Deadly Class #32
Deadly Class #32, by Rick Remender, Wes Craig, and Jordan Boyd, is a mile a minute feast of action. It roars right out of the gate and the pace never slacks, but it still manages to deliver on multiple levels.
Continuing from last issue, Marcus confronts Brandy and Viktor, sent by Shabnam, leader of the Student Body Council at King’s Dominion High School for the Deadly Arts, to kill him and his girlfriend Maria, as well the new freshmen who inadvertently found the pair while they were hiding in Mexico. They’re interrupted by a whole bunch of Yakuza ninja and the three declare an uneasy truce to fight their way out. As the Yakuza threat escalates, Marcus and Viktor leave the wounded Brady to find a doctor and continue drawing out the ninja army that’s chasing them until they are face to face with each other, their truce at an end.
So, right off the bat, this comic feels like an 80s Frank Miller book, so much that Marcus brings it up in internal monologue. It’s a series of escalating action scenes, punctuated by a beautiful splash pages. Wes Craig and Jordan Boyd shine throughout. This much action has the danger of getting repetitive, but they find a way to keep it flowing and interesting. Boyd’s colors have always been a standout for this book and this issue is no exception. There’s an almost pastel overlay to his coloring, which works so well for a comic set in the 80s. It’s most prevalent here when the Marcus and Viktor are fighting off the Yakuza in a hotel room, but once the action is taken outside, he changes it up a bit, giving everything a yellowish, almost orange tint that you’d get from a street let by sodium street lights. Dark rooms are inky black, with the perfect amount of light streaming in to illustrate some of the details of the room. It heightens the sense that the reader is witnessing these events first hand.
Craig’s pencils are gorgeous throughout the issue. There’s a cartoonish quality to them, but they are just hard edged enough to make all the violence look realistic. Before all that, happens, though, there’s a sequence of Marcus’s memories of the good times at King’s Dominion before the Freshmen Cull that led to him hiding in Mexico. Craig’s work shines here, his pencils drawing the reader into these memories. It’s a masterclass in visual storytelling. Sure the captions are telling how Marcus feels about those times, but the art shows those feelings. The whole issue is a feast for the eyes, especially the splash pages. He’s also able to capture the feeling of the chase, too, the chaos of the violence. One of the freshmen is shot in the stomach and the reaction of his girlfriend captures the horror and fear of the moment perfectly.
Beyond the sumptuous visuals, Remender keeps the narrative chugging along, reminding readers of the relationships between characters in ways both overt and subtle. He uses Marcus’s internal monologue to a great effect. It sets the tone and gives the reader the emotional context for what’s going on. He expertly builds tension throughout the issue using both the internal monologue and the dialogue, helped along by Craig’s expressive pencils. It’s a delicate balancing act. Deadly Class has never been a book to shy away from killing main characters and Remender keeps the reader in suspense throughout. Lesser writers would have tried to cut the tension with some humor, but Remender lets it all build up. It’s extremely effective.
Deadly Class #32 goes for the throat and doesn’t let up. There’s really not much more that can be said about it. It’s action packed, but still finds time to tell a story. The reader not only feels like they’re watching it, but also that it is happening to them. The creative team gels everything together so well. It serves as a good jumping on point and sets the tone for the forthcoming story arc.