by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Rios & Jordie Bellaire
One of the harder genres to tackle and make into a universally good read, and not just another niche book, is the western; Pretty Deadly lives up to its name by being a bright and gorgeous book that carries a lot of dark tones in both art and story.
Using the characters of Fox (the blind man) and Sissy (the girl in the vulture cloak) to tell the origin story of Ginny (the reaper of vengeance) as a poetic tale to the townspeople was a marvelous way of setting up a bit of story and introducing characters while feeling natural and smooth but still be a unique way to set things up for a first issue. Nothing in this issue feels very formulaic for a first issue. Even though most of the characters introduced are decently fleshed out so the reader gets feel for them but still manage to keep the plot a bit of a mystery that intrigues the reader into wanting to know more.
The poetic writing in this book is only half of its luster because Emma Rios’ art truly embodies this grim and heavy tale while still being utterly stunning to look at. The Wild West has never looked so good, it should say a lot about Rios’ art that she finds a way to make a dark and gritty tale like this come to life and still find a way to make it all look so striking. This series would be fine if it was just a black and white series but having a colorist like Jordie Bellaire brings Pretty Deadly to another level. Her colors blend a great relationship between the dull and dusty look we expect from a western and still have so many vivid and bright colors that help compliment the darkness and help the whole story pop off the page. Particularly the use of pinks in this issue should by all means feel out of place but actually work incredibly well to balance out all of the darkness.
This was a poetic first issue that perfectly balanced both light and dark vibes that is Pretty Deadly. Too often people assume that you can’t find beauty in harsh times and situations but this book throws those thoughts out the window. As a reader you want to immediately read it twice, once for the story and a second time just to take in all of the art. This is a great start to a series that looks to be a true tour de force with three creators working at their best and as a reader you can’t help but love it for what it is but also pine for more. This is just the tip of the iceberg so it will be exciting to see where it goes from here because the possibilities are endless.