This volume ends on an amazing cliffhanger.
If you’ve been following Rick Remender’s writing for any length of time, you’ll know that he loves to grind down his protagonists. Sometimes this can get really wearying, but in cases like “Deadly Class” it becomes part of the fun. Still, when I was getting to the last few story pages of this volume I saw things take a turn for the worse with the main cast. The Saya-less King’s Dominion crew managed to reunite with Marcus and Maria in Mexico while the duplicitous scumbag Quan has managed to not only bring the Yakuza down on them, but Viktor and Brandy too. Everything was set up for the main cast to be totally screwed in classic, but completely expected, Remender fashion. That is, until the writer decided to flip the script on the very last page.
Now, I’ll concede that some parts of this cliffhanger could easily be walked back from. Not all of them, though. Unlike his previous attempt at a game-changing cliffhanger in vol. 4, Remender doesn’t go in for any obvious fake-outs and I’m looking forward to seeing how the stab wound and (assumed) loss of pride one character is no doubt feeling are addressed in vol. 7. It’s a textbook example of how stage an excellent cliffhanger all around.
While the ending of this volume is without a doubt its high point, there’s still plenty of fun stuff prior to it to make it another satisfying entry in this series. We do catch up a bit with Saya in Japan and learn about her origin in flashback, but it’s the exploits of the rest of the gang back in King’s Dominion which rightfully get the most time here. Remender and artist Wes Craig are still getting an amazing amount of mileage from their dementedly violent take on high school social politics while also finding new dimensions to their core cast to keep them from turning into stereotypes. In short, the business as usual stuff in “Deadly Class” is still pretty fantastic and vol. 7 can’t come fast enough.