The Bystander Abattoir: Pretty Violent #1 Reviewed

by Josh Davison

The Hulktress is about to kill an innocent little boy, but, thankfully, Gamma Rae is here to stop that from happening. Except, that isn’t an innocent little boy; it’s Mad-Manimal, and he proceeds to kill Hulktress and a number of civilians, the latter of whom are now furious at Gamma Rae. Things look like they’re going down the toilet until the armored hero Mecha-Dix arrives…to further scold Gamma Rae for what she’s done. This still provides Gamma Rae an opportunity to stop Mad-Manimal, but not in a way that Mecha-Dix could have expected.

Pretty Violent #1 cover by Derek Hunter
Pretty Violent #1 cover by Derek Hunter

Pretty Violent #1 is the newest creation from Adventure Time designer Derek Hunter to hit the comic book shelves. Its premise is that Gamma Rae, the daughter of a family of supervillains, has decided that she wants to be a superhero. Unfortunately, that’s harder than it looks and everyone sucks and is very killable.
That’s the first and most notable thing about Pretty Violent: it’s not a misnomer. This comic is extremely violent and gory, but it’s done in a cute and cartoonish manner appropriately reminiscent of Adventure Time.
Pretty Violent comes off as trying to spoof superhero comics, and there are some things there like how often superheroes fight one another in modern comics and how that seems to take precedence over any other crises at the time and the silliness of time travel stories on the whole.
That said, a lot of its humor just comes down to wanton murder and destruction. I can be down for that (Garth Ennis is one of my favorite writers after all), but there’s not much of a setup for that punchline in this book. Some of the jokes definitely land, but a lot of it just repeats the brutal death of every one around Gamma Rae–and it’s supposed to be funny because they were assholes or something.
It definitely seems that simple randomness is supposed to be a big part of the humor, like the common stereotype of Invader Zim (which is cruel reduction of how brilliant that show really is in its satire and absurdity). 
I do want to reiterate that there are some good jokes in Pretty Violent #1, and there is something charming about its colorful carnage.
Pretty Violent #1 art by Derek Hunter and Jason Young
Pretty Violent #1 art by Derek Hunter and Jason Young

Derek Hunter’s cartoonish art style serves as an entertaining contrast to the bystander and superhero abattoir that is Pretty Violent. The obvious parody characters like Hulktress and Mecha-Dix still have some cleverness in their designs, and that gore and violence is delightfully over-the-top. Spencer Holt’s color art is explosive and bombastic too, which is just what this comic needs.
Pretty Violent #1 is a very violent, very swear-y superhero parody comic with a lot of flaws. There isn’t really a character to root for; even Gamma Rae is just angry and murder-y. There is some humor to get out of it, and the art style is great. I can’t call this a must-read by any measure, but it is worth checking out if this sounds like your jam.
Pretty Violent #1 comes to us from writers Derek Hunter and Jason Young, artist, letterer, and cover artist Derek Hunter, color artist Spencer Holt, and variant cover artist Ryan Ottley with Nathan Fairbairn.
Final Score: 5.5/10

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