by Rick Remender, Wes Craig & Lee Loughridge
The last issue of Deadly Class was a really interesting piece of character exploration with some heavy themes and a very blunt ending. The issue struck a chord and cemented the new series as one that had a lot more to say than what readers might have imagined from its short premise. It ended with a quiet scene that produced a very strange and off-putting sensation. This issue, Remender and Craig explore the other side of the coin with a drug-induced road trip to Las Vegas.
The story opens with Marcus sitting in the police station trying to recall what it was that happened. With the events of last issue likely the cause, readers have to wonder how it is that he found himself there. The design of these pages was different from how the story has looked in previous issues. A good bit of the issue’s language is handled by narration which is separated from the panels. What this creates is a large portion of white space on those pages, letting the panels float a bit. Quickly it becomes clear that we are some time away from the actions of last issue, and since then Marcus has gone on some bender and he cannot recall exactly what has happened.
As Marcus reorients himself, readers are brought up to speed through a flashback of what has happened since last issue. The tone of this issue is incredibly different from what the series has put in place so far, and it makes for an interesting departure. Not only does the panel work in the beginning take a different form, but the art and story are much more colorful in issue three. Readers find out that solitary confinement, as a punishment, is not as bad as it would seem. Marcus is rescued by some of the other kids and they make their way to Las Vegas. There is a lot that happens in the issue, but no resolution is provided. Despite starting with the consequences, by the end of the issue, the story has not caught up yet.
Deadly Class #4 is unexpectedly fun. There are some excellent moments for the art including a very fun Where’s Waldo type of page as the characters enter the grounds of a Grateful Dead show. Later, when a drug trip goes bad, Craig and Lee Loughridge get to have a bit of fun with the world. While some artists may get carried away in playing with reality, the two find a good balance that showcases the distortion that Marcus is experiencing without losing track of the plot. The result makes for some gorgeous pages that still move the story forward. Loughridge continues to use hues to communicate much about the setting and mood, shifting between muted colors, blues and vibrant oranges.
The latest issue of Deadly Class is definitely a unique one, and with a big gap between where it starts and where it finishes still existing, this is going to carry over at least another issue. As a result, the book feels a little disappointing only in that readers are going to wish they had more of a complete tale. Instead, they will have to wait to see how it all comes together. Remender doesn’t disappoint though, not only providing some fun sequences, but closing with a very interesting tease. Not the best issue so far, Deadly Class #4 is still a solid book with fantastic art and possibly the best cover of the run so far.