Written by: Rick Remender
Art by: Wes Craig & Jordan Boyd
Publisher: Image Comics
Nineteen issues into Deadly Class, no one reading this review, or reading the series, should be surprised that the next 300+ words will consist solely of me raving about the quality of the book. It’s easily one of the best comics out there right now, and, really, everyone should be reading it in some form. Especially considering that, with each arc, it just seems to get better, and this arc is certainly no exception.
That being said, this issue is probably the weakest of the arc so far. Don’t get me wrong, it has everything that I love about Deadly Class. Over the top action, great dialogue, awesome character moments, the book’s characteristic aesthetic – that’s all here. In fact, there are some particularly great moments that I’ll touch on later. A couple of these moments were so strong that I thought this would be my favorite entry in the arc thus far.
Unfortunately, the way this issue ends is kind of a bummer. I mean that in two ways – first, yeah, it’s a super bummer for Marcus, who continues to just raked over the coals. Second, it kind of seems like a breach of character. Perhaps I’m drawing conclusions too quickly, and it’s all just a red herring. In that case I may have to come back and amend this review, but man, for the time being, I have issues with the cliffhanger. I don’t feel comfortable going into depth about it, since it is a pretty major spoiler, so apologies for having to be kind of vague and talk around it.
Anyways, on to more positive elements, of which this issue has many. The opening scene is actually one of my favorite moments of the series in a while. It has nothing to do with any of the main characters – it’s just this cool side narrative about music. Of course, it ties into the main story, but it serves as a form of comedic relief. It’s a nice refresher from the violence that has dominated the series for the past couple of issues.
That’s definitely here, and Wes Craig and Jordan Boyd do a great job of bringing it to life. The art in Deadly Class has a unique aesthetic, and this manifests itself especially well in the action sequences. This is where it truly shines, but it’s an important aspect of the book in general. A lot of this has to do with panel structure, actually. What the panels contain is obviously essential, but the size and number of panels per page plays a massive role in term of pacing. It’s a device that’s used masterfully here.
This issue focuses pretty heavily on Billy, which is nice, since we haven’t really gotten to spend tons of time with him. He benefits quite a bit from this issue, for the most part. There are some great lines of dialogue, and his confrontation with Viktor is especially poignant. The characters in this book each seem to be inherently interesting, so throwing them all into situations where they’re forced to play off of one another is almost always guaranteed to be interesting.
Anyways, aside from the last couple of pages (and hell, even those are more good than than bad), Deadly Class #19 is just another excellent installment in the series. If you’re not already reading this book, you should be. Nineteen issues may seem daunting, but they’ll fly by in no time. For people who have been reading from the start, I’m probably just preaching to the choir and telling you things you already know.