Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The Shrike
Author: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Illustrator: Emma Rios
Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The Shrike by Kelly Sue DeConnick is a comic that borrows from several genres. The most prominent ones being western, folktales and horror. In 2014, it was nominated for a handful of Eisner Awards and I can see why. The illustrations by Emma Rios are gorgeous and the writing, as always with DeConnick, is fabulous.
I blasted through this volume pretty quick on a 45 minute bus ride one morning. (Warning: for those of you who like to read on your commutes: if you’re considering doing that with this one, you probably don’t want to take that empty seat next to the little old lady. There is nudity and sex on several pages, which makes for some “I’m judging you” side-eye. Don’t be like me.)
In Pretty Deadly, DeConnick weaves together a tale of three women. One a young girl, Sissy, who opens the book regaling a group of people with a fairytale about a beautiful woman whose husband locked her in a tower by herself, where she lived until Death finally answered her plea and fell in love with her. The result of their union was a child named Ginny who looks for vengeance. We soon find out that the tale wasn’t just a story when Ginny starts riding.
I loved this comic. The fairytale tone mixed with Western and some horror elements was a great combination. It’s a little grim and at times disturbing, which in my book, are good things. One thing that I always love about DeConnick is how she writes her female characters. I only wish that we learned more about Ginny. She was an extremely interesting character, but most of our time is spent with Sissy. I’m hoping that the next volume gives us some more background on Ginny and the rest of the crew.
If you’re looking for a unique graphic novel with well-rounded female characters, I would highly recommend this.