"Deadly Class #12" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Rick Remender
Illustrated by Wes Craig
2015, 32 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on April 22nd, 2015
Marcus has found himself in some pretty crappy positions over the course of his short life. His current predicament just might take the cake. He and his friends just finished a rough fight with Fuckface and a group of rednecks that did not go well. Now he's standing in an alley next to his ex-girlfriend Maria (who's heart he recently broke after making out with Saya) as her adopted father, the mob boss known as El Alma Del Diablo, stands before them. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that Marcus is holding the severed head of said mob boss' son. Yeah, things could be better.
Writer Rick Remender has pulled no punches throughout Deadly Class, and this issue is no different. What follows is an absolutely brutal comic as Marcus and Maria attempt to escape from El Alma Del Diablo in the wake of the redneck battle. They're already exhausted and in bad shape, but now they literally have to run for their lives. Things get started quickly with a gruesome murder that hits you right in the gut. It's the kind of moment that makes your jaw hit the floor and begin reading the rest of the book at a frantic pace.
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What amplifies this tension a thousand fold is Wes Craig's artwork. His pencils always have this kinetic quality to them, as if they're moving on the page. You can feel that energy coming from every panel. Craig outdid himself with this issue. This is a thing of beauty. There is a particularly impressive scene right after a large explosion. One of the characters is rattled but still moving. What would have been one panel is broken up into eleven thin ones, alternating between darkness, a black-and-white version, and a normal version. It's a brilliant effect.
Not only did Craig draw his ass off with this comic, he also turned in an amazing cover. It's a great image that helps illustrate the turmoil between Marcus and Maria and the enemies nipping at their heels. The plain white background is a nice touch, allowing you to focus entirely on the characters and the no-win scenario they've found themselves in.
The sound effects are used to help illustrate the terror that Marcus and Maria go through as they run through the city. The rev of a motorcycle cuts through the page with a long “VVVVVV” making a row of panels appear as if they're within a gaping maw surrounded by jagged teeth. They're not just thrown in to provide a sound, they're part of the story. When you see a big and distorted “CRUNCH”, you wince at the pain the character is going through.
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Every time I thought this creative team has topped itself, I'd turn the page and get blown away again. This issue culminates in a battle worthy of a summer blockbuster. The big difference is that it's not filled with a thousand cuts, so you can really focus on what's going on and see every minute detail. Two opposing forces rush at each other with such intensity that you'll find yourself clenching your fists and gritting your teeth. I let out a literal gasp by the time I reached the end of the book. Then I remembered that I have to wait another month to find out what happens next.
Deadly Class is a fantastic comic. It's the kind of book that grabs you from the first page and never lets go. Remender and Craig are showing what comics are truly capable of as a storytelling medium. You can feel the energy and excitement coursing through every single panel. Everyone should be reading this book.