I am definitely not trying to bump my stats in my reading challenge by reading a graphic novel next, especially as I’m behind my target. That’s not a thing I would do.
And I mean, I’m not really. I would have read this in any case because the first volume was so beautiful and excellent. Spoilers: so is this one. It might even be more beautiful. I’ve only not got around to it sooner because I don’t read graphic novels at work or on the tube (size to reading time ratio not optimal for travelling). But I was always going to get there when I had a moment.
Surprising precisely no one, it was so worth it. It made me want to go back and read the first one again to compare, because I genuinely think the art in this one is better. It’s more fluid, more unreal, and I feel like it did more of the full page spreads, especially the kind drifting toward the abstract. And I was 100% there for that. Sure, the art was in service to telling a story, but I was very much enjoying the art on its own merits too, because it is entirely worthwhile. The colour palette too really helps with this. Like the previous volume, there’s a purple-and-brown-ness to everything, and it really helps cement the atmosphere (and makes anything that doesn’t closely conform to it really stand out).
And, much like the art, the plot remains sort of drifting and unreal too. There are the interludes that frame the narrative as a story between Butterfly and Bunny (yes, I still enjoy skeletal Bunny), which do give some scaffolding, but on the whole, the story we follow feels like it’s given a bit of a rude gesture to sticking to a quick pace and a firm narrative. And I like it? Things definitely happen, but they happen in their own sweet time and possibly with a detour over here and a mildly incomprehensible full page spread, which, while undeniably gorgeous, isn’t actually really pushing the narrative on in any meaningful way. And I’m ok with that too.
Much like Ody-C, Pretty Deadly achieves what some comics don’t and forces me to still still, calm the fuck down, and actually take the time to appreciate the art for its own sake. In less… dramatically stylised comics – Rat Queens, Paper Girls, Lucifer – I read them like I read books, powering on through as quickly as I can because I want all of the story and I want it now. And this ends up with my main problem with graphic novels – the cost to enjoyment time ratio just doesn’t work for me. I read very very quickly, and they are quick reading, and they’re quite expensive. But when I get to ones where I just have to sit myself down and actually look, well, then it all works out. Because if I powered through Ody-C, I would miss so much of what was happening and what they were doing. And Pretty Deadly is the same. It’s too pretty, too multi-layered (visually) for you to skim it. And that’s probably the best thing about it, because it means it really is achieving something a normal book medium couldn’t.
And that’s really all I have to say about it? It remains great as a series, and I will continue to follow it. As a related point to my last, I kind of don’t have much to say, because they don’t pack a lot of plot in – too busy being pretty as fuck – but it means that there isn’t much ground to cover when discussing what’s actually happened. So it’s fine for reading, but a bit rubbish for ‘blogging.
Next up – I am still reading The Vorrh, but I keep doing things like going to the theatre or Paris (woo!) so I’m not being great at actually getting much reading done. Will hopefully power through once I get back to the UK and get back into the habit of reading properly again.