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Bella Muerte Vol. 1: El Alcaudón (2014)

by Kelly Sue DeConnick(Favorite Author)
3.93 of 5 Votes: 5
Astiberri Ediciones
review 1: I really wished I liked Pretty Deadly more than I do. I was very close to giving it a 2, but it scrapped by with a 2.5. So what exactly is wrong with it? It's definitely not the art. I am not displeased that this book is part of my personal collection because the design is fabulous. The art is explosive on every page, the colouring absolutely perfect for the tone of the piece, and even the paper is beautiful. I have no issues with these aspects of the book. I was also happy to see a fantasy-western with prominent female characters. Too often female characters in comics get relegated to secondary positions or traditionally feminine roles, so it was nice to see characters break the mould here. However, the writing is terrible. The concept behind the series is that... Well...... more It's a bit hard to unpack. Beware, spoilers ahead! Once upon a time, a dude married a beautiful woman, but he was scared that others would take her away because of this beauty so he locked her in a tower. The woman could not stand this loss of freedom and tried to kill herself. When Death came to take her, he fell in love and they had a child. But the woman still died, and Death took the child with him. When the husband found out that his wife died because of his actions, he went to plead with Death to get her back. In the end, all he received was a promise that the child of his wife will not kill him if he kills a monster that is soon-to-be born. The child of his wife becomes a reaper, and the monster that he is supposed to kill is a little girl that he sets out to protect. And then things happen and people try to kill the little girl for reasons, and the daughter is all grown up and awesome, but doesn't want to return home to her father for reasons, and there's another reaper that does stuff for reasons, and there's a skeletal bunny and a butterfly narrating everything for reasons, and the little girl is part vulture, and there's some other characters with symbolic names, and then it turns out the little girl is the new Death. Because reasons. In other words, there was a neat idea in there somewhere, but things fell apart very quickly. I got the sense that DeConnick was going for a very mythological feel to the story, where magic and fantasy are accepted parts of our world, and where the strange things that happen are metaphors for larger ideas. However, the storytelling was so compressed that all I got was confusion. Instead of letting the ideas grow naturally, symbolism is trust into your face constantly without context, followed shortly by a dramatic fight scene (which were, despite the lack of narrative coherence, pretty awesome fight scenes. Too bad I didn't care about the characters!). The characters receive little to no development, and even if they are supposed to represent ideas, I have to care about them and what they stand for in order to follow or care about the story. Volume 1 includes the first five issues of the comic series, but the story that it tells should have taken at least another volume or three to finish. So while there are parts of this book that are amazing, there are an equal number that just don't work at all. I really hope volume 2 moves at a slower pace, letting readers explore the world and the characters, because I do want such an interesting concept to succeed, but as it stands, I'll be grabbing the next volume from the library.
review 2: This was my favorite trade that I read today. It was beautifully written and beautifully illustrated. The colors were gorgeous.I was invested in all of the characters. I was left wanting more of this.I love the fact that this was both written and drawn by women. I love that the story focuses primarily on women being strong and badass.I really think this was the strongest comic I read this whole day, not just because I was excited to see something created by women but just because it was leaps and bounds above the rest as far as story telling goes. The art was intricate and beautiful. The characters were deep and compelling.This was all around great. If you only get one of the comics I read today then I would say get this one. Definitely. less
Reviews (see all)
Amazing artwork and panel flow. The writing's pretty dang good too.
Gorgeous art, but an incredibly confusing story.
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