Ahhh, growing up as a teenager in the late 1980s was a blast. The music…the drugs…the styles…the murder (?). Rick Remender seems to have remembered it well and in his Deadly Class series, he has captured a little bit of time in a bottle in his depiction of an elite school of murder and violence of a professional scale that hosts teens from some of the most infamous criminals and sociopaths of the late 20th century. The idea is original, unique, and pretty much spot on (minus the murder school stuff of course). But his characterizations of the cliques and of the harsh realities that were homelessness, crime, and overall social deviance that manifested itself during the era are quite realistic. I sense another teen of the late 80s in its midst. And I have absolutely loved it. Hell, I remember arguing with a guy during that time trying to praise the merits of the music of The Smiths with a friend of mine. It was like déjà vu all over again when I turned the pages of this one and read something very similar (see Issue #3). Anyway, after three totally kick ass issues we have entered into #4 and things change course significantly as we gain some insight of the Kings Dominion High School for the Deadly Arts and their disciplinary policy, as well as the ins and outs of those policies. Our lead, Marcus failed in his task given to him in the previous issue (Or did he? You have got to read it and see for yourself). As punishment, he is sent to a brutal form of solitary confinement, but is sprung quickly by his friends as they have other “big” plans for him in Las Vegas. He may have failed to school superiors, but he more than impressed his fellow students in his actions. Anyway, we are taken on literally a “trippy” journey to Vegas that is filled with deadheads, high def LSD influenced color, jilted ex’s, and of course, straight up killers who are looking to put an abrupt end to Marcus and his crew of misfits. It all begins a set up to some serious mad dog violence and action in coming issues.
Issue four is an establishment issue putting things in motion that will make for some serious stuff soon. On the whole, not a lot happens here other than some teenage delinquency to its nth degree. But man oh man, the art and color blow up on this one to a grand scale.
Rick Remender’s writing with Wes Craig’s art has been brutal, gritty, and intense for three issues. Here, as the kids are tripping and the Vegas lights are calling, Lee Loughridge’s color kicks it up several drug induced notches…And it works as we get some seriously surreal scenery in an otherwise, straightforward no nonsense issue. Just enough is shown to the reader by Remender to let us know that some hard times are ahead for our gang.
Story wise, I think Issue #4 is the most basic. But art wise, this one could one of the best. The promise offerings in this issue suggest that #5 is going to be a real doozy in both story and art. And to that, I say, bring it on! I know that I am ready to see what happens next. And I must say that keeping the little tidbits of Wes Craig’s art process has been an added touch allowing these single issues to have a feel of a trade paperback. For that, I say thanks and I am looking forward to see where we go from here.
Writer: Rick Remender Artist: Wes Craig Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 4/30/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital