In Review: Pretty Violent #2

Not as funny as the first issue, but an enjoyable read.

The cover: Cute little Gamma sits on top of an ice cream truck nibbling on a blue frozen treat that’s shaped like an iconic character found in theme parks. This would be the cutest of pictures were it not for the body of the creature hanging out the passenger door of the conveyance. Blood coats the dead monster and the same fluids can be found splattered on the damaged vehicle and in the gory trail that leads to it. Having this on a white background allows the reader to be drawn to the character’s pink hair and the similarly colored cone atop the car. It also has the blood stand out, serving as a warning and an invitation to readers. Funny cover that sums up the protagonist and what’s to be found within. This frontpiece was created by Derek Hunter. Overall grade: A

The story: After the events of last issue, Bay City burns from the volcano that’s erupted. Up high, safe, is Bollinger Park, which serves as the secret headquarters of Gamma’s evil family. She’s being made to patch up the hole she made in the ceiling when she entered the residence. Sister Necrosis is supervising her work, while Sludge is on a couch being sarcastic. Merc pulls up on the monitors the death and destruction she caused previously, adding to the anger she feels in being unable to be a hero. She’s stops her ranting when she hears someone beneath the grating she standing on asking for help. It’s Cavern Kid and he’s lost a lot of weight because Sludge is testing some new viruses on him to increase Necrosis’s undead army. When she tells him she’s going to free her friend he doubts her. “There are super villains who don’t have your kill count.” Knowing she can’t save C.K. at the moment, she whispers to him, “We’ll figure something out, buddy.” With her siblings not making her feel any better, she leaves their headquarters to try and do good back on the surface. Things do not go as she had planned. I did feel some joy when Gamma dealt justice on Page 7 and the new character that appears on 8 was fun. Writers Derek Hunter & Jason Young then have Gamma trying to right a wrong in a new location on Page 10 and unknowingly encountering some villains that she’s familiar with. This issue doesn’t have the amount of humor or shocks that the previous issue had, and the conclusion nullifies any sense of drama that one death held over the heroine. The final page does spin this saga in a bigger direction, so I’ll be back for more. However, I’ll lessen my expectations for what this series can do after reading this installment. Overall grade: B-

The art: The visuals are the high mark of this book. Derek Hunter’s artwork is like a Saturday morning cartoon gone wrong; cuteness becomes twisted into malformed faces covered in blood or bile when things go wrong. If this something you find funny, like I do, this book is for you. The book begins with four panels that move the reader from a view of the city down a hole into the villains’ secret lair. I love the design of the villains, with Sludge being a particular highlight; there’s just something about a pile of goo in a glass helmet atop an oversized robot suit that’s cool. Merc’s reactions to what he sees on the monitors sums up his character for the reader. Cavern Kid is completely sympathetic as he begs for help, while Sludge is the perfect visual counter to this imprisoned hero. The last panel on Page 4 is a great visual that shows that Gamma is a hero. However, once her family tries to give her some words of wisdom the heat rises in her and her face becomes grotesque in the funniest way with her lips stretched past the confides of her face and her teeth go jagged. The action in the sixth panel on 7 made me laugh, not only for what’s occurred, but how it’s illustrated; both characters’ poses are fantastic. The entrance of the new character on 8 is in line with the heroes of the previous issue. His nose, jaw, and hair are wonderfully over the top. Page 10 had me gagging because the actions shown are not ones I enjoy seeing in comics. The new character on 11 is cool and what’s done to him justifies the title of this book. The battle that takes place on the next four pages is fine, but any time a blow is delivered the reader is fairly distant from the action. This lessened the impact of the scene on me. It’s drawn well, but I’m too far from the characters. Reaction shots from Gamma get close-ups, but I wanted to be in the fight. The last panel on 17 was unexpected and made me laugh. Pages 18 and 19 didn’t create laughs because the lead character’s emotions were clearly stated on 15, so this wasn’t surprising. I’m loving the visuals, but the distance from the characters during the battle lessened my enjoyment. Overall grade: B+ 

The colors: Spencer Holt does a superb job with the colors of this book. I expect bright and garish colors for a super hero title and even more so with the visuals looking as they do. The opening page creates an extremely warn environment with oranges and yellows to highlight the volcano. The HQ of the baddies is in grays several shades, allowing the brightly clad characters to pop. The reds on Merc are terrific, the pink hair of Necrosis and Gamma draw the eye, and I’m in love with the green jello head of Sludge. When Merc’s monitors are shown they’re given muted colors to make them resemble transmissions. When Gamma makes her demand at the top of 7 she’s given a yellow background to make her proclamation stronger. There’s a terrific light effect when the new character arrives on 8. The colors of the creature on 11 are excellent and they provide the perfect mate for the amount of crimson that accompanies him. The battle that occurs has the characters and debris stand out against a serene sky blue. I love the gross greens that are used for a sound on 15. Overall grade: A

The letters: There’s no credit given to the letter again, so I’m assuming it’s also Hunter, but I could be wrong. Suffice to say they look good. Text comes in the form of narration and dialogue (the same font), sounds, yells, and a broadcast crawl. A different font should be used for the narration and dialogue because they are two different forms of communication, but they are differed enough by the shape and color of the balloons and boxes that contain them. Dialogue gets punched up with some words in thicker fonts, so the reader can better hear characters’ emphasis. The sounds are outstanding, punctuating all actions. The broadcast crawl that ends the book looks handwritten, rather than computer generated, but that made it fit in with the style of the visuals. The sounds are simply outstanding. Overall grade: A-

The final line: Not as funny as the first issue, but an enjoyable read. The inability of Gamma to be a hero and make the right decisions continues in this issue. There are some funny moments, though the plot supersedes the humor. The visuals remain strong, though the reader is distant from the main battle. I will return to see what further trouble Gamma gets into in her quest to be the best. Overall grade: B+

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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