Pretty Deadly #3 (Image)


Rating: 5/5 – The pattern has been revealed and it is beautiful.

Pretty Deadly is a study in lyrical storytelling, giving us a phantasmagorical deluge of story elements culled from spaghetti Westerns, supernatural fantasy, Samurai-inspired manga, Spanish folklore, and who knows what else. The overall concept might prove to be unwieldy if put in the hands of average creators. Thankfully, average is one thing Kelly Sue Deconnick and Emma Rios are not.

Pretty Deadly #3 finally sheds some light to many story threads alluded to in the first two issues. We finally discover the ulterior motives that explain Johnny Coyote’s past actions as well as get clues about his future involvement in the series. The issue also takes us briefly to the bloody aftermath of last issue’s brutal battle and hints at the direction Ginny and Sarah are heading next. Lastly, there are stunning revelations from Fox (after much pleading from Sissy) that finally ties up the loose ends from the first two issues into one coherent whole.

You have to admire the boldness with which Kelly Sue Deconnick and Emma Rios have subverted traditional methods of comic book storytelling in this series. Yes, it can be confusing, and it does require the reader to do some heavy lifting (or rereading) to appreciate it better. The first two issues have managed to pose more questions than answers, but was told with an elegance that gives you a profound appreciation of the pattern that’s emerging from all that controlled chaos. Well, a big chunk of that pattern has been revealed in Pretty Deadly #3, and it is damn beautiful.

Kelly Sue Deconnick and Emma Rios are good at what they do, but what they’ve accomplished in Pretty Deadly so far is so indicative of the medium’s limitless potential when filtered through a strong collaborative effort. Kelly Sue’s scripts convey character beats with a lyrical grace that reminds me of Neil Gaiman’s work in the Sandman series. Emma Rios’s art is lush, detailed, and has a stylized look that enhances the story’s dreamlike and savage elements. Jordie Bellaire’s excellent use of subtle hues and tonal transitions also give the pages a moody atmosphere that perfectly reflects the story’s sensibilities.

I’m keen on finding out more about the characters and seeing how it will all play out in the end in light of what has been revealed so far. Pretty Deadly, in just three issues, is turning out to be a masterpiece. It’s beautiful in its complexity and magical in its telling. The sheer ambition with which the creators have poured into this comic is quite evident, and all the risks they have taken thus far are paying off in a big way.


Reviewed by: Lawrence Arboleda – Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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