I love westerns, but there simply aren’t that many out there in the world of comics. Suffice it to say I was thrilled to walk into the comic shop this past week and find a new one on the shelf. That in and of itself would have made my day, but then to see that it is written by Kelly Sue DeConnick . . . well that nearly sent me into ecstasy (yea, yea, I know . . . I don’t get out nearly enough).

Where to begin with this book… How about the cover! When was the last time you saw a wrap around cover? That’s right, a cover that takes both front and back to display? Yea, I can’t recall the last time I saw one either.

Pretty_Deadly_cvr_1b Pretty_Deadly_cvr_1

This cover alone is complicated. It took me a while to realize that it is a reflection. The next question that occurred to me was “why red?” My first thought was a red sky being reflected, and this could still be the case, but with the blood on the woman’s (Alice’s?) arm and the red hands reaching out of several locations, my second thought was blood, and lots of it. Emma Rios (A) captivated me with the cover alone; I could only hope the internal art work would be as impressive.

And it is . . . just as impressive and just as complicated. This book has a real old west feel to it. Jordie Bellaire (C) uses a color palette that makes me think of a time long forgotten. The colors are primarily muted with splashes of brightness, say in clothing, to make it pop from time to time. This brightness, however, is not overdone. If it were, the book would not have that authentic old west touch that I absolutely love about it. I also love Rios’ (A) art work and panel layouts. She uses the pages to full advantage, using small inserts, as seen below, to communicate details.

Pretty_Deadly_img_2 Pretty_Deadly_img_1

This makes the book somewhat difficult to follow at times. In fact, I handed the book to a friend and she gave up attempting to read it after the first few pages. When I asked why, she stated there was simply too much going on and she couldn’t take it all in and make sense of it. I have to admit, that is a bit how I felt when I began reading, and I had to make myself slow down and take it ALL in. This one aspect makes me love the book that much more. I find that with many comics I can plow right through them with hardly ever doing more that a cursory glance at the art . . . NOT with this book.

So what about Kelly Sue DeConnick’s writing? I was hooked from the beginning. We begin with two narrators, a butterfly and a bunny, in the beginning. The butterfly asks the bunny to tell her/him the story of the girl in the vulture cloak, and so it begins. DeConnick shows off her skills at verse for the first few pages and tales a woeful tale of a beauty and the man who attempted to keep her. From there, we are introduced to several characters such as Johnny and Alice. Of these two, I believe only Alice is a major player. We know the girl in the vulture cloak as Sissy at this point and her companion, the blind old man, as Fox. There are many other characters, but at this point, I believe Alice, Sissy, and Fox are the main ones. The baby born of death and the beauty, known as Ginny, makes an appearance in the end.

As of yet, the story is far too entwined to know exactly what is happening, and I’m good with that. Any first issue worth it’s $3.50 (in this case) needs to immerse me in a tale just enough to have me cussing when it ends because I want to know more!! This one succeeds ten-fold in that department. All I have are a few key characters that seem unknown to one another right now, but I know that will change soon, and a mysterious piece of paper.

If I’ve done my job here well enough, you can’t wait to pop down to the comics store tomorrow and pick up your own copy. Just remember, read it slow and take it ALL in.

Pretty Deadly can be purchased at your Local Comic Book Shop, Image Comics (DRM-free and it’s awesome!), and Comixology.

Overall Score
100 %

Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios have created a western with a LOT of mystery. This first issue leaves the reader both confused and delighted, and definitely wanting MORE. This book is a must read.

Cover 100%
Art and Panel Layout 100%
Plot 100%
Writing 100%
Color 100%

About The Author

My name is Dianna, and I hail from the land of the lakes, aka Michigan. My full time job has me running a writing center, teaching writing classes (hopefully soon teaching a comics course), and doing all sorts of techy things, since that’s what I did in a previous life.

At this point in my life, comics are both my passion and my research. I am lucky in that I get to combine my passion into my everyday work. But here at Destroy the Cyborg I get to have fun and chat about what I'm reading. Feel free to chime in on my post, even if it's to tell my how dead wrong I got something.

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