Comic Review: Pretty Deadly: The Rat #1 (Image Comics)

It’s magic, and sleight of hand. Is it a comic book to purchase, or should you whisper on by? Pretty Deadly: The Rat #1 is from Image. Written by Kelly […]

It’s magic, and sleight of hand. Is it a comic book to purchase, or should you whisper on by?

Pretty Deadly: The Rat #1 is from Image. Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, art by Emma Rios, with colouring by Jordie Bellaire.

For those new to the game of Pretty Deadly, (like me), there is some catching up to do. But let’s skip all that for now, and talk in general about this issue.

It’s not easy to simplify, and even reading the three-page editorial and creator interviews at the conclusion of the book will leave some of us scratching our heads. Oh well, here goes: on the surface, this is a story about Hollywoodland in the 1930s. A dead body has been discovered. Forget about the victim’s photo ID, an anachronistic anomaly. The police visit the next of kin, a ‘Conjure-man’, or pseudo-psychic seance man.

From there, things get much more poetic, mythical and mesmerizing.

Incredibly deeply conjured and conceived, The Rat is a fascinating, deeply layered tale of death, reapers, butterflies and the interaction of the quick and the dead.

The art style is elegant and multifaceted. Too all-encompassing to fully describe in a sentence, the panels and pages emerge magnificently like magic from Emma Rios. To the untrained eye, she makes it all look effortless, but the interview reveals how much groundwork and thought she applies. Colourist Jordie Bellaire adds a muted, fluted, jazzy improv of tone. Never garish, subdued but alive and probing, this is a well-designed tour-de-force.

Image, Pretty Deadly: The Rat #1, $3.99 for 26 pages of comic content, Rated Mature

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!