Script by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Art and Cover by Emma Rios.
Pretty Deadly is a surreal, beautiful, lyrical story in both its writing and its art.
It tells the story of death’s relationship with nature and with humanity.
The stories are framed by a conversation between a butterfly and the skeleton of a rabbit, who serves as a narrator. They both live in the Garden of Death, which as it’s been neglected by Death has grown weedy and wild. In the same way, we learn, many of Death’s proxies to humanity, the Reapers, have grown feral and wild.
In the first volume, The Shrike, set in the Wild West of 19th century America, we learn some of the reasons for Death’s indolence and the origin of Death’s half-human daughter, Death Face Ginny, the Reaper of Vengeance. The first volume concludes with succession as the old Death is defeated and a new Death takes his place.
In the following volumes we see the new Death’s attempts to bring both the garden and the Reapers under control, and the ways the two projects are deeply related.
Volume 2, The Bear, set in the trenches of World War I brings a confrontation with the Reaper of Death.
The first issue of the third volume, The Rat, set in Hollywood in the early 1930s was released today. In just this first issue we are introduced to the Reapers of Hunger and Obsession.
DeConnick and Rios have laid out two more arcs to follow The Rat, continuing to follow not just the progress of the new Death’s projects, but of the generations of a single human family with very special ties to the new Death.
Through all the volumes, Rios does amazing work with DeConnick’s scripts, using the classic panel and gutter comics form as a playground that she reshapes to eloquently draw the reader’s eye to both the grand landscape of the stories and the very intimate moments of human lives caught up in that landscape, often layering one on top of the other.