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Pretty Deadly Volume 1: The Shrike Paperback – May 13, 2014
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Badass women populate the swirly, sunset-colored pages of this new series, a stirring, brutal, and macabre combination of classic western and a skewed Orpheus and Eurydice tale. Little heterochromatic Sissy and her guardian, the blind Fox, travel through canyons and frontier towns telling the mythical tale of death-faced Ginny, a vengeance reaper who has a personal score to settle—with Fox. When Sissy finds out, she demands to know the rest of the story of death-faced Ginny, but she gets far more than she bargained for. DeConnick’s slow-burn tale releases captivating details and secrets about Ginny, Fox, and Sissy at a bewitching pace as the scope of the quest grows to legendary proportions. It’s a perfect match for the gorgeous, dizzying artwork in a sumptuous palette—overlaid panels add intricate choreography to fight scenes, and detailed, whirling splash pages beg for long-lingering looks. Couple that, along with a handful of Eisner nominations, with a multicultural cast of tough-as-nails women who all fight for their own honor, and this is a series to watch out for. --Sarah Hunter
"It's ambitious and challenging (two qualities that are not often valued, but that probably should be), under a facade of violence and sacrifice. Rios's art is lush and detailed, and is more than capable of keeping up with the far-reaching story." - PW
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Let's start with the first issue, which was quite good. The story is framed as a dead rabbit telling the tale to a butterfly (it's not as dumb as it sounds). A young girl and her blind guardian sing the ballad of Deathface Ginny, the daughter of death, raised as a reaper of men who have sinned on this earth. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, the girl and man end up being hunted down by Ginny herself. But she's not the only one out to get them. This first issue showcases some amazing art by Emma Rios, with plenty of gritty colors and close up shots to sell the feeling of the Old West. The ballad of Ginny was also a great piece of poetry by DeConnick.
In issue 2, however, the story spirals a fair bit out of control. The artwork is still good, but a breathtaking number of new characters and plot threads are thrown into the mix; far, far too many to follow. It isn't until the end of issue 3 that I could even tell what was going on anymore, and even by the end of the story, a number of questions are never resolved. I will say that this could build into a good comic with enough time, but for now it needs some serious work.
But all in all, I loved it a lot, and can't wait for volume 2!!