It’s difficult to sum up everything that happens in this issue. Even with all the complexities and revelations in the rest of this series, this one still has a number of surprises. Pretty Deadly is the kind of comic series you have to read more than once to get, and even then you have to take your time to think. There’s a lot of subtext and subtleties in the poetic narration that really add depth you rarely see in comics.
Pretty Deadly 5 concludes the first volume of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s hybrid of westerns, mythology, fairy tales and mystery. It’s the final confrontation between Death, Death’s daughter Ginny, and most of the other characters that haven’t already been brutally finished off. It ends exactly as any good western does, with a big shootout, yet this time it’s in Death’s domain with all sorts of illusions. The action is fun and appropriately brutal. The biggest surprise may be the ending however, tying everything together with the biggest plot twist yet. Even the opening narration by the bunny skeleton and the butterfly somehow fits into the overall story in the end, with great use of foreshadowing.
The art by Emma Rios is also great. There’s a stylistic approach to visual storytelling, especially with the splash pages. Images cleanly bleed into each other, overlapping with floating rocks, people walking upside down and the usual scattered flowers and butterflies from the defeated servants of death. Death’s domain especially looks neat, as Death can make it appear however he wants. The action flows smoothly, with creative uses of close-ups and silhouettes in front of burning buildings.
This comic being one that must be read slowly and considered will turn off some. That’s a shame, because this is truly a work of genius. It’s a very unique and smart blend of several genres, and it’s well worth several readings for anyone looking for something different. Give it a chance if you haven’t already.