Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pretty Deadly: Vol 1: The Shrike (2014)

Author: Kelly Sue DeConnick  |  Illustrator: Emma Ríos  |  Page Count: 120

This world ain’t been kind to me.  I say let it burn.”

Being described as a series ‘that marries the magical realism of Sandman with the western brutality of Preacher,’ was enough to get me interested. The fact that it’s selling at a special price (just over £5) was enough of an incentive to get me to take a chance. I'm glad I did. If Pretty Deadly continues to be as good as Vol 1, I'll be buying every TPB. It might just be able to fill the gap that was left in my comic-reading life after binging on Mike Carey’s Lucifer (2000-06).

It’s a Western centred on a small handful of well-written characters, each with a murky past that either they’re aware of, attempting to hide, or are oblivious to.
One of those people is Ginny, a woman on a mission. Ginny is a yellow-eyed violent force within an already violent world. She has a skull mark on her face but it’s not just for show—it has a deeper meaning. The meaning is revealed when DeConnick’s darkly poetic prose hits its stride.

Emma Ríos provides the art. It has weight to it. People’s faces have history ingrained in the creases and cuts. The wide panels are cinematic. They’re contrasted by small, square boxes that get up close and personal with the action, which helps tell the story in the proper sense of the word; it’s not separate from it like in many superhero comics that include fight scenes as an obligation more than anything else. It’s fast paced, so can be a little confusing at times but not so much that careful analysis won’t reveal the intention and intricacies.

Jordie Bellaire’s colouring is complementary and dark, making good use of dusty oranges, inky blacks, and reds that aren't far removed from the colour of congealed blood. It captures perfectly the savageness of the environment.

If there was some way for comic creators to do the kind of director commentaries that we get on dvds, I’d want one for PD with all three women present.

The book collects together Pretty Deadly issues 1 - 5.

5 frolics in Death's garden out of 5

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