I’ve been walking into most of these new Image Comics blind and with little to no knowledge about them in order to have no bias or high expectations. Not the case with Pretty Deadly, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and drawn by Emma Rios.
I read interviews, summaries and articles, and I checked out the artwork when pages were posted online by different sites. The official Image description goes like this:
“KELLY SUE DECONNICK (Avengers Assemble, Captain Marvel) & EMMA RÍOS (Dr. Strange, Osborn) reunite to bring you an all-new ongoing series that marries the magical realism of Sandman with the western brutality of Preacher.
I am hyped and excited about this, but will my expectations be met? Is it good?
Pretty Deadly #1 (Image Comics)
In one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen this year, our comic here is a story that is told between a bunny and butterfly. A bunny with half of its body blown off.
Might be a tad bit difficult for the bunny with a chunk of its brain missing, you think?
The story is about a girl (well it’s about another girl that is skipped over) named Sissy who travels with a blind man named Fox, wearing clothing consisting of vulture feathers. They stop in a town and tell them all of a legend of the desert, about a woman who was trapped in a stone tower, how Death fell in love with her, and what came of it. They leave the town and head for some distant destination, while a mysterious gang rolls in led by a woman named Alice.
I found the setup of Pretty Deadly #1 to be very satisfactory, with the introduction of the blind man and the girl and two of them telling the legend (all in rhyme too) to the townsfolk. I found the mysteries with the backstories of each character, especially Fox, and the binder to be quite interesting, which should help make the audience want to stay with the book. It’s all initial setup for the most part, but it’s setup that’s well done and has you craving for more.
However, there are a few minor flaws I found as well: There are a few odd moments that feel a bit off or might confuse the reader to some degree. Excluding the opening exchange between those two animals, there is a scene midway through where Fox is shot at by a family friend, so it seems like Fox is the type of character that enjoys teasing people and testing their tempers. It’s very odd, especially considering how it’s mentioned that Fox should know better than to do that; it had me thinking the guy might be a villain with how his behavior came across. Also, the main character does not show up until the very last page, so if you were anticipating her arrival you’re in for a bit of disappointment.
The artwork is by Emma Rios and the coloring is Jordie Bellaire, and both of them do a fine job here. The characters look good, the scenery and locations are beautifully drawn and detailed, and there’s a great sense of movement and expression with the characters that help them feel more lively than static. I especially enjoyed the flow and layout when Sissy is telling the legend. I brought up the coloring because I feel it’s also just as important here. The color strikes the mood and tone in plenty of the scenes, especially with the last page.
The only things I can say negatively about the art is that some odd choices were made (though one maybe just because of the artist’s style). A majority of characters have very squinty eyes that always makes them look angry or glaring a lot of the time… to the point where it reminded me of Guillen March’s older art on Gotham City Sirens. The coloring also uses a lot of purples and pinks in the book to certain degrees of success. Some of the purple tones in the night sky look good but the odd pink coloring used to depict gunshots, smoke, and clouds looks a tad bit silly. Some pages even look like they have a color filter on them that makes all the colors blend together in a fairly muddled fashion.
- Very promising and has a lot of potential.
- The mysteries and setup pull you right in.
- Solid artwork for the most part.
- Some odd coloring choices that didn’t agree with me.
Is It Good?
Pretty Deadly #1 is a promising start. It’s mostly setup, but the kind of setup that really makes you want to know more. Things are yet to be fully developed, but you want to sit around to find out more about the characters and the world itself. It wasn’t the best first issue I read this year from Image Comics, but it’s the probably the most promising one I’ve read in months. Definitely worth a look.