Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight Issues #2 & 3 – Prison Ship Antares
Script: Alex De Campi
Art: Simon Fraser
Colors: Simon Fraser & Victoria Lau
Cover art: Francesco Francavilla
Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight first brought alien bee-women to a suburban desert town, now in the second story, “Prison Ship Antares,” women prisoners are sent into space as explorers. The second story in the series is not connected to the first two issues, but it still oozes that shocking grindhouse style.
This particular entry evokes the style of 70s exploitation films like Women in Cages and The Big Doll House – but this story is in space. Alex De Campi has really made a strange creation this time ’round; it’s full of the same kind of colour characters that those movies were built on.
As in many of the “women in prison” films, the comic is filled with dire situations – and plenty of women who are ready to overcome them. De Campi proves her point that society would rather hide away its criminals than face the realities of society. So why not send prisoners off into space?
“Where could we find brave men willing to spend the rest of their lives traversing the cold vacuum of space? Men willing to leave behind bright futures on Earth for the tedium and danger of a cramped spaceship?”
Some time in the distant future, the spacecraft Antares is headed to the nearest earth-like planet. It is nearly 20 years of travel away – not exactly a trip many would sign up their lives for. So the women prisoners of earth are sent out instead. Unfortunately for the girls, their warden is Kalinka. She’s a brutal bitch who is hellbent on ‘purifying’ the women aboard. And this little plan doesn’t include Bible study.
As the treatment begins to worsen on Antares, it’s up to the prisoners to set aside their differences and ban together to take command of their own lives. Fraser’s panels are fantastic. They’re full of power. During the climax of the story, he makes all the action count.
“Prison Ship” is probably stronger than “Bee Vixens” story wise. The big-budget idea is really fun. The writing is really quick-witted. Although the scenes can be a bit crass, it doesn’t linger too long to feel uncomfortable or forced. That being said, there isn’t any single character in either issue here who is cooler than Officer Garcia. Like “Bee Vixens,” though, this won’t be a story for everyone.