Group Review: Pretty Deadly #1

Each of the writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will give the issue a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass along with a short reason for the score. Here’s a blurb about the issue from Image before we begin: KELLY SUE DECONNICK (Avengers Assemble, Captain Marvel) & EMMA RÍOS (Dr. Strange, Osborn) reunite to bring you an all-new ongoing series that marries the magical realism of Sandman with the western brutality of Preacher.  Death's daughter rides the wind on a horse made of smoke and her face bears the skull marks of her father. Her tale of retribution is as beautifully lush as it is unflinchingly savage.

Dustin: BUY

Everyone else on the site might disagree with me, but I fucking loved this book. It’s broken in places. It stutters in others, but in doing so it becomes a rarity in the comic world. The structure shouldn’t work, but it does. The way the story is told with its mixture of narrators, should be annoying or confusing, but it’s not.  Quite frankly it’s one of the most brilliant origin stories I’ve ever read in comics. Deconnick’s sing-songy dialog perfectly captures the era and places you in the old west.

Rios’ art work is what I’ve really been waiting on and it did not disappoint. I’m sure some people are going to look at it and be confused or not see the how the impressive structure of each page actually surpasses the narrative, but it’s there. This is a gorgeous series and I cannot wait to read the next chapter. This may have just become my new favorite series.

Adam: BUY

I haven’t ever quite read something like Pretty Deadly.  It combines obvious western elements, along with folklore storytelling-and we aren’t given a ton to work with this first issue.  The opening grabbed me faster than a lot of books I’ve read lately, with a downright depressing folktale about how Deathface Ginny came to be.  It gets vicious at some points too, with Big Alice shooting Johnny in the leg just for a few feathers that he got in his pocket when he touched Sissy.  The few characters we’re introduced to are all unique to say the least, and I’m interested in finding out more about them in upcoming issues.  The world in which the story is set in is very vast and rich, and although it’ll be a challenging read for sure, this is a book that’s too refreshing not to go and pick up.

Samantha: BORROW

Death is such an interesting character. He can be seen in so many lights; man, woman, child, reaper, ugly, beautiful, and so on. Here we meet death’s daughter. It is exactly how I picture death’s daughter. Seriously, I picture a western cowgirl, dressed in all black, very attractive, and one small scar or attribute that is off. She happens to have scars on her mouth that give her a skeleton-like face. She looks dead and alive at the same time.

Pretty Deadly doesn’t tell you much this first issue. We pretty much know that death’s daughter is after this young girl who proceeds to dress as a vulture. She is guarded by a blind man that rides through the night with her. All the characters are just so arbitrary. It was hard to really get into the plot when it all felt overdone. I am hoping that the next issues will open the way for more creativity.

Plus, I was totally confused when a bunny and a butterfly start narrating the story. Was this confusing to anyone? I am not sure how it all connects, but they have some hefty explaining to do.


Steve: BUY

I’m pretty torn about this book. On the one side, with only a few rhythmic missteps, its lyrical cadence is some of the best I’ve read in recent memory, particularly at the book’s beginning. I also like its nigh-voodoo mythology-meets-Old West passion play framework, showcasing stories within or sidling up alongside others; and it’s here that its intricate poetry works as an impressive and gripping avenue of storytelling.

The only problem I have is that there is too much going on at this outset, with singularly distinctive but, for me, almost immediately forgettable characters getting muddled next to each other in a story Inception. I’m almost certain this will develop into something great, however, and based on Deconnick’s meter alone, it’s worth a look. Combined with Emma Rios’ busy yet heady art, which I don’t hasten to compare to East of West, though the similarities are there (and not just thematically), Pretty Deadly #1 may not be what I expected, but I think it is different and enticing enough to warrant a buy.


A western melded with a fairy tale, Pretty Deadly follows the story of a woman arrives to town draped in a vulture cloak.  Telling a story illustrated with various tarot cards done up to accent the action, the woman recants the events of Death riding in a horse made of smoke.  This one is interesting, haunting, but not memorable.

Score: 3 Buys and 2 Borrows

Writer: Kelly Sue Deconnick Artist: Emma Rios Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 10/23/13