Kelly Sue Deconnick and Emma Rios’ “Pretty Deadly” makes the effort to make more sense this month and is infinitely better for it. The motivations of the primary characters become clearer and the depth of the world is deepened in the series best chapter yet.
Following Fox has been a blind pursuit up until now. The reader seemingly had no reason to be doing so, but followed the man on his quest because Deconnick willed it to be so. The journey was mysterious and often disorienting but was always painted with such beauty that it was almost impossible to look away.
This month the motivation of Fox becomes much more clear. We’re treated to a story of his past. We come to understand what motivates him and how Ginny plays into the entire thing.
Let’s be honest. Not everything is entirely clear as of yet. However, this month marks the biggest effort to create a coherent sense of motivation since the series began. Almost everything is briefly touched upon here, so the larger scope of the world seems condensed and focused.
Which breathes new life into “Pretty Deadly.” The world is robust with details. Magic has taken hold, and the western has become something else entirely. Which make it something special, something that defies the conventions of what came before it to make something entirely new and inescapable.
The charm of this book is its ability to surprise you with the conventions of the western. Its seamless blend of the magic of the west and literal magic culminate into something otherworldly and beautiful.
Which is to say Emma Rios’ wispy art creates a world unto itself. What began as a tribute to the west has created a fantastical fantasy in its spirit. The incredible color work done by Jordie Bellaire, gives the entire thing a washed out feeling that is still vibrant and full of its own life.
The large panels, and the frail lines make for a world that could break apart at any moment. The delicate balance at play within each panel shows a world that could potentially fall apart with one conflict, and indeed it will. But the otherworldly elements really allow Rios to shine. The final moments with the devilish symbolism of the hands emerging from the river absolutely blew me away. I was attracted to the danger in a way that I couldn’t fully explain and couldn’t look away for the life of me.
I have a feeling that Deconnick and Rios have a masterpiece on their hands. The gamble with the narrative in the first couple issues has now seemingly paid off to create a more coherent story that is in line with the beautiful art. Now, the final two chapters of the first arc will hopefully continue the threads sewn here to create an even more coherent sense of the journey. There are still characters I lust to know more about, and the world seems ripe with elements I have yet to experience. Show me more, tell me more, and teach me more. I’m absolutely loving it.
Rating: 4/5 Skulls.