The students of King’s Dominion School for the Deadly Arts get a moment to catch their breath as they prepare for the homecoming dance this week. That’s not to say that everything is calm and no violence is occurring. That’s still coming in spades. Tension builds between the Student Council and the new Freshmen class and through it all, two characters spend an evening together away from all the bloodshed.
What is apparent throughout every page of Deadly Class #29 from Image Comics is how broken all of these characters are. They’ve all witnessed horrible atrocities in their ascension through the school hierarchy. This shows in many different ways, whether it’s through bravado as Shabnam clings to his fleeting power, or through Petra being very much on the brink of suicide.
It’s Petra that really steals the show with this issue as she shares a very sweet evening outside of the school with metalhead, Helmut. He sees her in such pain that he takes her away from all this stress and drama. The two talk about music and burritos and barely touch upon the events at King’s Dominion. Their discussion about music, particularly how MTV took over metal and ruined it, and how it will come for goth next, can serve as a metaphor for what’s coming at the school. Of course, it could just be two teenagers arguing over their favorite bands, which writer Rick Remender scripts wonderfully.
These scenes highlight that, at the end of the day, they’re just teenagers. They have seen death up close and personal, but they’re still just kids. This is especially emphasized by Helmut’s idea for a perfect late night activity. No, it’s not what you’re thinking. It involves a slingshot and some frozen burritos.
This seemingly simple act of mischief is framed as an epic action scene by artist Wes Craig and colorist Jordan Boyd. The burrito is treated like a mortar shell, poised for the attack. Tension rises as the Tex-Mex projectile is aimed at its unsuspecting target. Craig’s artwork on the series is always full of energy, looking like it’s about to leap right off the page. That is definitely the case here.
Boyd’s colors frame the evening setting well, moving from pure black in the dead of night to a purple, then a blue shade. It shows just how long the pair have been out and about, appearing to becomer more calm and more comfortable as the night goes on. The issue ends in a gorgeous full page spread that is without a doubt worthy of a print. I know I’d love to see it on my wall.
Deadly Class #29 offers an evening of brevity along with the normal life-and-death antics associated with King’s Dominion. It’s refreshing to see two characters find solace in one another. There are still a fair share of terse confrontation between a number of the students, however. The one between Viktor and Quan stands out as an absolutely diabolical meeting, framed perfectly by Wes Craig.
This issue serves as a reminder that these are real people. They’re not super heroes. They have no special abilities. Although they’re pushed to the breaking point and they’re capable of ending a man’s life, they’re just trying to get through the world like all of us.