Deadly Class #43 Review

by Jay Hill on February 19, 2020

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

The Deadly Class Progression: Things were almost good, then they were bad, now, would you believe it, they’re even worse.

I never seem to tire of the introspective and somber narrations of Marcus. The monologues hit like the lyrics to a Smiths or Joy Division song. Sometimes you need that sadness. At the start of this issue, Marcus has been through enough in this cabin to earn his solemn ruminations. Although, the feeling persists that he puts himself in situations sort of hoping they fail so that he can complain when people turn out to be the disappointments that he expected them to be. With that said, it still doesn’t pardon Maria and Stefano from the betrayal they pulled on him. The fact that this getaway was designed to kick back and forget about all problems was basically the assurance that a problem was about to come careening into the story. Multiple arcs of Deadly Class have had the feeling of a solid drug trip turning sour, and, in this issue, it is a literal bad “trip” that sends Marcus face-to-face with his next challenge. The villains who crash the party have been well established, but it was still as much a surprise to me as it was to the characters when things started going downhill.

I have talked about how great this series is at escalating the threats naturally without feeling like they are doing it purposely. Unlike stories such as Dragon Ball Z where a new villain pops up that requires yet another undiscovered character powerup or in Star Wars when the Death Star gets bigger and deadlier, so the force becomes stronger and more incomprehensible. This story has gone from a sadistic redneck gang to a crazed family cartel to a battle with seemingly hundreds of f#%king ninjas and now this next enemy seems to be just as believably dangerous and well-crafted. Saya’s reaction to the entire event was completely believable given her current dynamic at King’s Dominions. This is really the first time she’s got to show her current mentality, and although it is unfortunate for the characters who need her help, it is totally understandable where she is coming from. That dang Shabnam is holding his reign as the most hateable character in comics. And, the death of one particular character (or red shirt) stirred my emotions. He was in one of my favorite scenes of all time when he was introduced, and he will be missed.

With the action picking up, Wes Craig gets to do what he does best.  But, before things got hectic, he did some great work at crafting the atmosphere. His use of shots like the first page that felt like a movie camera focusing on Marcus as he made his way through and out the cabin, his (always) great use of cigarette smoke, and his spread shots divided by panels gave this issue that unforgettably artistic aura. Rus Wooton’s lettering is always top-notch but the scattered thought feeling he gave the cascading boxes as Marcus ran in the snow was as mood-enhancing as the art or as Jordan Boyd’s colors. Speaking of the colors, they were great in the snowy scenes, leaving everything feeling frigid, and peaked on the full-page reveal of the enemy. Craig’s illustration of the character (and weapon) and the morbid Christmas-like tree with the framing of the star/halo behind them with Boyd’s black-and-white focused colors created another iconic shot to add to the series. If you’ve been reading the series up until now, you know that the action scenes are consistently some of the best in the medium and this issue delivers more of those moments. The fluidity of Craig’s action is incredible. Maria and Saya get shining moments in this issue along with Marcus' patented bumbling fight style. Craig's group shots are always standouts and, since this villain comes in large numbers, we get a fair amount of those shots.

Things are going bad for Marcus. Surely, that comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with the series. You may even be saying “Things are going bad for Marcus” could be the series’ subtitle, but now things are really going bad. With the emergence of another threat of great numbers, great power, and zero responsibility the end for the King's Dominion gang may finally be approaching. This issue has everything that has kept this book so great, puts us on the track for another exciting chapter, and restores an unpredictable nature to the narrative. And, not to mention, one of the greatest, and most-loved characters meet their end in it.

Our Score:


A Look Inside