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Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1


Kellie Sue DeConnick (Author), Emma Rios (Illustrator), Image Comics (Publisher)

> Review by Carolyn Marcille

Blood, in its red splendor, can be considered a taboo subject. It is the inner made outer, and terror (inspired by that necessary ichor leaching away) is most often the emotion we associate with it. The beauty of blood is not an aesthetic that is often considered. But filmmaker Takeshi Kitano once memorably requested that the carmine splatters and crimson arcs so liberally employed in his storytelling be “like flowers blooming on the screen,” and Pretty Deadly achieves this same feat of visceral artistry. It is a bloody book, but the blood blooms so gorgeously that in certain panels it becomes indistinguishable from flowers, trees, silk, and butterflies. DeConnick and Rios have created a seamless masterpiece that echoes both the faded tapestry of Old West-style storytelling and the glorious bone-crunching skill of the samurai epic, all while telling the ages-old story of the great love Death holds for Beauty. The text is a masterfully traditional “masculine” story brought to gorgeous light by powerful, brutal mythological women—a welcome subversion of expectations. Every page flows like film in scope and story. Pretty Deadly is an apt title for this spectacular book, as it achieves precisely what it promises by taking an ugly story of heartbreak, death and revenge, and making it blossom with riotous colors and dazzling artwork.

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