If Pretty Deadly has you confused don’t worry you are not alone. Kelly Sue DeConnick’s unique take on the western and violently mythic exposition is worth lauding over and experiencing for what it is and not what we want to package it into to.
Official description from IMAGE:
Every Death must love and every Death must die; the cycle of world demands it. The one who captures our last breath must breathe his last before becoming inured to the pain of loss. This cycle is ending. But this Death… will not go easy.
I’ll admit it, I like straight forward superhero plots and action but I love that the creators have Image as an outlet to think and tell stories outside the box. Pretty Deadly is not only outside the box it literally demolishes it. If I say I fully get what DeConnick is laying down I would be a lair but I still feel that Pretty Deadly is telling a unique tale through a unique approach.
DeConnick uses a heavily poetic style to bring us Ginny’s world and the battle that she faces full throttle and each character is an integral part from Sissy, Fox, The Mason, Coyote and Death. It’s not always the easiest of reads but it has plenty of merit and style to carry you along. The opening sequence between Coyote and Sissy spells out in it’s undertones the struggle sometimes to make sense of DeConnick’s mystical western.
The story’s complexity aside there is plenty of violence and raw energy as well. The second half of this issue is the best example of mixing the poetic dialogue with graphic violence between Fox and Ginny which DeConnick is not afraid to juxtapose with the mystical elements.
I love Emma Rios’ line work and Jordie Bellaire’s color palette which match the western and otherworldly elements to a tee. The panels are well structured and visually striking. My only complaint is that sometimes, especially in action scenes, the line work is excessive and details are lost making difficult to keep up with what’s happening in the moment. While it fits Rios’ overall style it can be frustrating all the same.
Artistically this book strikes all the right chords in both the writing and the art but for some I’m sure it’s a bit overwhelming. Pretty Deadly isn’t a title that you blow through rapidly because of the dense nature of the storytelling. It may be off-putting to some but it’s still a damn good book overall. I was left more confused than normal with issue #4 but it’s worth reading more than once. This is a comic book that raises the standard for both reading and art and what we’ve come to expect but DeConnick is setting herself up for a place among some of the best abstract storytellers in the business. Pretty Deadly proves she’s willing to make the reader work for their supper but it’s worth the effort.