By Rick Remender, Wes Craig and Lee Loughridge
After a very heavy chapter, last issue rebounded with a very different chapter. Marcus was broken out of solitary and took a road trip with some of his other classmates to Las Vegas. Trying to prove himself, Marcus takes a whole lot of acid with devastating effects. This issue, readers continue to fill in the gaps between the hotel room and the interrogation. Issue five of Deadly Class is a great blend of fun and heaviness and Remender and Craig balance the story well.
Marcus has been shut in the room with Billy while the rest of the group head down to the casino. They have taken the room next to Billy’s father, and he leaves to go check on his dad. Marcus follows soon after and the coloring shifts to a reddish hue while the boys wrestle with the man. The action settles with an unnerving panel. Craig’s visuals, complimented by Lee Loughridge’s coloring, make for a perfect culmination and the image is rather unsettling.
The boys realize they are locked out and must head downstairs to find the crew amongst all of the people and bright lights, something Marcus is clearly not equipped to handle in his current state. It is here that the story catches up to where the 4th issue began and the issue only gets more intense from there. From the moment that Marcus is picked up to the end of the issue the tension and momentum is a constant rise. As the fifth chapter cuts to black, it comes at another very heavy moment for the book and it leaves readers in a very interesting place with what is to come.
Remender continues to write this book with such honesty. The fourth chapter focused a bit more on the events of the road trip, but in issue 5 readers see it return in a very heavy way. From one of the first scenes, Marcus is audibly apologetic and fearsome of his parents. He continues to worry about how they will react to what he has become. Billy points out that Marcus’ parents are dead, which took place in issue one. The realization of that and seeing Marcus continue to have these thoughts throughout the issue makes for some heavy scenarios. Remender’s script and writing through much of this issue, finding Marcus muttering his distorted thoughts as well as the overall plot, make this one of the best issues so far.
In addition to great writing, the art is even stronger in this issue. Moving from sequences of cold, calm realism to the very violent to the very trippy, Craig and Loughridge are a fantastic match. The chase scene towards the end of the issue is incredibly anxiety inducing. While the writing seems more focused on an existential reflection, the gravity and immediacy of the threat is all communicated through the art. All told, this is a fantastic issue.