Kelly Sue DeConnick’s run on Captain Marvel has been brilliant from the beginning. Her Avengers Assemble run has also been a delight, and I’ve heard the last issue (not written by her) wasn’t nearly as good. She also did a great 3-part story for Supergirl just before the New 52 started, and it’s a shame she didn’t have a chance to continue it. So when the first issue of her first creator-owned project released on an otherwise slow week, I had to pick it up.
This is not the kind of comic you can just rush through. When I did that for my first reading, I was very confused. After taking my time on a second reading though, I found a lot to like about Pretty Deadly 1. It somehow combines a western, a fairy tale, mythology and a mystery in a coherent manner. There’s a poetic introduction to the main character, and while she doesn’t show up until the last page, that doesn’t hurt this books storytelling in any way. There are plenty of other interesting characters, and a lot of mystery surrounding several of them.
As usual, DeConnick’s dialogue flows naturally. Every character seems to have their own way of talking, even within the confines of the western setting. The story flows naturally as well, told through both the dialogue and the art. Emma Rios’s art looks simple at first, but there’s a lot of visual storytelling. Visual cues and hints are spread throughout the pages, and even the layout helps make the story more interesting. Every character has an interesting design, such as the girl covered in vulture feathers and the blindfolded man with a large x-shaped scar on his face.
If that’s somehow not enough, there’s an extra bit after the main story. DeConnick takes two pages to tell us a fascinating set of stories about her personal life and how this series came to be.
While I still enjoyed FF 13 more, this is the best comic I’ve read this week … perhaps among the best I’ve read all year. I’ve never been this hooked after one issue before. There is so much creativity and attention to detail shoved into 24 pages. Whether you enjoy DeConnick’s writing, westerns, creative uses of Death or are just looking for something different, this is well worth looking into if you can still find it.