Publisher: Image Comics
Story By: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art By: Emma Ríos
Release Date: 3rd February, 2016
Pretty Deadly is comic-book Tequila: potent, dangerous, and overwhelming. It absorbs you, but leaves you floored. Some folk won’t even be able to handle the sight of it.
So Sissy is a Reaper, grim or otherwise, at odds with another in the face of the horror of the trenches. Whilst much impressive work has been done of late of the horror and futility of war, most recently Brian K Vaughn’s excellent We Stand on Guard, DeConnick is more interested here in the arbitrary nature of fortune. By juxtaposing the Soldiers’ narrative with a simple tale of a farmer and his son, she creates a poignant, heartfelt and honest piece that plays effectively against the savage, lavish battlefield.
Ríos’s art is at times tortured and psychedelic, yet at others oddly gentle and muted. Again, it’s a piece that thrives on contradiction and the whole issue feels epic in scope while remaining personal, and, crucially, without resorting to self-indulgence.
There’s whimsy and mysticism here, and the sometimes convoluted narrative may seem off-putting. It’s their loss, but this isn’t going to be for everyone. To worry about the plot is almost to miss the point – it’s reflective, disturbing, and rather beautiful.