“Pretty Deadly,” a new series published by Image Comics, is written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, who has a flair for the dramatic and the poetic. Emma Rios is the artist and she’s right in step with this refreshingly offbeat Western. Colors by Jordie Bellaire give us a good spooky mood. Letters by Clayton Cowles add to that mood. And Sigrid Ellis provides the edits. All in all, a very well put together comic about Death out to exact justice through various methods. It might, for a moment, sound like “East of West” but, no, it’s out there dancing to its own beat.
What’s great about this comic is that it really feels like something new. What we’re feeling is the author’s voice. You always react to an author’s voice, whether it’s good or bad. In this case, we’re tuning into a voice that is compelled to speak. It’s a good urgency. She is eager to spin a yarn and it doesn’t feel weighed down by anything else. This good vibe is then felt by the rest of the creative team. We all win.
So, what happens in this comic? Part of the fun is that things are a bit unclear. We have narration coming at us from more than one source. Basically, not so long ago, a devil’s bargain was struck and now all the townsfolk, just about anyone for that matter, are going to feel the brunt. A poor miserable young woman wished she was dead. Death granted her wish, but not before he forced that woman to bear him a child, a girl. This girl would be raised to do Death’s bidding, seek out sinners and give them what they deserve, according to Death’s rough justice.
Emma Rios has a bold and direct style. It has an authentic and human feel to it. You can look into the eyes of these characters and sense movement and life. Rios and DeConnick make a good team, one that appears to trust each other. From the notes at the end of this first issue, we discover that writer and artist do know each other well. That’s important because a writer’s words and tone do influence the artist. In this case, you don’t feel it’s an artist just following orders. This is crucial given all the experimentation with panels and layout. This comic has come to life in the spirit of doing something different and genuinely having fun. There’s no doubt that this comes across.
“Pretty Deadly #1” is available as of October 23, 2013. Visit our friends at Image Comics.