What struck me most about Deadly Class #6 is that while this issue concludes Rick Remender and Wes Craig’s first arc of the series, it manages to feel very restrained while still delivering a climactic and satisfying ending. This installment consists almost entirely of dialogue between half a dozen characters in a filthy Vegas back alley, a strange but effective choice. A different writer’s first instinct might be to rush our teenage assassins-in-training into a finale with a little more pizazz, maybe a hit on a major world leader or a firefight with a SWAT team or something that ends with an explosion, but Remender shows restraint here.
By resisting the impulse to send this arc off with a bang, he shows us what’s most important to him and, ultimately, what is most important to the readers: the characters.
In this issue, almost everyone has to face their great fear. Quasi-pacifist Willie is put in a position where he might have to kill, Maria has to challenge the boy whose family saved her from a life of abject poverty, and Marcus, bloody, beaten, and higher than the International Space Station, has to face his imminent death. Even our villain, Chico, has to deal with the betrayal and insecurity. It’s seeing how all these characters deal with these various challenges and whether they succeed or fail in dealing with them that makes this issue such an enjoyable read.
Drugs and drug use have been running themes in these past few issues (as they have been in the most recent issue of Saga; is Image Comics trying to tell us something?), and while I don’t condone the use of drugs by underage kids in the real world, I absolutely encourage the use of drugs by underage kids in a story drawn by Wes Craig. Seeing the world through Marcus’ acid-addled perspective has been one of the high points of the series so far. Faces are malleable through our protagonist’s eyes, bending and stretching to fit the panel. Inanimate objects spring to life and speak with their own unique personalities, and a dive into a dumpster transforms into a Jamaican island paradise. Trippy.
Unfortunately Deadly Class #7 won’t come out until September, but if a three month hiatus is what it takes to continue this quality streak then the wait is bearable. Until then, I’ll be looking forward to the return of Remender’s Black Science, as well as his new series Low, both of which will hit shelves this month.