By Rick Remender, Wes Craig, and Jordan Boyd
Deadly Class finally returns after the game-changing #26. Unfortunately, this issue doesn’t pick up right where that particular subplot left off, although it does return to Saya’s journey. Saya, after being betrayed, is now under her vengeful brother’s tender love and care. While unconscious, this title’s creative team takes readers through a flashback, chronicling a key turning point in the young assassin’s life, a time when she became estranged from her family.
Rick Remender finally gives the audience more color to fill in the complicated picture of Saya Kuroki. She truly becomes a standout character in this series, and it a logical hope is more knowledge about this katana-wielding badass. Of course, Remender doesn’t disappoint: he presents a young Saya, though not exactly different one, as expected from a flashback. She’s still a very emotional character, trying to prove herself to her personal world, and find a place within her family. As this series painfully shows time and again, tragedy only follows when a character starts to come into their own, or stand out. It’s an achingly beautiful story about family and legacy that can be relatable, perhaps not to the heightened level presented in the comic, but certainly on basic terms. It also continues to expand the world of Deadly Class and introduces new, dangerous players. This creative team has done an incredible amount of world-building around King’s Dominion School for the Deadly Arts, and never seem satisfied with what they establish. So they challenge themselves and the story itself to go down normally untraveled dark alleys. Who can ask for more from comic creators?
Wes Craig and Jordan Boyd continue their superb work on this book. This issue, like so many before, has such variation in panel layouts from page to page. It’s utterly refreshing to have an artist challenge his/her visual presentation. How Craig brings such detail to tiny panels is beyond my comprehension, but he makes maximum use of the page, which is greatly appreciated. In this issue, in particular, facial expressions and body language are important to deliver on the emotional and dramatic importance of the flashback, and Wes Craig imbues his characters with purpose and vitality, and delivers the full impact of Remender’s writing. Boyd’s use of color on Deadly Class is another cornerstone of its genius. Readers should pay close attention to how he switches from warm to cool colors and gives the pages distinction. It’s a great study on color theory!
This Image title continues to be in a thrilling, macabre class all its own. The creative teams keeps readers on their toes not with cheap thrills and scares, but with real character development and stakes of self. It continues to be a powerful coming of age tale; a real vicious slice of life. Pick up the trades if you aren’t current, because you definitely don’t want to jump in on this issue. This series is a must for everyone’s pull list.