Pretty Violent #3: When Madcap Fun And Ultra-Violence Turns Into Something More…

by Richard Bruton

So far, Pretty Violent has given us a madcap, stupid (in a good way), gross-out comedy superhero comic full of blood, guts, and loads of swears. And it’s made me laugh and want to read on. But in issue three… here’s where it begins to get interesting / not the stupid gag strip you signed up for*…
(*delete as suits your reading – but stick with me for an explanation)

Yes, so far what we’ve seen in Pretty Violent (reviews of Issue 1, Issue 2) is exactly what’s been shown on the covers… blood, guts, and swears as the city’s latest superhero makes a complete balls-up of being a hero and gets a body-count most villains would be envious of.
Thing is, back when I reviewed issue 1, I wondered about just how long the comic could keep up the dumb fun part of what made issue 1 work so well.
It seems the answer is about three issues.
And depending on what you’re after from Pretty Violent, that’s where you either find it interesting or not the stupid gag strip you first enjoyed. You know, the sort of daft ultra-violence where the new super meets the old supers and does this sort of thing…

Okay then, so far it’s basically gone like this… Gamma Rae wants to be a superhero but really doesn’t have a clue, killing at least two superheroes and countless civilians in her first adventure, full of blood, guts, spinal bits, eye-balls flying all over and so much gloriously silly gore moments. Then, incredibly, she manages to get the (ever so fickle) public behind her to make her the city’s number 1 up-and-coming superhero.
Problem is that the only reason she’s become everybody’s favorite new hero is thanks to her family. A family of super-villains living in their underground super-secret lair, who made the decision to help out their wayward sister by basically throwing the game.
Ok then, all caught up and on to issue 3…

After the events of last issue, the people think Gamma Rae is hot stuff, but the heroes of the city want to do a little vetting and checking she’s all that. And, of course, we know she’s far, far, far from all that… her new-found fame all because her family decided to rig things for her last issue.
So, suddenly the madcap stupid stuff of the first couple of issues transforms into something just that little bit deeper, with Gamma Rae beginning to realise that, sometimes, the lines between the good guys and the bad guys aren’t so clear-cut.

Now, in between this new-found depth, there’s still time to show us what a screw-up she can be…

Now, the thing with Pretty Violent issue 3 is that things are going just that little bit deeper than just a simple dumb fun, blood & guts, screwing up new hero sort of thing. Instead we get a question of ethics, of morals, of family values. And that’s where the problem lies with this issue of this comic. If you were in it for the dumb (clever & funny) gags and the body parts flying all over, this might be where you exit the book.
But, if like me you enjoyed the first couple of issues but were wondering just where they could take it to make it work as some sort of continuing series, here’s where you get the first glimpse of an answer to that. So far, Hunter and Young have shown us they can do the visceral comedy stuff really well. Now, they’re asking for us to give them the chance to show us they can turn that on its head and give us something a little bit more.
I don’t know about you, but I’m up for giving them the chance.
Pretty Violent #3, written by Derek Hunter and Jason Young, art by Derek Hunter, published 21 August by Image Comics.

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