Deadly Class #41 Review

by Jay Hill on November 05, 2019

Written by: Rick Remender
Art by: Wes Craig
Colors by: Jordan Boyd
Lettered by: Rus Wooton
Published by: Image Comics

It’s a new year at King’s Dominion. Marcus, Maria, and now, Saya are back at the school that has almost killed them for much of the last year. Marcus has returned to melancholily musing about his fellow assassins-in-training. His narration throughout brings us right back to the hostile environment of old. But this time he is, for the most part, popular and must find a way to deal with this new “struggle”. At points, it seems like he may be starting to believe his own hype. Then, at others, he’s insulting the leeches who approach him for their own possible gain. Added to that, his inability to see himself as anything other than an outcast is putting a strain on his relationships. This may all be to help his, still undetailed, “plan”, but there is also a sense that Marcus may be succumbing to his self-destructive qualities. A rift is starting to grow between him and Maria which has been made worse with the arrival of Saya. Although we know nothing of his plan, it obviously didn’t include Saya who Marcus is cold to throughout the issue. The only thing that is currently clear is that these three have found themselves firmly back in the belly of the beast, and it can only end with bloodshed.

The three “originals” spend this issue mostly separated. Each is in a quite different position than they’ve ever been, and their relationships are being put to the test. Maria, now the head of the Soto Vatos, stays her outgoing self and tries to bring Marcus along but he’s consistent in his brooding and refuses. This leaves her open to the machinations of both her new roommate Stefano and Master Lin. But she’s been through much and is wary. Saya is outside everyone on campus. Her brief interactions with Marcus leave them on shaky terms. The end of the issue is focused on Marcus’ night out with his roommate Sam, Stephen, and Jayla. Rick Remender’s classic way of weaving in philosophical and social debates is on display during this end scene. It works as a sort of bonding between the other students and Marcus. But what is actually happening throughout this scene, and the entire issue, is the stacking of the pieces that will come into play for the next explosive chapter. The cryptic end adds to the grand mystery that’ll eventually be unveiled.

What can I say about Wes Craig’s art? The team of Remender and Craig has been going strong for forty issues at this point and it continues to flourish. They have taken this story from trippy Vegas getaways to bloody fights in the street to an awe-inspiring ninja showdown. The beginning of this issue displays why this duo is one of the best in comics history. The narrations on the first page displays their cohesion as Craig draws Marcus so, without the words, we see his introspection illustrated. A brilliant use of the red dot that transitions into a sunrise, Marcus’ cigarette smoke trail, and the always innovative framing solidifies the opening impression as much as the monologue. A great shot shows the isolation of Marcus and Saya. And the club scene shows off Craig’s strength for drawing busy environments.

Jordan Boyd’s colors are as important as the writing and art. I can’t think of many comics where the colors are as vital and impressive than in Deadly Class. It dictates the mood unlike any other comic. In this issue, the party is popping and eclectic, the nighttime carnival is cozy and rustic, but the scene where the color comes most into play is the face-to-face between Marcus and Saya. In a series where the colors can drench a scene in horror or tension or passion or violence, it highlights the numbing fluorescents of the diner and brings into view the current coldness between these characters. Craig’s art in the scene has Marcus breathing smoke, adding to the chilling factor. And Remender’s biting dialogue brings it all together. This series has been running on all cylinders for a long time now. And the peak still seems yet to come.

Deadly Class has continued to create escalating situations without feeling like it’s trying to one-up itself. This new beginning continues the characters on what now seems like the only natural course for them. But the stakes have never been higher. The powder keg is building to an inevitable explosion. This has always been the endgame. However, it’s still unclear who has the winning plan and who will be added to the long list of casualties.

Our Score:


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