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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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Top Customer Reviews
The art is fantastic, especially the depiction of Death. However, that is where the enjoyment ends. The story is very uneven, depicting separate events that culminate in a muddled, vanilla ending.
The characters have very little in the way of attributes, and are very one-sided. I found it hard to care about any one of them, and none of them were memorable, especially for any follow-up graphic novels with the same characters.
Though the art was great, the drawing and inking on the action scenes was too flashy, and gave a sense of blurred, painting instead of clear-cut action you'd find in other graphic novels.
If you are a graphic novel collector for art, I highly recommend you add this to your collection, if you're looking for a good story skip this one.
PRETTY DEADLY VOL.1 collects issues #1-5. The story is told past tense between a butterfly and a rabbit (I kid you not). The Rabbit tells the story of Sissy, a young girl with a crow head-dress and two separate eye colors traveling the old west with Fox, an old blind man and his crew of mutts on the run from Death and his minions. There is something about Sissy that Death wants badly and a letter called the Binder. And in the middle of all this is Ginny, a demigod as the daughter of Death and a human mother who has her own personal reasons for getting involved.
Aside from the general overview of the story, it's difficult to describe anymore on the account it would give away any more information and for the nature that the book is hard to describe since it doesn't use the traditional story telling method like many other books. This makes PRETTY DEADLY a fairly unique book on the current comic stands.
PRETTY DEADLY is a fantasy designed and told as an ode to Asian fables, mythologies, and folklore within an American western genre. It makes for a good vibe of grit and vengeance with cowboys and western tropes, with a dream-like atmosphere that includes animal spirits in human forms, a fairy tale origin between lovers, and psychological meanings. So in many ways, it's a traditional story of old time told in a western setting it makes a compelling read under writer Deconnick. Each issue is told like a traditional story in only giving readers hints of the plot until the final chapter to make a complete story.
What furthers the feeling and look of mashing both genres together is greatly thanks to artist Emma Rios. Rios art style is hard to grasp into words, but it's a mix of manga/European type of design that is loose. Just Google her up and see what I mean by her lovely art. It's vibrant like traditional Asian paintings (helped greatly with colorist Jordie Bellair) with brush strokes of the scenery, the wilted garden of the underworld, to the tightly done action scenes of blood and gun shots woosing by in exotic art. It's an utterly vibrant and detailed world Rios has created and follows Deconnicks scripts.
Although this is a phenomenal first volume, it does have confusing aspects of the story structure, especially within issues 1 and 2. The story does come together by the end, but it still leaves some lingering questions and motives behind certain things. I do not know if it was accidental or intentional for future volumes to come. But some readers might scratch their heads at what happened. And although Rios art is gorgeous, it is wild enough where sometimes it makes for rough transitions. The script is already confusing where you might have to re-read some places, so there are places you might have to reevaluate the narration from the art.
So aside from the minor flaws, PRETTY DEADLY VOL.1 is still a wonderful book of the merging of folklore and the Wild West with vibrant art to back it up. It can get confusing for some parts of the narrative and art style, but it shouldn't hamper the overall experience. It's a 4 ½ star book, but I'm rounding up to 5 stars. Deconnick and Rios have something special here. It's incredible that Deconnick's husband, Matt Fraction, is also making a special book on Sex Criminals Volume 1 TP. For $10 folks, this is a weird trip worth taking a look at.
In a 19th century frontier dripping magical realism, a dead rabbit tells a butterfly the story of Ginny, Death's daughter, who rides the winds hunting men who have sinned. In this volume she rides in defense of Sissy, a young girl who Death himself wants destroyed for reasons that will give you flashbacks to Gaiman's Sandman.
DeConnick blends elements of the Persephone myth with Native American trickster tales in a John Ford aesthetic that comes to you by the way of Tarantino's Kill Bill. The story, while fairly simple once you get to the end, is somewhat opaque until that point due to the balance of magical realism falling slightly too heavily on the former. But fear not! Every time you start to pause to wonder just how in the holy hell a larynx-less skeleton can speak well enough to narrate or how Death's sperm can possibly still be viable, the sheer gorgeousness of Emma Rios's art will distract you like a squirrel in a Pixar film.
While far from perfect, Pretty Deadly offers a tale of badass women set in a uniquely beautiful Western fantasy land, and that's far too rare a treat to pass over.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Possibly in an attempt to be artistic, both author and artist persist in an archaic and willful...Read more