Comic Picks By The Glick

Deadly Class vol. 4: Die For Me

August 19, 2016

For the freshman finals at King’s Dominion Atelier of the Deadly Arts, all of the rats must die.  This includes series protagonist Marcus, his goth girlfriend Petra, and former friend turned current ally Billy.  Their race to survive all the teen assassins coming for their heads stands as some of the most thrilling storytelling that this series has delivered yet.  As you’d expect, the many action scenes are breathless in their pacing and brutal in their outcomes and give you a rush that most comics just can’t offer.  It doesn’t lose a step when things calm down.  That’s when Rick Remender takes the knife out and starts to twist as Marcus, his friends, and his enemies realize that not only are things not going to plan, they really can’t trust anyone else.  I’ve made a point before about how Remender likes to grind down his characters for dramatic effect, yet “Deadly Class” remains the exception to how wearying that approach can be.  Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, suffers in this black-humored teen drama and that makes it a lot easier to take.  None of this would matter, however, without the always-stunning work of artist Wes Craig who is right there with the writer in knowing just how crazy to pitch things on the page.

While reading this volume for the first time, I was absorbed to the point where “one of the best things I’ve read all year” kept reverberating through my mind.  Then I got to the last couple of pages…

It’s not that they betray the drama of what has come before or represent an unrealistic outcome to the events of the finals.  The problem is that we’ve been down this road before with Remender.  The first volume of “Black Science” as a matter of fact.  I was all for that particular twist then, until he undid it in the second volume and destroyed a potentially fascinating story thread in the process.  It could be that he’s actually going to make good on this particular development in the pages of “Deadly Class.”  I’m more inclined to believe that we’ll see the character thought to be killed here with their chest thoroughly bandaged and in some kind of makeshift hospital bed recovering from their injuries in the next volume.  Or vol. 6 if Remender really wants to draw things out.  The good news is that even if this development does turn out the way I’m expecting it to, there’s still plenty of things going on with the (surviving) members of the cast to keep me riveted to the page.  This one development, though, still feels pretty disingenuous next to what the creators accomplished with the rest of vol. 4

jason@glickscomicpicks.com