Deadly Class is a another brand new series from Image Comics, written by Rick Remender (Uncanny Avengers) with art by Wesley Craig (Batman).
We begin in a rundown estate covered with abandoned buildings. Afterwards we’re introduced to Marcus, who is living on the streets on his own at the age of 14. Writing in his journal, we get a direct look at what’s going on in his head through caption boxes showing us its contents. Despite everything that Marcus has been through including neglect, abandonment and depression, he still continues to fight, which is something that a lot of readers may be able to relate to. Whilst he is on the streets he gets the usual negativity you would expect, like someone handing him a newspaper implying that he needs to get a job. The problem is, of course, without a home he cannot get a job. As with many people who are brought up in a negative environment, he eventually turns to doing bad things in order to survive; such as stealing. You can see that it’s quite harsh on him, but he is doing what he has to in order to get by.
Deadly Class #1 is a surprisingly touching read. The first issue is more of an introduction to Marcus’ life and his upbringing, rather than throwing us in the deep end with a lot of new characters. The comic is set in 1987 and allows the creative team to have some fun with retro looking characters, it’s a small bonus but it adds an extra bit of fun to the comic. The time period doesn’t just inform the dress code though, it brings with it the political climate too. For example, Ronald Reagan cutting the funding to mental institutes is highlighted, which left a lot of mentally unstable people wandering the streets.
Although Marcus’ situation is horrible, he still manages to show that he’s a good person. It’s the little acts of kindness which he performs for other people which truly show his character. This is contrasted by the fact that immediately after, he goes and thinks about committing suicide. He believes that in a life when you have nothing left, there is nothing left to lose. Whilst thinking this, he realises that he needs something to fight for, and decides to go and find something to fight for.
The art is very bold, with thick lines and colours, especially with the more traumatic scenes taking place in purely red and black. This impacts the reader even more, as you can see the taint it has on his memories. The rest of the artwork is rather sketchy and there’s a lot of lines on everyone’s faces, but this aids in showing the intense emotions of all the characters. Even Marcus’ clothes look shabby and worn, there’s a great attention to detail.
In conclusion, this comic has definitely left an impression on me. After reading I am a lot less likely to walk past a homeless person and give them nothing than I was before reading this comic. I have experienced depression and had to find my own way to climb back out of it, so I can relate to it. Having something to hold onto and keep fighting towards does helps astronomically. It’s inspiring and relatable seeing someone have to carry on, regardless of the mistakes made in life and the upbringing they’re given. At its core Deadly Class #1 is about fighting to survive and a person’s right to live, it’s something I can definitely get behind and it makes for an incredibly engaging read.