Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Wes Craig
Colorist: Lee Loughride
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Deadly Class #51 is an intricate vignette, a short story that says so much through what amounts to a single action piece. It’s also a call back to Deadly Class #26, one of many overt references to the series’ long, gory past.
As Marcus hacks his way through a villa of cartel minions, he converses with an unlikely ghost from Kings Dominion. However, the issue’s closing voice is, perhaps, even more peculiar, as writer Rick Remender seemingly takes the opportunity to speak directly on the sordid Marcus/Maria romance. “If only they could get out of their own way. Or through the circumstances separating them.”
The sequence of recent events may suggest that, like the earliest arcs of the book, Maria is Marcus’ second choice. But is that really the case, and was it ever? In the present, at least, an argument could be made that Marcus viewed Maria as unobtainable. She has virtually everything she’s been working for, plus a husband. He’s a contract killer, with a history of offing her boyfriends.
Marcus is desperate to run away and horrified by the thought of doing so alone, leading him to Saya. But when Maria personally hires him for a job of great, familial import, he takes his shot. Hundreds of them, actually.
Ultimately, the reunion between Marcus and Maria is both transactional and heart rending. “You chose this for yourself,” are Maria’s first words. “No matter how many opportunities you had to leave.” She’s too smart to not understand that she’s also talking about herself.
Marcus replies that he’s good at what he does, which Maria finds “sad.” The two proceed to tag-team an entire island base of drug soldiers. Wes Craig’s art truly shines throughout, with generous helpings of frenetic shootouts and wild Marcus battle poses: crouched low, head swinging this way and that, seeking the next target, the next attack to dodge.
“You came back for me,” Maria says at one point, echoing her “You came,” in #26. A promise is made at the conclusion of Deadly Class #51. It’s sweet. But unfortunately, it’s the type of vow that can rarely be upheld in the real world, let alone one controlled by the Deadly Class team.
In other words, this farewell as been a little too fond so far. Brace yourselves.
A Deadly Class love story for the ages.