Layers Upon Layers Of Story Unfold In Deadly Class #39

by James Ferguson

Marcus and Maria have returned to Kings Dominion and have instantly risen to the top of the ranks of the student body, both in grades and in popularity. This has angered Shabnam and the rest of the Student Body Council, who are looking for a way to get rid of this problem once and for all. Public and private alliances are made as everyone conspires to stay on top.

Deadly Class #39 is a lesson in mystery and intrigue. Writer Rick Remender touches upon just about every character, giving us a brief look as to what’s going through their minds. The kicker is that what we see might not be what they’re really thinking. Everyone is working an angle. This keeps you on your toes as you read through the issue, wondering what allegiances lie and who might stab someone in the back next.
The sheer amount of plot threads in this issue is impressive. We get an insane amount of story here that furthers not just the overall narrative, but each individual arc for the characters. Sometimes this is done in a long scene that shows someone’s true colors. Other times it’s a brief encounter that speaks volumes.

Artist Wes Craig brings all of this to life in an incredible fashion. I am always amazed by his artwork and how dynamic each and every page is. Craig has a talent for action, pacing scenes carefully to draw you in. This steadily raises the tension, creating a coiled spring effect that’s ready to pop at just the right time.
A great example of this is a scene in the cafeteria as the Student Council put a plan in place to eliminate Marcus. You can see the players moving into position as the attack is prepared. As we get closer to the event, the panels get smaller, with each one focused on a close detail. There are more and more panels on the page, giving the sense of rapid movement before we build to the big blow. This is top notch art direction.

These kids might be at a school for assassins, but at the end of the day, it’s still a school. Colorist Jordan Boyd roots Deadly Class in normalcy at times, such as the bright glow of a projector or the florescent lighting of a cafeteria. When the action picks up, the colors brighten to coincide with the intensity.
As intriguing as all of this is, I will admit that Marcus is starting to wear on me. His thoughts and speech are often shrouded in cheap philosophy and depression. Granted, he’s been through quite a lot in his short life so he has a fair amount to complain about. It can just be a bit much when you go from a great action sequence like the one mentioned above to a deep introspective scene. Remender addresses this a bit in the letters page, pointing out that Marcus’ nihilistic attitude is a reflection of the times he’s living in. You’d think with all that text, it would be a slog to sift through, but letterer Rus Wooton keeps things spread out in such a way that it never feels overwhelming.

Deadly Class is filled to the brim with awesome storytelling and perhaps the best artwork on the stands today. It’s a dynamic tale full of twists and turns that never disappoints. Every moment is earned, not just because of how long we’ve spent with these characters, but in how each scene is built up to hit a crescendo of emotion. This book is nothing short of fantastic.
Deadly Class #39 from Image Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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