Pretty Deadly is an unusual comic to say the least. It’s not just that each issue greatly benefits from multiple readings. It’s not that it somehow combines a western, mythology, fairy tale and poetry (and in issue 6 and 7, toss in war). It’s that Pretty Deadly is almost more of an artistic experience than it is entertainment, although there’s still a bit of entertainment. This means it won’t be for everyone, but it’s at least worth checking out because it’s a work of genius.
As I mentioned, most of this series can be difficult to understand with just one reading. This issue is actually a lot more straight forward, even if there are things you’ll probably miss in the first reading. The basic plot is that Cyrus, from the United States, is fighting alongside the French in the First World War. In the previous issue, one of Death’s servants makes a deal to keep an old lady alive at least until the next full moon, in hopes that Cyrus can visit her one last time. Two of Death’s reapers, Ginny and Alice, head to France to help him survive. What follows is a scene where we meet some of Cyrus’s closest companions in the war and some character development on his part.
Kelly Sue DeConnick’s writing is brilliant as usual, with each character having their own unique voice. The action captures the brutality of the First World War quite well, while also tying in the Pretty Deadly mythology in a satisfying way.
The art by Emma Rios is also great. The opening montage shows a strange garden along with the usual narrators of the bunny and the butterfly, along with a magical tree and an overlook of the trenches mixed into it. There’s a great cross section page showing the entrance into a deeper trench and some of the tunnels they used during the war that feels very atmospheric. When the gas attack comes, the green mist obscures everything enough to give it a supernatural feel, while still allowing us to see what’s going on. On particular great page in the action scene is when every panel is a circle, matching the view of the gas mask Cyrus is wearing at the time and limiting what we see to the most brutal sights available.
It might be a while since Pretty Deadly 5, but the series hasn’t lost its edge. After last issue’s setup we have a pretty quick moving issue that still contains most of what made the previous volume work. There isn’t as much poetry as usual, but Pretty Deadly 7 makes up for it with everything else. Again this series won’t be for everyone, but you should give it a chance if you haven’t already.