In a way this is Rick Remender’s "book", of course others work on the book and the man himself has a huge back catalogue as well as other on going’s but something about this book feels personal. At the end of the first issue we got an opening letter explaining the genesis of the book and that spells it out to the reader, but even before that you got the idea that Marcus is more than just a creation. He has a sense of humanity that when with the outlandish events that will befall him during these six issues he still manages to hold onto. Not only that Remender has infused aspects like Marcus’s love of music into the story that seem to come directly from his own experience.
Marcus is the focus of this story and from the outset we get to understand this is a kid who has had it tough. He narrates the opening and does a great job in helping us enter his life within the first page or two. This then allows us the opportunity for a bit of flashback storytelling and from there we are set and ready to go to discover what San Francisco in 1987 felt like. Despite the later moves in to the world of make believe the start feels based in reality the city vistas feel authentic and the treatment of Marcus is pretty harrowing. All seems to be lost until a chance (?) meeting with a beautiful stranger turns the young man’s life upside down as he is offered the chance to make more of himself by enrolling in a school for assassins.
The school then creates the basis for the rest of the story from its halls and classrooms to Marcus’s classmates and “homework” everything he does is based on his introduction into a new ecosystem. The politics of the school help to make life interesting even though we only spend a short amount of time in the underground institution the ideas of fitting in are shown throughout the narrative. This is taken to extremes in the second half of the trade as Marcus is taken to Vegas on a road trip that shows sin city in all its glory with violence and tension at the forefront of the group’s journey.
Even though I suggested at the start this is Rick Remender’s book the art from Wes Craig and Colours from Lee Loughbridge do a remarkable job of adding to the narrative. The character models you see are stylised in such a way that their reactions are instantly readable allowing the images to say the words that are in the writing. It shows a creative team with a strong understanding and you can feel that on every page. I can see that some may not like the visuals as they are not traditional but I do personally enjoy them. You do get a gallery of the issues covers at the end of the trade along with Remender's Afterword.
Deadly Class is a step back in time to the world of the late eighties but in terms of narrative it feels fresh and new. The creative team have put together a great story filled with tension and humanity; this should be a book you are reading and is one of the highlights of 2014 so far.
The Comic is available in both print and digital from Image comics. Follow this link for more details.
Preview pages from Issue 1
Other Image Trades
Images courtesy of Image Comics
Comic - Provided by Publisher
Comic - Provided by Publisher