Pretty Deadly has attracted a lot of attention since its launch last week, from being torn up in front of customers at LA shop Comics Ink[i] to being called both “the worst comic ever”[ii] and “effortlessly elegant”[iii] it seems that no one knows what to do with the violent, genre-bending, pseudo-western. I personally though the newcomer from Image Comics was both captivating and ambitious, just the kind of title I like to read.
The book is incredibly cinematic, its made up of gorgeous spreads tied together loosely by frames that function like cut-ins and close-ups overlaid on establishing shots. The composition of every page, coupled with the kineticism of Rios’ drawings, undeniably evokes a moving picture and Deconnick weaves a frame narrative through the story in a way that should only work on film. The entire format of the book is wildly ambitious but the creative team pulls it off beautifully alternating effortlessly between multiple narratives and across time, sometimes within a single page.
If this all sounds a bit insane, you’ll have to trust me: this comic is something special. I’m struggling to describe it but I think it is not incidental that it so successfully avoids description. The characters are captivating, the pacing is remarkable and if the final page doesn’t leave you dying to read the next issue I don’t know what to tell you because love it or hate it I think you’d be wrong to call Pretty Deadly a bad comic.
–Eden Lewis, student at Washington University in St. Louis