Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios are introducing an all new mythology to an all new Old West in the pages of their series from Image Comics, “Pretty Deadly.” In the first issue the comic book creators introduce a wide spectrum of characters to populate this western world that is different than one we have seen countless times. There are elements of fantasy mixed with historical vagueness that sets this apart from a world we know.
As the creators build the world there is not much focus put on any one aspect of the book’s large cast of characters outside of Deathface Ginny, the daughter of a woman of unparalleled beauty and the embodiment of Death. She moves across the western plains as a mythical force hunting and punishing those who have sinned. She is only spoken about but her story is rife with tragedy and unveiled in a unique way that meshes the words with pictures in a spectacular way drawing you into the story.
The legend of Ginny is told with varying imagery, each look is used to capture a different aspect of the tale. Travelling bards, Sissy, a young girl dressed as a vulture, and Fox, a blind old man, are enthralling the townsfolk with their story of Ginny. Writer DeConnick’s words come from Sissy and their impact on the townsfolk is seen through the images. At first the page shows the listeners as quiet and staid but as the story deepens their faces change to reflect the horror and sadness. But there is another layer to the story in Rios’ artwork.
Rios makes use of two other styles to convey the story. The first is a large tapestry of static images that Fox has set up in the town square. Each one is an image from Ginny’s story, a series of panels that describe the beats in the narrative. Each square has enough detail to give you a gist of the overall mood.
Then Rios takes each one of those panels and bleeds them into the story’s narrative expanding upon those moments allowing the artwork to add a bizarre twist to make that part of the story real. Since these are the moments of the past and not set in real time the colorist Jordie Bellaire colors them with a jaundiced look capturing the atmosphere of death.
A lot happens in “Pretty Deadly” #1. With quick introductions of a sprawling cast DeConnick and Rios begin the process of building a large fantasy world with an Old West backdrop. The hook of this issue is the ballad of Deathface Ginny, while she is only spoken about in mythical terms her aura and the shadow she casts over the story create the drama and give you something to identify in the overall world. We start to realize some aspects of Sissy and Fox as well as a bounty hunter Big Alice, but their stories are all impacted by the death that rides on the wind, Deathface Ginny.
The initial printing of “Pretty Deadly” #1 sold out at the distributor level, but many comic book shops will still have this issue on hand to meet the demand. If they don’t have the issue be sure to tell them to hold a copy of the second printing that will be released soon. To find your local retailer click here to use the Comic Shop Locator.
Can’t wait to get to the store? Read “Pretty Deadly” #1 instantly through ComiXology.com’s digital platform.