fact, it amplifies the sound and fury of issue #5, offering ironic contrast to the characters of the present narrative by flashing back to the time of their innocence before the Protectorate squashed their dreams of building a better world.  Guest artist Taki Soma brings a delicacy of line to the story, emphasizing that hope is a thing with feathers, but also hollow, fragile bones.

Issue #6 relates Meiko Maki’s backstory and kicks off with a stark content warning for sexual assault. I revisit it here since I will be talking about the events of the issue, including the depicted sexual assault. For those wanting to avoid it altogether, issue #7 will pick up with the main storyline and not reference the assault in the summary.BitchPlanet06_Gallery_2

Issue #5 left Meiko Maki–our feisty, buoyant, rebellious Meiko–dead on the floor during the N.C. Megaton team’s scrimmage with the guards. Her father, meanwhile, was putting everything on the line to see her by accepting the job from Father Josephson to build an off-world arena. The tension of knowing he was too late twisted the knife of the loss of a beloved character.

Issue #6 fills in the backstory of how Meiko ended up incarcerated at the A.C.O. Although we might have gotten this story prior to her death to give more context, the reverberations backward are even more emotionally devastating. The dramatic irony of already knowing how all this ends up sings throughout the issue, giving her actions a shade of depressing futility. As Yume states, “The world is so broken. Our only mistake was thinking [our girls] wouldn’t be broken too.”

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

http://www.popoptiq.com/bitch-planet-6-review/