Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Wes Craig
Colourist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Blimey, Deadly Class is a bit indecisive isn’t it? “Oh I’m a gritty crime series with cartel hits. Oh no wait, now I’m a reflective piece on the troubles of growing up. Now I’m actually a teen romance. Wait, my mistake, I’m actually Marie Antoinette, Queen consort to Louis XVI of France, let them eat cake and off with my head!” Sometimes I feel like sitting down with Deadly Class and trying to find out what’s really going on but I can’t get the bugger to sit still for five seconds before it tries to shoot my head off with a crossbow while telling me how much it likes The Runaways. So, Deadly Class is still doing its thing of being a crime story wrapped in teen drama. Whatever, it works for it and therefore who am I to complain? (Well actually, as the reviewer, probably the one person who can.)
Issue #9 decides to delve into the backstory of some of the supporting characters; mostly Marcus’, ever so slightly unstable, girlfriend Maria. I’m very much fine with this. You see, though I initially liked Marcus for his calm and dark demeanour, his willingness to do very bad stuff and his overall moral ambiguity; I’ve come to see him as nothing more than an automatic rebelling machine. Put something in front of him and he’ll rebel against it:
“How about this new band Marcus?”
“What about this new film?”
“Would you like to stroke this cute puppy?”
So when the limelight shifts to another, more emotionally complex character than REBELOTRON X80, you can’t help but enjoy it. Maria’s story is one of the best presented so far; with cartel hits, emotion and enough heartstring tugging to induce a small coronary; it manages to blow the dust away from the story of Marcus’ repeated attempt to rebel against every atom in existence. However, this is Deadly Class and the story isn’t going to wait for you to get engrossed. It’s far too busy snorting all the cocaine you foolishly took your eye off for a millisecond. So we are dragged back to Marcus’ attempt to bring down his nemesis, while at the same time, deciding which girl he wants to give his awkward teenage love to, oh and there’s a bit where they go to a rock concert. I mean, of course there’s a bit where they go to a concert. That’s what people did in the 80s; they plotted murder, then they went to a concert and moshed. Ask your mum.
The art in this issue is exactly what I’ve come to expect from Deadly Class: brilliant. The drawing retains it’s rough around the edges, punk style while at the same time making innovative use of space and some creative panelling to slide the story seamlessly from panel to panel and page to page. Everything looks so fluid I’m amazed it doesn’t run the ink (I’m not really; I was being dramatic for your enjoyment). If I had one criticism, which I do, then I would say the colours in this issue could have used a little variation. Too much grey and black, I mean, I get the story is meant to be dark but it shouldn’t mean I have to squint to make out what’s going on and awkwardly stub my toe on the dresser and kick the dog.
Overall this issue is a fine addition to the series, Maria’s story was enjoyable and it even had some quite accurate reflections on gigs and moshing. Not many things can do that. You don’t often mix drug cartel assassinations with why metalheads ruin moshpits. Deadly Class somehow manages to make it work. The big letdown in this issue, however, has to be the fact that I can’t shake the feeling that Marcus’ story is just playing for time. It advances at the speed of an over 80s relay and when you shout at it to hurry up, it pretends its hearing aid is broken before telling you about the time it went to Mexico.