The end isn’t always what you think it will be (Pretty Deadly: The Rat #4 Comic Review)

Script Kelly Sue DeConnick

Art & Cover Emma Ríos

Coloring Jordie Bellaire

Lettering Clayton Cowles

Backmatter Laurenn McCubbin

Editor Sigrid Ellis

Managing Editors Turner Lobey & Lauren Sankovitch

Production Tricia Ramos

“There’s more to a story than how it ends.”

In This Issue: Bunny teaches Butterfly about natural partnerships as they watch a coyote and a badger hunt together, the coyote above the ground, and the badger below, both in search of ground squirrels. Depending upon which predator they see first, the squirrels will choose to go one way or another, but they inevitably end up as someone’s dinner. The coyote and the badger may not always both get to eat, but the cooperation is better for both of them in the long run.

Conjure Man Frank Field is obsessed–obsessed with finding out what happened to his niece Clara. But Obsession is also a Reaper, and Ginny, the Reaper of Vengeance, was waiting for the moment when he would show his face. Frank’s outburst at Ginny having packed up Clara’s things before they found the end of her story drew the Reaper of Obsession, and Ginny took the opportunity to move into her fellow Reaper’s realm. The only thing was, in helping Frank to follow his obsession, Ginny had to face her own–Alice, the Reaper of Cruelty. Obsession wants something in return for helping Frank find out what happened to Clara, for helping Ginny find Alice, but Ginny frees Frank and makes the choice to stay with Obsession. She gives herself to him. Lends Vengeance to Obsession.

It’s a terrifying combination.

My Two Cents: The art and storytelling in Pretty Deadly continue to be phenomenal. They twine through each other, supporting each other like the wall of a dilapidated building supports long-overgrown ivy. There’s no wasted space on the pages; every panel, every speech bubble, every standalone silhouette is painstakingly calculated in their placement. The use of negative space has been prevalent in all the issues of this arc so far, and it seems to be even more obviously employed in #4. The sequence between Ginny and the Reaper of Obsession is a prime example, but the technique appears throughout the issue, making things appear to be what they aren’t until you look at them properly. A bit like the work of M.C. Escher, the art in Pretty Deadly manages to twirl around itself in a mesmerizing way, and it’s always as much a visual feast as it is a delectable serving of story.

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Elizabeth Fazzio
South Bay native turned East Bay resident. Holder of two less-than-useful arts degrees. Human Resources professional by day, creative recluse the rest of the time. Favorite words: Weasel, toast. Mental health advocate--https://makeitok.org
Elizabeth Fazzio
Summary
One of the things I enjoy most about Pretty Deadly (apart from, you know, *everything*), is the extras at the end of each issue. Issue #4 has a fantastic article about Lotte Reiniger (yes, I know I always talk about here down here, but her style is such an integral part of this book that it can’t be ignored,) and how she became an animator and developed her own methods for capturing her stories, and I encourage all of you to read it because it’s FASCINATING!
Good
  • Extras within the book
  • Art and story blend seamlessly
  • Layered storytelling
Bad
  • I'm honestly having a difficult time finding any, TBH
9
Amazing
Art - 9
Story - 9
Writing - 9
Predictability - 9
Written by
South Bay native turned East Bay resident. Holder of two less-than-useful arts degrees. Human Resources professional by day, creative recluse the rest of the time. Favorite words: Weasel, toast. Mental health advocate--https://makeitok.org

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