It seems like every week there is some new first issue hitting the stands that begs to be read. How can a reader know when something is worth spending their hard earned money on and when they should just pass? Usually, I look at three things: title, cover, writer.
Deadly Class #1 from Image Comics was not a hard sell for me at all. Rick Remender is one of my favorite writers in comics. I have really enjoyed his run on Uncanny Avengers at Marvel Comics and Black Science from Image is another great book that shows that Remender has some fresh ideas and a great way of telling a story. For me, I was able to look at Deadly Class #1 and know that I wanted to at least try the book.
To break down the main cover, what is pictured here? We have a bunch of kids dressed in 1980’s attire lounging around. Another important aspect of this cover is the skeleton underground that each person, or student since it has class in the title, is standing or sitting on. This could mean that each student has secrets, like buried skeletons, or that the students are killers. The diversity of the students marks this as an interesting story, as long as it is well written. Pulling in multiple cultures and lifestyles, especially with a setting like Los Angeles in 1987, will allow for a wide range of stories and characters to develop.
All the speculation and analysis aside, the real question you are all asking is “What is the comic about?!?” This first issue is focused on Marcus, a boy who is homeless and living under a bridge in L.A. Not a great life for a fourteen year old kid. His parents were killed in a freak accident when a former mental patient decides to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge… and lands right on his parents. Talk about a shocker. This lands Marcus, as a ward of the state, in Sunset Boys Home. Something bad happened here, only alluded to, but it was bad and may be the reason that the cops seem to be hot after Marcus when they meet up with him later.
I see your quizzical look. Is that all this book is? Just a story about some homeless kid running from the cops? Where’s the fun in that?
Marcus is pulled into another world before this first issue ends. He is offered entrance to a special school – Kings Dominion School of the Deadly arts. An underground school, literally, that will teach Marcus to be an assassin. Just a few rules. No sex. No drugs. No disobedience. No unsanctioned killing. Easy enough, right? Time will tell.
I like this story because it has a little bit of a Wanted feel to it. A boy who feels invisible is drawn into a world that values his talents and shows him that he can be more. The addition of other students and the relationships and conflicts between them can make this much more than just some stupid Avenger’s Arena or Runaways type book. Wes Craig has a great sense of simplicity and can still put in the detail even with a minimal use of color in a lot of frames. I will keep getting this and see where the ride takes me.
If you picked up Deadly Class #1 this week, please comment and let me know what you thought.
My Rating: 5/5