Kelly Sue Deconnick and Emma Rios’ “Pretty Deadly” continues this month with an action packed issue. Rios’ art hits full stride in a beautiful display of a battle that honestly had me gasping with each successive panel.
Deconnick’s story is somewhat of a mystery. Multiple characters occupy these pages and thier relationships to one another are yet to be clear. However there is an air of history that permeates the page. The west was a territory built on tall tales, and inside these pages we are treated to an even taller version of the majesty of the west.
I’m not sure that I completely understand it, but I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed it.
This book is an absolute treat for the eyes. The opening pages envelop you in the luscious detail of Emma Rios pencils. Each blade of grass is fully realized with painful detail, and the wings of a butterfly are beautiful enough to move even the hardest reader.
The story itself seems to be steeped in history, legend, and mystery. It bothers me, but not enough to take me out of the book. Instead I find myself thoroughly intrigued as to who these characters are and their relationships. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wanted more, but for the time being the subtle hints are enough to keep me invested.
There is a certain charm to “Pretty Deadly” that is hard to pinpoint. It’s equal parts western and a surrealist dreamscape. It’s difficult to identify the nature of this world, but the detailed art sweeps the reader away into it.
Emma Rios has done an incredible job with bringing this inventive script to life. There is a showdown so intense in the middle of the issue that pacing ratchets up so quickly that you’ll find yourself lost in the motion of the art.Rios makes some pretty excellent executions come alive on the page. Her mastery of sword fighting may be completely unrivaled in comics today. Each successive death by the blade was surprisingly beautiful.
“Pretty Deadly” completely earns its title for better or worse. There are some grisly depictions of violence within these pages that will make you cringe, but they are depicted with such beauty that it’s impossible to look away.
The narrative itself seems too massive to articulate in these first two issues. I’m lost in a sea of characters, each of them more interesting than the last. Deconnick’s script is strong in its deep characterization, but something remains lost in translation once it reaches the reader. If this is by design than it is a bold choice that will hopefully pay off in the future, or perhaps I’m just stupid and missed the clarity that is present on the page.
There is no denying the magic of this book. It is something truly special and beautiful. I remain hopeful that the narrative will become clearer as we press forward, but even if it doesn’t Rios beautiful art will have me coming back.
Rating: 3/5 Skulls.
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