Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Wes Craig
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Deadly Class has traveled from 1987 to the present day. Rick Remender has leveraged the occasion to speak on a variety of global topics, as well as a few clearly personal experiences. However, the penultimate issue does not lose sight of the moment, delivering one of the most gut wrenching, tragic sequences of the series to this point.
The issue is split into two sections: the first is a protracted conversation between Marcus and Maria revolving around optimism, nihilism, and how art navigates the two. The latter half of the issue follows Saya in a story that would suggest Remender, at least for now, firmly sides with Marcus’ take on the matter.
Describing the ending of his in-universe sci-fi story, “Lone Star” –an analogue for Deadly Class, and perhaps Paranoia Agent– Marcus says, “I’m going to end the last book with the death of Lone Star … right after he gets married and finally finds happiness. He dies senselessly. At the hands of an old enemy.” Remender seems to be telling readers exactly what to expect next month. If so, is this a bold narrative choice? Is it laudably true to life? Or is more death and misery, perhaps, predictably bleak? Needlessly myopic, in terms of what such a depressing conclusion might mean for future rereads of a book already marked by so many harrowing demises?
But Maria offers a counterpoint: “Your podium gives you a responsibility. But you’re using it to spread cynicism.” She tries to illuminate the beauty around them. Remender is at least aware of this perspective on the impact and power of story. And he doesn’t seem condescending or patronizing in his presentation of Maria’s outlook. As the two embrace their family (!!), readers are left wondering if Remender has put together something so precious, only to break it apart.
Saya’s life, meanwhile, reads as clinical. Devoid of meaning and perpetually plagued by death. Wes Craig’s art is light and dreamy in Hawaii, but truly shines in the violent reds and deep blues of Saya’s life in the Tokyo underworld. Of course, colorist Lee Loughridge deserves a great deal of credit in that respect.
We learn that since foregoing Marcus’ offer at a new life, Saya has taken to spreading her suffering as a mass dealer of narcotics laced with fentanyl. She’s haunted by her past, but resolute in her present. “We all made our decisions.” Saya’s words ricochet off her skull as she sinks to the depths of the broken life she’s made for herself, culminating in an iconic series of Deadly Class pages.
So, Remender has shown us how Marcus would end Deadly Class. Will he author #56 as well, or will Maria have a say in how Remender uses his podium?
Deadly Class #55
- Marcus and Maria’s relationship
- Craig and Loughridge's artwork
- Maria and Saya haven't spoken in too long
- Remender foreshadows a bleak series end