Pretty Deadly Vol. 1: The Shrike by Kelly Sue DeConnick

Pretty Deadly Vol. 1: The Shrike by Kelly Sue DeConnick with art by Emma Rios and Jordie Bellaire

Genre: Western Fantasy, Comics
Series: #1 in the Pretty Deadly Series
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 128
Source: Library

The Short Version:
A blend of fable, western, and magical realism that tells the sometimes brutal tale of Death’s daughter.

Why I Read It:
One of my favorite local authors (Chelsea Cain) tweeted a photo of this earlier this year and I discovered that Kelly Sue DeConnick is also a local author and this comic series intrigued me.

The Book:
This volume 1 is a compilation of issues 1-5 of the comic series.
From the publisher:

The collected opening arc of [the author’s] 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.

My Thoughts:
The story starts out with a young girl named Sissy and her guardian (an older blind man named Fox) performing the myth of Death Faced Ginny to a frontier town audience. As the story unfolds the links between the characters are gradually revealed. Each issue is introduced by a conversation between a butterfly and a bunny (a dead bunny that is). It’s a story within a story within a story.

I liked this one but I have to admit that I had to read through it twice to better understand the flow of the story and distinctions and relationships between the characters. There are a lot of characters and intertwining stories in this Western with a twist. It’s a bit confusing on the first read through but worth a second go through to catch all the connections and to appreciate the artwork.

The art is beautiful and brutal. The colors are rich and dramatic. The flow of the panels often over a background image is different and interesting.

4 stars Rating 4/5