The first issue to Pretty Deadly turned out to be a pretty solid start, despite a few hiccups and the fact the main character did not show up until the end. With the second issue upon us, will it be able to answer the ultimate question: is it good?
Pretty Deadly #2 (Image Comics)
Let’s just get straight into this with no quick plot synopsis like I usually write. The comic this time around was lighter in the story progression area and put more emphasis into the “mature” side of the comic (i.e. a gratuitous sex scene and brutal gory violence). Unfortunately, it also took a step into a dense fog where the plot ended up being unclear and hazy in the detail of what exactly happened.
For instance, the big focus of this issue was with Alice and the appearance of Ginny. Alice is implied to be a relative (sister most likely) of Ginny, who we can all assume is supposed to be Death’s daughter (though if Alice is also Death’s daughter, then the Grim Reaper sure likes to get around with the ladies), and she states she has come to take her home. How exactly did she know that Ginny would show up at this place where the scene is taking place? Did she think Ginny would also be tracking the binder (which we have no idea of what it contains or why anyone is after it) or was this a coincidence with the girl happening to be in the area? Clarity would be nice.
Speaking of not making much sense, still have no idea what’s going on with the bunny and butterfly.
Now I don’t expect a comic to just hand me all the answers on a silver platter, and I agree that mysteries should remain unclear and, well…mysterious to keep the audience interested in wanting to find out more. However, the problem here is the fact that this issue in particular is not providing enough of a lifeline to help the audience understand what is even happening or the context of things. We do not know the motivations of any of these characters or know anything about the main character, not even a little hint; we’re given more unclear elements so they can be added to the growing pile of mysteries we have from the first issue; we still do not understand the scope of the situation the characters in or what anyone’s objective is (besides Alice); and so an and so forth. It’s not a very good idea to have the audience completely one hundred percent in the dark in a story like this, especially through two complete issues.
It’s not nearly as bad though as compared to Drumhellar #1, since the writing is much stronger in other parts. Dialogue is reasonable outside of one very 80s action hero quip and some oddball lines, character interactions can be good and can reveal a bit about what kind of character they are (the scene with Ginny and Alice for instance), and the pacing and story flow are decent enough to where the story does not feel disjointed. Outside of the awkward and poorly placed sex scene (only added to remind the audience this is for adults if I had to guess) and the weird page that showed the night and day maids, it’s a well structured and written story that is just sadly hurt by the fact the writer is not providing enough information to the reader to help them out.
Another place where this comic does succeed is in the artwork. Outside of everyone having very squinty or narrow eyes, all the characters are designed well and look very different from one another. The scenery and settings are gorgeous and build a great atmosphere with the lifeless and dusty plains. The use of color is much better looking this time around with depicting the lighting and choices for the action (no pink gun smoke is always a plus). Speaking of which, the action is just incredible looking with how the artist depicts it. The movement, grittiness, how it flows from panel to panel, the impact of each weapon on its target, and more. It’s like someone recreating a fight scene from manga in more of an American style.
- The writing is not poorly done and has a couple of good moments to it..
- The artwork really pops and the action is utterly phenomenal.
- Not very clear and does little to clue the audience into anything.
- No story progression and little to no characterization.
- So what is the deal of our main character?
Is It Good?
Pretty Deadly #2 pretty sadly took a step back when story became too mysterious and unclear for its own good, especially coupled with the fact that the characters are still mostly unknown and nothing has really happened in general. The writing mechanics are solid and the artwork is fantastic this time around, but this is was a disappointing drop. Hopefully the next issue will start revealing more of plot and answering some questions instead of holding back on the audience.