As the only title to be listed twice on Comicosity’s Best Series of 2014 list, Deadly Class has an overwhelming amount of momentum heading into the new year. Along with the high praise comes the pressure to keep the book at the top of the pack, and history has proven that this isn’t always easy to do. If the first issue of 2015 is any indication fans of Deadly Class will have nothing to worry about. Remender, Craig, and Loughridge deliver the high quality performances we’ve come to expect from them over the past year in an issue that both brings the action, and packs an emotional punch to the gut.
I’ve argued from the first issue on that Deadly Class is first and foremost a comic about being a teenager. All the hallmarks of being a teenage are being represented, and then magnified (as Remender puts it in the letter column) by the unique setting the kids find themselves in. This is no more apparent than here in issue 10 where the teenage tradition of screwing up is on full display. Remender is able to pack a lot into this issue. There’s the aftermath of last issue that sets the chain reaction felt throughout the issue. This includes Marcus being late for work in a perfectly rendered scene of Marcus frantically running through the streets, the big sale at the comic book store, and then the big raid on Fuckface’s house. The script is damn near perfect in both setup and dialogue. The only fault I see in the issue is the end result of the comic book store scene. It was a bit groan worthy, but the way it continued Marcus’ horrible day of screwing seemed to be the point, and it made said point well. The way Marcus knows he has made a mistake is shown through the combination of internal guilt and confusion that every teenager has felt before. The way that Remender is able to channel being a teenager is downright scary. The way he and Craig are able to convey that on the page is even more frightening. This issue really has it all, as on top of the emotional aspect there is the raid to take out Fuckface that doesn’t go as planned. The raid is a kinetic action scene with gunfights, explosions, and brutal hand to hand combat. The issue feels like a set of dominos being pushed over with each one being necessary for the next to fall. Marcus’ initial mistake leads to the next one which leads to the next one which leads to that final panel. It just flows so well.
Of course, Deadly Class wouldn’t be the book it is without the absolutely stellar work of Wes Craig and Lee Loughridge. I’m running out of superlatives to describe their work. Wes Craig is turning out career defining work here, and this issue has several stand out moments with his inventiveness on full display. The scene with Marcus running through the streets while delivering an internal monologue about his feelings could have easily been boring, but once again Craig shows that he can convey frantic motion like no other in the industry. The layout of the pages, and how the panels are positioned add so much to what makes this book special. The best part is you feel the layouts, and you feel Loughridge’s colors while you’re reading, but you don’t realize the effect they have on you until you stop to think about it. I already mentioned the scene where Marcus is getting to work, but the unique layouts are pretty much every page. The big climactic action scene has crooked/irregular panels that scream “ACTION” and make the scene much more dynamic. There is no doubt that the art team is among the best in the industry, and just as responsible as Remender in making Deadly Class so special.
Remender, Craig, and Loughridge are turning out one of the best comics currently being published (I say THE best). It’s rare to see an entire creative team continually make brave, bold, daring choices and have them continue to payoff time after time. By now you know if Deadly Class is a book for you. If it’s not your cup of tea that’s understandable, but for the rest of us we are truly witnessing something special.
The Verdict: 9.5/10