Deadly Class #41 Shows The Problems With Popularity

by James Ferguson

Marcus is getting used to his newfound popularity, but it’s driving a wedge between him and Maria. Saya’s return to the school isn’t helping matters. She’s thrown a monkey wrench into his plans. Will he leave his old friends behind to embrace the new and further success as an assassin apprentice?

Sometimes I have to remind myself that Deadly Class stars a bunch of teenagers. They’ve all been through a lifetime of experiences so far so they usually act like adults, albeit dysfunctional ones. This issue has a lot from Marcus’ journal and he’s rather verbose and depressing, as only a teenager can be. I noticed something similar during the Deadly Class Free Comic Book Day issue.
Having stuff like this pop up every so often isn’t bad, but when it’s a huge chunk of the comic, it can be a real drag. It all starts to run together at some point, lumped into one overall woe-is-me mentality. Writer Rick Remender does present an interesting character study in the midst of all this. Marcus was always the outcast, used to either being ignored or made fun of. Now he’s the popular kid, with other students fawning over him and he doesn’t know how to handle all this attention.

Letterer Rus Wooton does a great job containing this metric ton of inner narration and dialogue. While Marcus has all these deep thoughts, he also gets into heady conversations with some of the other students in the back half of Deadly Class #41. Wooton guides us through the artwork without taking anything away from the solid visuals.
The inner struggle within Marcus is shown very well during a late night meeting with him and Saya at a diner. They may be sitting across from each other, but they might as well be on different sides of the planet for the distance between them. It’s telling that he can barely look her in the eye during this whole exchange. Artist Wes Craig fills this with micro expressions that say so much.

This is where the real Marcus comes out a bit. He’s disgruntled and mad at the world. It’s a stark contrast to the smiling popular kid we see earlier in the issue. It’s like Marcus is trying so hard to put on this facade. There’s a great moment when he’s trying so hard not to look at Saya as she opens her locker and finds a rat inside. This is one of his closest friends and he can’t even glance her way.
Each scene in Deadly Class #41 has its own unique tone and color palette. It’s a nice way to transition from one location to another. Colorist Jordan Boyd gives you an idea of how each character is feeling based on the colors used. For example, the carnival at the end is warming with yellows and oranges cutting through the darkness of the night while the scene with Maria in the night club is full of blues and reds, creating a cooler, yet livelier atmosphere.

Deadly Class can shift from fast-paced action sequences to more somber, character-focused elements. We definitely get more of the latter in this issue. While it’s a little slower than usual, and certainly more text-heavy, it does add to the teen drama of the book. The screws are tightened as things get more and more tense.
Deadly Class #41 from Image Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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