This series has created quite the buzz over the last few months. It sold more than 50,000 copies with its first issue. Even the third issue sold 21,000, which is a lot for a creator-owned series from who is still considered an up and coming writer. There’s already a slew of unofficial merchandise and plenty of fan art. While it’s enjoyed near universal praise from critics, there was the controversy over a store owner who tore it up. I personally thought the first 3 issues were brilliant. Today saw the release of issue 4, and it’s just as brilliant as the others.
The third issue explained a lot of what was going on. It explored Ginny’s backstory and her connection to every other character. It directly explored the mythology behind her father, Death himself. This issue explores that a bit further, while also explaining Sissy’s (the vulture coat girl) roll in the story. It also brings all these characters together, building up toward the next issue’s climax. What makes it most exciting though is how nearly every character is a bit of a wildcard. We’re still not quite sure who will play what roll.
This issue is a lot more straight forward than the last issues, making it much easier to understand. The narrating is slightly less poetic, saving that for the best recap page I’ve seen in a while. It still benefits greatly from a second reading though. The dialogue is pretty much perfect, as standard for Kelly Sue DeConnick’s writing. The long awaited confrontation between Ginny and the Mason is just as dramatic as you’d hope.
The art is just as brilliant as the writing. It’s a deceptively simple look that has plenty of detail when you know where to look. The imagery in Death’s realm may be the most striking in this series yet with the mix of seemingly floating rocks, blackness and white pedals littering the ground. Ginny carries all the injuries she acquired in her earlier fight scenes, along with her torn, blood stained shirt. The sense of motion as she beats on the Mason highlights this. And wow is that a brutal scene. There’s also some great uses of close-ups on peoples expressions.
This series is both easy and hard to describe adequately. It’s a fascinating mix of a western, mythology, poetry, a fairy tale and a mystery. There’s a lot of nuance between the lines, and a lot of room for interpretation. Even with this issue being more straight forward than previous issues, it’s still the kind of comic you have to read twice to understand. It may be the most unique book on the market and it won’t be for everyone, but everyone should at least give Pretty Deadly a chance.