Pretty Deadly has become a book I savor. DeConnick and Rios have lost their Western setting–though it does still play a part visually and thematically–and gotten into World War I. The trenches. Deadly has become a war comic.
Except the magic is different. It’s still evil, bad magic, but it doesn’t affect the war comic’s protagonist in the same way it did in the series’s first arc. He’s far more the subject of the plot than an actor in it. That narrative distance works because of both DeConnick and Rios’s individual contributions.
When the comic moves between subplots, Rios has subtle changes in style. Sometimes in the level of detail, sometimes in figures’ fluidity. There’s a flow to Deadly, weaving between the subplots.
Pretty Deadly is a confusing, dense read. DeConnick relies on Rios to help make it easier to read while also contributing to the density. DeConnick doesn’t want any grounding to the supernatural. It’s not science, it’s not quantum physics, it’s supernatural. Accepting it–and not dwelling on it–is one of the series’s agreements with the reader. DeConnick doesn’t allow any alternatives.
And, yet, she isn’t hostile about it. Pretty Deadly goes out of its way to be welcoming. It’s endearing–and even makes the really disturbing villains endearing.
It’s really good. This issue isn’t one of the best either. And it’s still really good.
Writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick; artist, Emma Rios; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Clayton Cowles; editor, Sigrid Ellis; publisher, Image Comics.