For the final issue of the first arc, the cover warns you to “steel yourselves for heartbreak,” but no amount of armor could come close to preparing you for impact.
Bitch Planet #5 is not just emotionally intense, it is intellectually acute, as well. It works because Kelly Sue knows how to tell a compelling story, and so you’re totally engaged in the fiction. Still, Bitch Planet forces you to think beyond the plot. I suppose you could read the issue and gloss over the metacontext, but it wouldn’t be without some effort. That stands out to me as a strength because as much as I love Wu and Fletcher’s Black Canary (and many of the other Big Two books), the ride is over so quickly. 20 pages and a bunch of advertisements doesn’t feel particularly satisfying, whereas Bitch Planet is wonderfully dense with content. Maybe that’s not your bag, but I enjoy spending time with my comics.
The thing that presents itself most prominently to me in Bitch Planet #5 is intersectionality where some have privilege in certain ways, but are oppressed in other ways. Both of which I touch on in my review. If you’re not familiar with the concept of intersectionality, then stop what you are doing and get to Googling. It is such an important concept. If you’re feeling academic, here’s an article on intersectionality in feminist theory.
Another thing that struck me is how the death in the issue is illustrated. Kelly Sue does a follow-up essay in the backmatter, and she says something that I had not given much thought to.
To stick the narrative landing at the end of the issue, I think it does call for a moment of pause where you are not sure whether the character is dead or not. So, that could simply be the reason why the execution wasn’t particularly gruesome. At the same time, the gravity and emotion of tragedy and trauma can be conveyed without graphic imagery. If that was intentional beyond the story beats, then I applaud it — especially when we’re dealing with men being violent towards women.
Read my review. Read Bitch Planet #5.
PS. This issue’s backmatter essay is by Lindy West, and it is a riot. I belly-laughed and said “Hell yeah!” a couple of times.