Title: Deadly Class.
Universe: Reagan Youth.
Writer(s): Rick Remender.
Artist(s): Wes Craig.
Colourist(s): Lee Loughridge.
Letterer(s): Rus Wooton.
Publisher: Image Comics.
Release Date: July 16th, 2014.
Genre(s): Comic Book, Thriller.
My Overall Rating:
Once an outcast, the world tilts on its axis and shows them an angle of life that is rarely understood by many. Isolated and vulnerable, one must delve deep into themself to figure out the society in which one resides. While fitting in was never one’s way of life, one has to focus on themself and figure out what actions assure their safety within society. Once one understands the social norms of their environment, once one sees a way out, one’ll find ways to crawl up the social ladder, to become someone, especially when one’s life is on the line. Collecting the first six issues, writer Rick Remender (Black Science, Low) teams up with artist Wes Craig (The Gravediggers Union) to explore the violence and wildlife of the 1980s perceived and confronted by the youth of the time.
What is Deadly Class (Vol. 1): Reagan Youth about? In 1987, teenage orphan Marcus Lopez Arguello lives in the streets amidst other homeless people. He aspires to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, who he blames for the death of his parents, and for the life he’s been living. On the run after a terrifying incident he orchestrated, he is found and invited by Master Lin to seek refuge at Kings Dominion, a school for the next generation of highly murderous assassins. Alone to fend for himself, identified by the lowest of ranks, he is greeted and threatened by his comrades, all from various backgrounds, whether they come from ancient leagues of assassins or children of Stalin’s top assassins. With life presenting him with a second chance, the question remains: can Marcus survive and grow in such an environment?
“Happiness is just the absence of pain. It’s the best I can hope for.”— Rick Remender
There’s a lot going for this comic book series and it starts with its enticing little microcosm of ruthless characters created within a familiar world often perceived negatively through the eyes of rebellious teenagers. By bringing to life an underground school of assassins, and recreating inevitable cliques and power struggles, mirroring those found in the real world, creator Rick Remender offers unimaginable opportunities for unpunished violence as a cathartic therapy session or utilitarian power trip for his characters. Channeling exponentially-amplified teenage angst into his diverse cast, he also builds an immersive and crazy world of youngsters dealing with violence and mayhem in their own way, whilst desperately working through their own individual plights born from adult expectations and their own quest for independence and individual success. Through this grim and depressive underbelly of an unforgiving world, with a bit of romantic drama to spice things up, readers will plunge into the wild, free, and young lives of numerous teens with an unhealthy dose of philosophy, violence, and betrayal to keep it all interesting and afloat.
To further complement the daring imagination of the story is the wonderful artwork. The style makes for a very expressive and dynamic visual experience, often and clearly conveying emotions with a strong impact. It can also sometimes feel rough and unfinished yet complete and informative for the reader. Lee Loughridge’s colours also complement the story and artwork magnificently. In fact, it conveys the punk-aggressivity of the world without distracting readers from the original penciling. With monochromatic effects used strategically throughout the volume, changing from page to page, it somehow also brilliantly captures the tone, and when necessary, becomes hectic and frenetic once drugs and violence are involved. Through the artwork, the story finds its identity and simply keeps you going, craving for more of this alluring and conflictual world brimming with drama and violence.
Deadly Class (Vol. 1): Reagan Youth is a riveting and rampant coming-of-age story centered around young adults enlisted at the Kings Dominion School for the Deadly Arts.