It’s one thing to have superlatively high expectations before delving into an eagerly anticipated series written by the fantastic Rick Remender. But it’s something else when those expectations are exceeded at every turn by the sheer force of talent and passion behind the project. Boasting an exceptionally skilled artistic team comprised of Wesley Craig and Lee Loughridge, Image Comics’ “Deadly Class” hits all the marks with dead-on precision.
WRITTEN BY: Rick Remender
ART BY: Wes Craig
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: January 22, 2014
Like excerpts from deeply personal journal entries, set against a backdrop of violence and dark themes, “Deadly Class” tells a compelling tale of strife and survival through the troubled eyes of 14-year-old street kid, Marcus Lopez. Our journey begins in 1987, as the author unceremoniously drops us head-first into Marcus’ arduous life on the streets of San Francisco. Reagan’s controversial reign as POTUS is nearing its end, and true to the consequences of his politics, Remender paints a bleak and angry picture of a time plagued by the disenfranchisement of the mentally ill and violent-prone youth.
He writes an exceedingly captivating tale made totally accessible by creating such a raw portrait of a damaged kid, but it isn’t long before the narrative kicks into high-gear with a brilliant show of epic action. Once introducing the mysterious Saya and her eclectic cohorts, Marcus — who is tortured by a cataclysmically devastating event from his past and struggling through the hopelessness of his present — is finally given a sense of direction and belonging in the form of “Kings Dominion School of the Deadly Arts”.
Being a sucker for any works of fiction involving elaborate ‘Extranormal Institutes’ of learning — whether good or evil — my inclination to read Remender’s take on a similar trope had been remarkably strong. And with very little still known about the assassin training academy, my interest is only heightened to an embarrassing degree. There’s something to be said for the author’s ability to keep the mystery alive, while solidifying reader interest for the next issue.
The amazing artwork is a huge selling point for the series. Far be it for me to fully recognize the punk/skate subculture and setting of an 80s era San Francisco, but Wes Craig and Lee Loughridge’s collaborative work allows for a sense of ambience and style that really seems to suit said period in time. Craig’s brilliant pencils and Loughridge’s understated colours provide a thoroughly engaging visual experience from start to finish. It’ll prove quite difficult not to be completely submerged in the illustrated action that effortlessly flows from page-to-page. There’s nothing stiff or unyielding about their impressive knack for depicting high-octane movement. And it’s made entirely effective thanks to the wicked panel layouts that add a sense of exhilarating urgency to Remender’s accelerated narrative. This creative team is a force to be reckoned with, and “Deadly Class” proves to be just as powerful.
Review by – ShadowJayd