Comic Review: DEADLY CLASS #3

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DEADLY CLASS #3
Published by Image Comics
Story by Rick Remender
Art by Wes Craig
Colors by Lee Loughridge
Letters by Russ Wooton

At the end of every issue of DEADLY CLASS, I think to myself, that was the best damn thing I’ve ever read.

The dialogue is smart and funny. The antihero is simultaneously acidic and likeable. Each panel is a picture worth putting on a screen. Every moment is a palpable, 80s-infused, leather-jacket-wearing spark of cranky teenage brilliance, and it’s blowing my mind.

The premise sounds cliché: a bunch of teenage assassins in the 80s dealing with their “troubled pasts”. Oh boy. But I’ll be bollocked if the execution in DEADLY CLASS #3 isn’t absolutely flawless.

The first four pages of this issue alone are worth your $3.50. It’s a couple of boys jumping across the rooftops of buildings, and the sense of nighttime exhiliration is soon contrasted by a near-death and an out-of-place wisecrack. Wes Craig is the absolute star, here. His topsy-turvy panels and exaggerated faces, along with Lee Loughridge’s shades of blue, are all you need to feel the boys’ joy, fear, pain, and relief as vividly as if you were there.

That’s not to say that Rick Remender is leaving all the tricks to his artists. He has crafted some fantastic rebellious teenage kid dialogue that could have come straight out of CATCHER IN THE RYE: “Civility is just lying to people about your true feelings. Hiding for personal gain. Popular people, well, they’re just the best liars.”

In lieu of cheap action sequences, there is stylized violence and emotional trauma, as well as genuinely creepy moments involving a disfigured monster-man out to get our main character, Marcus, for reasons related to his former boys’ home.

Make no mistake—this is not a “fun” comic book. It is an intense and visceral ride, and one of the best arguments for comics being “literature” that I’ve ever seen (so much more so than boring black-and-white biographies). If you’re even a marginal fan of Bret Easton Ellis, J.D. Salinger, or snarky pop culture romps like TRANSMETROPOLITAN, then DEADLY CLASS is a series you absolutely must be reading. Shocking, gorgeous, and brutal. 10/10

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