Wow, after only 3 issues I think Deadly Class might be one of my favourite comics on the stands today. This title is so good, and this issue might be the best yet, as Rick Remender starts to really develop one of the characters who isn’t Marcus in the form of Willie.
This issue focuses on just those two characters, as they attempt to complete their assignment of finding a hobo who deserves to be killed… and kill them. The opening few pages are just great, with Marcus and Willie jumping between rooftops. Marcus makes it, but Willie is only just able to grab on, and needs Marcus to pull him up. What follows is a fascinating conversation between the two of them that not only reveals the true nature of how fucked-up Marcus has become, but also starts to reveal Willie’s backstory. He’s the son of a big time gangster, who killed 5 rival gangmembers before he was 12 after they killed his dad right in front of him. As for Marcus, we see more about his troubles connecting with people, and how he can’t make friends.
But we start to see a sign of friendship between Marcus and Willie, and it comes through in the same way that most teenagers make friends, a discussion about music. Sure, Willie calls The Smiths ‘gay’, but the conversation between the two of them about Rap music was really important I think. It brings the fact that these characters are very young back into the foreground, and really, the rebellious music of the 80s is being used as a metaphor for the assassinations here. These kids are outcasts in more ways than one.
Marcus and Willie approach one of Marcus’ old hobo friends, Rory and ask if he can point them in the direction of a fellow tramp who does bad shit. They head to this guy’s tent, and it turns out to be the man who stole Marcus’ shoe in #1 and who he spared. The man attacks and runs away. Willie has him in his sights, but he can’t pull the trigger. It turns out the story he told about his past is bullshit, as he didn’t kill anyone, he was just there when his dad was killed, and it messed him up. The two of them go back to sit with Rory and work out what to do. Rory talks about how going to Vietnam ruined his life, and it seems like that’s what this series is all about, people who’s lives were fucked with by ‘the man’ trying to fight back. It’s not for nothing that Marcus wants to kill Ronald Reagan.
The issue ends with another big surprise, as Marcus decides to kill Rory instead and use him to pass the test. It’s not clear how premeditated this is, it might just be because Rory called Marcus a ‘pretty boy’ which brings back a dark memory, or it could be Marcus finally accepting that the Assassin School is the only place he has left. Remender narrowed his focus for this issue, but at the same time, the scope of things has gotten bigger.
This is just a brilliant book, and Wes Craig’s art is a huge part of that, every page looks fantastic, and I love the massive number of panels used. Lee Loughridge’s colours are also excellent again. The look of this book is hugely important, given that it’s about various ‘cool’ teenagers, and Craig and Loughridge convey that expertly. This book looks unique, it looks like rebellion.
Oh yeah, and that guy with the burnt face is getting closer and closer to Marcus, he spells trouble.