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Deadly Class: “Reagan Youth” (Image Comics, 2014 #1-6)

You know how Harry Potter is about an orphan who gets into wizard school? Well, Deadly Class is like that, but with an assassin school. And its protagonist, Marcus, lives on the street before getting into the killer academy. And his nemesis, while still noseless, manages to be creepier than Voldemort could ever hope to be.

One thing Rick Remender does better than almost anyone else in the comics business is putting anxiety and depression on the page. Here, he focuses on social anxiety and paranoia. After establishing Marcus as grappling with both, he introduces the dissonance of being hyper-aware of others’ perception and being coming across as sociopathic because all others see is the calculation that goes into conversation. Seeing this play out for Marcus is fascinating, and Remender’s nuance in balancing the contradictions between his motivations and others’ perceptions is deftly executed.

Wes Craig’s linework for Deadly Class mostly falls into the “Only the Lines It Needs” category. It fits the book’s period as well as its tone. Between his lines and Lee Loughridge’s flat colors (which impressively manage to convey a strong sense of light through palette alone), this book could look good in four-color dots on newsprint, as though it had been published in the ‘80s. There are specific points in the book when each breaks out of this style for emphasis, and those moments are intentional and based in the story.

I’m a fan of Rick Remender’s work, and Deadly Class is no exception. He, Craig, and Loughridge make an excellent team, and their first arc is perfectly paced. Should you read it? If you’re cool with a book that isn’t afraid to get dirty and doesn’t pull its punches, then yes. It reads like an R-rated 80s action/revenge flick; if that’s your style, definitely give Deadly Class a read.

Collected in

  • Deadly Class, Vol. 1: Reagan Youth (#1-6)
  • Deadly Class Deluxe Edition, Vol. 1: Noise Noise Noise (#1-16)


Writer: Rick Remender | Artist: Wes Craig | Colorist: Lee Loughridge | Letterer/Logo Designer: Rus Wooten | Editor: Sebastian Girnir

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