Overall, Deadly Class has been one ferociously fun ride into 1980s teen assassin school drama. Apparently, a lot of stuff goes on in an assassin school just like any other school during the 1980s. The only big difference is there are no pizzas getting delivered to these classrooms. Unless, that is the box is actually carrying concealed weapons of death. This school is not for the timid and Deadly Class likewise is not for the timid reader. Throughout the previous 12 issues, writer Rick Remender and artist Wes Craig have hit the reader with a whole lot of “outs”. We have had “freak outs” with protagonist Marcus Lopez and his seemingly homeless and near hopeless existence being transformed overnight a la a Harry Potter scenario as he enters into the Kings Dominion School for the Deadly Arts. We have had “trip outs” with Marcus and his clique of (mostly)murderous misfits undertaking a Vegas trip on a bad LSD high featuring bright lights, funky sights and Mr. T “pitying the fool”. And we have had “gross outs” with Marcus once again in a bad place having to go to his work at a comics store after a long night of binging that did not set too well with his internal systems. There were lots of excrement and bodily waste featured during that issue.
But as I finish reading Issue #13 of this super series, I think we can add one more “out”. That one is “wiped out”, as in when you finish this one, you will be “wiped out” as the action is high intensity, the violence, brutal, and the ending, shocking. It is a truly engrossing issue that leaves you empty when finished. But it is a good empty.
Many of the “outs” highlighted throughout the whole series has been focused on our main character Marcus. He has been the focal point for most of the way with his steps and (many) missteps played out in glorious detail. But during the last few issues, a shift change of characters has been occurring. We have been seeing more back story regarding Marcus’ (kind of) squeeze Maria and her rather interesting life being reviewed closer. Maria is the adopted daughter of El Alma de Diablo, head of the most vicious, most ruthless, and overall most nasty cartel in all of Mexico. Diablo’s son Chico has been Maria’s boyfriend for most of her young life, but he was killed by Maria in an act of saving Marcus from a near death rendering beat down. None too pleased with the missing of his son, Diablo goes on the hunt for Maria and happens to find her and Marcus with Chico’s severed head in hand. Not a good way to be found.
Needless to say, this compromising position was not helpful and Issue #12 had ended on a very sour note with a friend’s death, Marcus being led off to certain death himself, and Maria being escorted away. Enter Issue #13. This issue starts straight in from #12’s ending and it does not back off until things are over. It is completely white knuckled all the way…Very white knuckled.
With Marcus out of the picture after the opening sequences where an attempt to save him is made, everything goes over to Maria and her one woman assault on the worst of the cartel who has her captive. I’m not saying what happens. But I will say the action is intense with lots of severed body parts and blood prominent. It is hard core and brings the reader to the crescendo that will eventually wipe you out. This is especially true once the ending occurs, as some more throwbacks from earlier make a reappearance that will leave you saying “Damn”.
Rick Remender has been in the driver’s seat for most of the series with his strong edgy writing style using Craig’s art to depict the said edginess. But in Issue #13, things change and Craig’s art becomes the focal point as we have lots of swishing and swooshing action with sights, sounds, and intensity. This is a good move as Remender has already built on Maria’s life and there is no need to flog the dead horse. This issue is about vengeance and Maria’s desire to have it and make it her own. Craig delivers, impressively. I will never look at fans in the same way again.
Overall, Deadly Class #13 brings the heavy mojo to a good series. And though it might not be the best of the series, it is quite good and a solid standalone issue if you have never read anything in the series before. This one allows you to fall right in and get a feel for what the Kings Dominion School is all about as well as the politics and stories involved regarding the students.