Kelly Sue DeConnick (Avengers Assemble, Captain Marvel) and Emma Rios (Dr. Strange, Osborn) present the collected opening arc of their surprise-hit series that marries the magical realism of Sandman with the western brutality of Preacher.
Death's daughter rides the wind on a horse made of smoke and her face bears the skull marks of her father. Her origin story is a tale of retribution as beautifully lush as it is unflinchingly savage.A fantasy Western telling the story of Death's daughter and of a little girl named Sissy who is destined to face Death and take his powers for her own. Along the way we have Big Alice, who is hunting Ginny, Death's daughter; a "coward" named Johnny Coyote who is accompanied by a talking raven; Old Fox, who is Sissy's guardian, and, of course, Death himself. The story is narrated by a butterfly and a rabbit skeleton, so we're in the realm of the fantastic from the opening panels.
I'll start with what I loved: the artwork. Stunning images and the color is perfect. I'll definitely be looking to see the artists' other work (Emma Rios and Jordie Bellaire). I think the artwork is what made this story work for me. I have major issues with the writing and characters, but I have no regrets about the time I spent with the volume because the artwork was just that fantastic. I love the setting of the American West and the way the magical realism fits in with that world.
Despite the gorgeous artwork and the promise of a unique and original setting, the characters and plot really just fell flat for me. The majority of the characters served no purpose in the overall plot. The mythos of the story is inconsistent and there were gaping plot holes and entire portions that could have been removed with absolutely no effect on the story. We're not given explanations or insight into most characters' motivations or reason for existing. Even the bunny/butterfly narration felt weird and unnecessary. At the end of the story, I'd be hard pressed to give a reason for reading it, or even a concrete plot summary.
Again, I'm torn between loving this for the artwork alone and being confused and disappointed by the story. I would recommend looking through it for the enjoyment of the illustrations, but not with high hopes for a cohesive and understandable story line. I'll look for other works by the illustrators, but I'll most likely skip reading the next issues of this series.