See all reviews of Pretty Deadly (4)

Time to return to the mythological west and see Death’s daughter in action again. What does this issue have in store for us? Is it good?


Pretty Deadly #3 (Image Comics)


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Click the link if you missed our review of last month’s issue.

Once again, forget the small summation at the beginning of this review; that’s because summarizing a book this overly complex and extremely vague is fairly ineffectual. This issue basically revealed the secret behind Fox and Sissy’s past and how Johnny Coyote (you know, that guy who was screwing the hooker last issue) plays into this, but that’s it.

The thing about Pretty Deadly, and what is ultimately is its biggest weakness, is that its narrative is problematic. As with last issue (only this issue cranks it up a bit), the story unfolds in a vague and clunky fashion. You never really know much about what is happening, what everyone’s motivation is, or why things are happening as they are.

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For instance, who is Mutt and what is his relation to Fox and Sissy? Who is this magical crow? How did Coyote get the binder to begin with? Did anyone notice the fact that the water was rising and if they did, why didn’t they get out of the water? Was telling that story so important that they had to risk getting washed away by the current? Also, where were these blood rivers? Reality or the mythical world?

To be fair, Pretty Deadly #3 did reveal some interesting details, such as the character motivation of Ginny and what is exactly up with Fox. It also had an extremely helpful recap at the beginning of the comic which filled in the blanks about what happened last issue (though, if the recap is telling the story better than the comic itself, that is also problematic).

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The rest of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s writing didn’t fare much better. There is little characterization save a solitary scene (which I’ll get to). There’s no emotion or emotional attachment since we don’t really know much about the characters, why we should sympathize with them, and the ones we do know about aren’t all that likeable. Dialogue is either forgettable, unrealistic, or extremely clunky ( seen during the scene where Fox tells his story and Death’s dialogue ). The layout, pacing, and story flow is decent enough, but that’s really not enough.

Being fair again, there was one scene at the beginning that was pretty solid overall. It’s where Johnny Coyote and this magical crow, Molly, are talking to each other: the dialogue is fairly revelatory — providing insight into characters, a bit of depth, and even a touch of emotion (where Molly states Coyote never “used to be a coward” in the past. It feels as if the character is sad saying that). It helps clear up a tiny bit of the haziness in the story (about what Coyote’s goal may have been by letting the binder get stolen) and makes his part of the story a bit more intriguing since we know at least something is going on.

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The artwork by Jordie Bellaire remains as strong as ever. While it lacks any impressive action (which was absolutely amazing last time), it has the creativity and imagination to make up for it. What I mean by this is with the story Fox tells, yet again. The Cavern of Death and blood river are impressive looking: they are well designed, detailed, shaded, and colored. They bring a sense of dread and supernatural feel to the areas, which is especially important considering Death seems to resign in the Cavern. The characters look pretty good, the world is nicely drawn, and the story flows decently enough between panels. My only complaint is with the coloring’s use of pink for lightning, which is just silly and goofy looking in a story this serious.

6.5

  • Cleared some plot points up.
  • The scene with Coyote and Molly was great.
  • Wonderful artwork.
  • Still feels very vague and unclear most of the time.
  • Lack of characterization and emotion.

Is It Good?

Pretty Deadly #3 is a troubling issue. It maintains problems the previous issue had with its narrative, lacked in character, and it maintaining its vagueness. While it did try to clear some things up again and the art did look great, it just did not come out looking good this time around. Maybe next time.

  • Adobo

    This review blows. The crow and the binder have been alluded to in the back matter from the last two issues. It’s not really difficult to make the connections if one tries a bit harder.