Comic Vine Review


Pretty Deadly #1 Review


Deadly is only part of it. This new series from Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios is pretty amazing.

The Good

PRETTY DEADLY debuted today, and it's already many things. It's a Western. It's a fairy tale. It's a mystery. It's laden with nuance, structured like a grand epic, and absent of its main character until the last page without losing any story impact. It's a hell of a first issue.

World-building can be a laborious task for a creative team, but DeConnick and Rios effortlessly weave seeds of context into a mere twenty-odd pages. Everything is connected, though some things remain mysterious -- and it's satisfying in its connectedness while still inviting curiosity. The narrative lines themselves nest and intersect like a dance -- the bunny's conversation with the butterfly frames the glimpse of Sissy and Fox, leading us to their stage show, and ultimately to Ginny. It's smart, and everything unfolds in a way that feels completely natural in pace and direction.

PRETTY DEADLY marks Kelly Sue DeConnick's creator-owned debut, and I rather nearly want her to quit writing mainstream books and do this all the time. This issue is brilliantly framed, thoroughly unique, and confident in its voice. That we get bonus backmatter regarding DeConnick's personal path towards the series is a treat; the connectedness takes on a new character, beyond just the overlapping people and moments in the book, everything extends outside of the story world and into ours.

My goodness, Emma Rios. I'm not even sure where to start -- she's bringing her A-game to every element of these pages. Her layouts are stunning, and make overlapping stories (like the stage show and its implied flashbacks) occupy the same page space seamlessly. She draws the eye along a path, and fills that path with rich (if barren) environments and unique characters. I'm marveling at the level of detail -- the vulture cloak! -- and enjoying her sweeping brush strokes.

At Rose City Comic-Con, I saw Rios' uncolored pages. They were incredible, for reasons noted above. But colors? Colors make this world happen. Jordie Bellaire over Emma Rios is a fantastic pairing; there's so much life and so much motion (of note: the flame-laced flashback sequences in the stage show), and Bellaire's palettes serve as not-so-subtle hints at how to feel during every panel.

The Verdict

PRETTY DEADLY is a pretty sure bet as far as new series go. It's inventive in narrative and layout, the world is robust and hints at layers of story waiting to burst out and make themselves known, and it's sweetly compelling even amidst dour settings and pointed violence. DeConnick is a master of allegory, and the first issue prompts an immediate need to read the next, just to watch things unfold and reveal themselves. Every glimpse of a character, hint at an event, and passing reference is perfectly crafted, so the narrative moves forward atop frequent, small moments that beg further exploration. I don't want the next issue; I want the next twelve issues.

Posted by Renchamp

I am very excited for this one. I'm glad to see it has lived up to the Vine hype so far.

Moderator Online
Posted by akbogert

Other than perhaps Morning Glories, I do not think I have ever been quite so solidly sold on a series from its first issue as I was on Pretty Deadly. Folks do themselves a disservice if they don't give it a try.

Edited by Jake Fury

@missj: Any current titles you'd compare this to?

Nice work on the review.

Posted by impossibilly

I'm looking forward to reading this when I get home tonight.

Posted by Fenderxx

Really excited for this book, Cant put my finger on it, but the cover just caught my eye

Posted by MissJ

@jake_fury: It's really unique, but there are some things I see that make it reminiscent of EAST OF WEST -- the "Death has a child" concept appears in both, but is used to different effect.

Edited by CombatSpoon86

My friend got it, so that forced me to get it. How many image books is that, Who cares. Great First issue. This has this sort of feel just like when Deconnick and Rios wrote the Osborn Mini-series. I'm in for at least one arc but something tells me I'm in it for the long haul.

Posted by Dernman

I stopped at western and fairy tale. This book isn't for me. It's good that something different came out though.

Posted by judasnixon

Damn it Image! Quit making books I have to buy! I can't pay my rent..... Image and Kelly Sue DeConnick made me homeless! Thanks!

Posted by DaltonMunnal

Did anybody else actually have a hard time reading this? I mean, I already love it for the art, for the poetry, for the universe and general vibe, but I feel like I also didn't quite actually follow the story. I think I'm going to need to read it another time or two before the next issue.

Posted by Mucklefluga

@combatspoon86: IKR! TWD, Invincible, Saga, Chew, Lazarus etc etc and now Pretty Deadly and Velvet.

Edited by longbowhunter

Wow...I knew this was going to be good but, wow. I was sold the instant Sissy started telling the story of Beauty. The rhyme flowed so well it sucked me right in. Very good first issue.

Posted by Dabee

I'm not surprised this was good at all. Definitely (DEFINITELY) going to keep picking this one up.

Edited by M3th

Willing to beat money DEADLY CLASS will be better XP


Posted by CaptainHoopla

This issue is a grand slam! It seems to be one of the rare books that shows and redefines what a comic book can be. I don't know what to say about the art other than just wow, seriously, wow. I'm hooked. The last two pages gave me a flashback to the first time I saw Pale Rider. A voice in my head said "and hell followed with her".

Posted by skyjumpermike

@daltonmunnal: totally agree. I didn't think it was all that easy to follow. I could probably chalk it up to it being the first issue, but even so, I'll probably skip this because I'm reading East of West. They are not the exact same story, but they are westerns involving Death's child and East of West isn't an easy read either. The art is nice though.

Posted by G_Money_Christmas

I was really impressed by this book and I can't wait until next issue when we finally get to see the actual main character. I loved it. One of my new favorite books.

Posted by G_Money_Christmas

@combatspoon86: IKR! TWD, Invincible, Saga, Chew, Lazarus etc etc and now Pretty Deadly and Velvet.

I really wanted to get this one and Velvet but Velvet sold out by the time I got to my LCS at noon and they open at 10am! They are never sold out that early!

Posted by impossibilly

I really enjoyed this first issue of Pretty Deadly. It's so layered and nuanced. I read it twice last night and will probably read it again tonight. I think I'll be adding this to my pull list.

Edited by fps_dean

I'm going to give this a shot. It's not even my genre, but given the creative team I'll give it a shot and see what I think.

Posted by Derbil_McDillet

Glad to see another company delving into the Western genre. Definitely will check this book out.

Posted by 1nceagain

I'm really impressed by this first issue and it's sparked my curiosity enough to keep me thinking about it well after I've put it down. If a book can do that for me it's a good thing because it means I'll defiantly pick up the next issue.

Posted by fps_dean

Well I did really enjoy the first issue. It has a very unique approach to storytelling, and the art is spot on. I tried to read it last night but I was dead tired and wasn't really making sense of it, but I just read it again and I'm looking forward to the next issue.

Whether this is a 3.5 or a 5, to me really depends on the next couple of issues. It is a solid start but at the same time, I feel it's the following issues that will really make or break it.

Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose

After waiting so long for it to arrive, I'm not disappointed. This seems like a good introductory issue to the series, setting up the supporting cast and giving the origin of the main character. Having her origin told in a song/poem was an interesting idea, and seems to suit the tone of this world well. The artwork was great, and surpassed my expectations. Looking forward to the next issue. :)

Edited by _Marc_74

Looks good but wasnt enough to fully grab me. Not sure ill try the 2nd.

Posted by _Marc_74

Now todayy mind is changing and I want to read again and maybe dropping lazarus