In Review: Pretty Violent #3

More story than action lessens the humor in this outing.

The cover: Crawling out from the eye socket of a defeated Under-Dweller, Gamma Rae proudly holds up a small clear crystal she’s obtained from within the creature’s insides. Her proud look is lessened by the gore on the creature’s oversized face. The background is white, allowing the pink and red colors to stand out. Another gross and funny frontpiece from creator, artist, and co-writer Derek Hunter. The only thing that could improve this image is if the cover was more centered on the title character. Overall grade: A-

The story: Gamma’s first team-up is with Captain Friendly. The pair are flying to a location to protect a shipment of gems from the Under-Dwellers. Lo and behold, that’s when a truck containing the gems is uplifted by a monstrous Under-Dweller and its smiling, smaller minions. Captain Friendly tells Gamma to follow his lead and he grabs one of the smaller creatures while being attacked by another pair. He orders newbie Gamma to fight the large leader. Before she can attack the monster, the behemoth says, “I’ll endure any amount of paint to protect my children…You people come into our caves and take everything from us! My children starve, and for what? So that you may tastelessly adorn your doughy flesh?” It seems that the creatures eat the gems. Gamma tries to explain the situation to Captain Friendly as he rips one of the minion’s jaws apart to kill it, but orders her to kill the leader. That’s when Gamma makes a decision that leads to trouble for the Captain. Derek Hunter & Jason Young have a lot more heart in this issue than the previous two installments, with Gamma coming off the most sympathetic yet. There are some humorous non-violent moments, such as on Page 7 and 8 – 9, but they fall flat. Better is when Gamma meets with Maximum Prophet and gets a new partner. The VR prank, sadly, isn’t funny. I did like the reveal on page 18 and the conclusion on 20 is fantastic. Drama outweighs the humor, though it does close the book out in outstanding fashion. Overall grade: B-

The art: Derek Hunter’s art is the reason to pick up this book. If you’re looking for something cute that then goes twisted, this is your party. The first page has a terrific perspective shot of Gamma flying happily through the sky, just avoiding the reader. The city streets below her are highly detailed. Her dive down in the sky panel is one of unabashed joy. In the third panel the way she sticks her jaw out to question a group’s name is a small preview of how distorted these characters’ faces can become. The entrance of the Under-Dwellers at the top of the next page is fantastic, with a great lifting of a vehicle and the fun reactions from bystanders. The leader is an gargantuan beast with a great face and bumpy body. The smaller minions are big toothed frog-like creatures that crawl about on two long arms. Check out the awesome perspective shot in the third panel on 3, but don’t race by the minions attacking Captain Friendly in the first panel. The first panel on 5 has Friendly ripping a minion’s mouth apart with a sensationally disgusting amount of gore, accompanied by a really funny eye socket pull. The popping in the fourth panel is gore-tastic. This is only a tease of the face shattering smack that begins 6 which is followed by an eyeball eating that’s too wonderfully silly for anyone to take seriously. Pages 8 and 9 aren’t visually exciting as they involve a visit to a hospital with a boy in a bed. He’s not mean enough looking to warrant his tone, making the sequence flat. Cavern Kid’s close-up on 10 is cute and funny. I like that Maximum Prophet isn’t revealed to the reader when he first appears, instead showing from the back. When the character is revealed on the next page he looks like the hero who’s lived a long, successful life, but still has much to do. He resembles Christopher Plummer somewhat. The Savior Complex looks fantastic and I could have spent a lot more time being shown this setting. Misty Meadow isn’t a visually exciting character, with her long hair being her only standout feature. However, when she goes into action she looks good. The visuals are fine, but are best when there’s action. Overall grade: B

The colors: This type of hero-humor book needs bright colors to make the violence over the top and colorist Spencer Holt succeeds. The first page is grounded in realistic browns, tans, and grays for the city, while the heroes pop off the page in bright colors. Gamma’s pink hair makes her an eye magnet on every page she appears. The Under-Dwellers have some slick sickly oranges to make them look as though they were molded out of mud. Their bulbous red eyes give them an evil flair. The powder blue sky suggests that all should be calm in the city, but all it does is serve to be an excellent backdrop for blood and orange Under-Dweller flesh. Pages 7 – 9 are pretty flat, with grays and passive colors not helping the art or story. I love that whites and golds dominate the Savior Complex, giving it an extra heroic zing. Misty Meadow’s costume is colored a flat green, which has her easily identifiable in the dark violet closing. The explosions and sounds in this last battle look great in luminescent yellows. Overall grade: A-

The letters: No credited letterer continues his or her work on this issue creating dialogue, sounds, yells, and the tease for next installment. I’m assuming that Hunter is also the letterer because he’s incorporating the sounds into his artwork. The sounds are spectacular, fitting the action perfectly and being a hoot and a half to read aloud. My favorite sound involves a robot changing its shape to a familiar noise. The dialogue seemed tiny this issue, but that may be due to there not being a lot of stressed speaking and more everyday speech. Overall grade: B

The final line: More story than action lessens the humor in this outing. This is an okay read, but didn’t hit me as hard as the over the top violence of the previous two issues. Cavern Kid is a scene stealer in his brief appearances. 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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