Deadly Class #8 Review
"Escape Gone Wrong"
Rick Remender is currently writing Marvel’s big event, Avengers & X-Men: AXIS
(along with other titles for Marvel), but he’s also been producing creator-owned stuff on Image Comics for a while. Black Science, Deadly Class
, and the new-ish LOW
are pretty different from his Marvel work, but occasionally branch into similar fantastical ideas. To me, the best of the group is Deadly Class
, which has a concept that sounds very comic book-y: the protagonist, an orphan, is the newest recruit at a high school for assassins. However, the execution is very personal and interesting.
Marcus, the aforementioned orphan, who is a loner, has recently become accepted by a group of friends, but he still has problems. A murderous psycho named Chester from his youth has shown up, endangering him and everyone he cares about. He also has a relationship with a slightly unhinged Maria while also carrying a crush on the mysterious Saya. Most of Deadly Class
#8 is a look at why Chester is bent on revenge on Marcus.
As a child, Marcus was stuck in a corrupt and sadistic orphanage that used kids as slave labor. Chester was Marcus’s abusive and crazy roommate. Marcus fashioned an elaborate escape plan that would have ended up with Chester dead and the orphanage head arrested and all of the other kids freed. However, after Marcus escaped, Chester did as well, but not before burning down the orphanage, killing all of the kids and the orphanage head. The blame was given to Marcus, as well.
As evidenced from this description, this is a dark series and Deadly Class
#8 has a dose of thematic heaviness, but it’s also a well-crafted story about a lost child among a group of lost children and a compelling “escape from prison” type of story. It helps fill in not only why Marcus is a little aloof but how messed Chester has always been and why he has a vendetta against Marcus (who did try to murder him, after all). There seemed to be a showdown coming and it could be very ugly.
The flashback is bookended by Marcus giving Saya his journal (which contains the orphanage story) and Maria discovering Marcus and Saya on a roof, though she seems satisfies by Saya’s excuse of them discussing Chester. Along with the impending clash with Chester, Marcus’s clear attraction to Saya will no doubt prove problematic, perhaps pitting Maria against him or Saya. It doesn’t seem like there is a happy ending here for any of them.
Wes Craig is the artist on Deadly Class
and although a lot of the story comes from Remender’s youth, Craig is an essential part of what makes the series so strong. His art doesn’t really look like most other comic illustrators. It’s scratchy and out of proportion but also beautiful and features really cool compositions. As I previously mentioned, colorist Lee Loughridge is also really key, and his value is clear in Deadly Class
#8 since he colors many of the scenes with distinctive but different hues.
It’s hard to make comics that provide an interesting, suspenseful, fantastical story while also showcasing distinctive and appealing art and personal storytelling. Deadly Class
#8 is an example that is possible, though, and it’s really exciting to see it happen. The series as a whole has been exciting (both in story and that something like this exists), and the new issue – which doesn’t require much previous exposure – demonstrates why.