Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The Shrike by Kelly Sue DeConnick, illus. by Emma Rios with colors by Jordie Bellaire
Kelly Sue DeConnick (Avengers Assemble, Captain Marvel) and Emma Rios (Dr. Strange, Osborn) present the collected opening arc of their surprise-hit 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 origin story is a tale of retribution as beautifully lush as it is unflinchingly savage. (Goodreads)
It’s probably when the first volume of this comic book was published that I started getting into comics (I can’t clearly remember what year it was now) because I remember that this comic book was highly recommended to me back then. Whenever I told seller at a comic book shop owner that I wanted something that’s fantasy and featured badass female characters, they’d tell me to pick this up, but I avoided it because I wasn’t crazy about the art.
I’m not into the story either. I guess I should have been more patient with it, but it was hard at first to understand what exactly was going on, so I was often confused and frustrated that I was confused. Once I understood, I began to like the hint of fairytale and myth in it. It made me think of Beauty and the Beast and Hades and Persephone; I assume that those stories were probably influences. I also admired and liked that the story is a Western and works in the harshness of the land and how justice is meted out. I think that was the most surprising part, that the story is a Western.
But unfortunately, the story didn’t appeal to me enough to make me want to continue with it. I mean, by the end of this volume I was still a little confused but wasn’t interested in finding out more.
As I mentioned above, I’m not a big fan. There is just too much heavy use of black ink, it seems. But there are some elements I liked, such as the variety of panels and how they are used.
Overall: ★★★☆☆ ½
I’m sure the story is great, but neither it nor the illustrations worked for me.
Buy | Borrow | Bypass
I think it is worth checking out, especially if you’d like to try a fantasy story featuring death as a character that’s possibly inspired by Greek myths, has some fairytale influences, and takes place in a Western-inspired setting.