As with most serialized stories that have gone on for years, the protagonists eventually return home — which is exactly what happens in this issue. Marcus, Maria, and their cohorts are tired of running and have returned to King’s Dominion to take revenge on Shabnam and the lot.
While it’s all setup for an oncoming war, Remender and Craig don’t slack off. The creators don’t rush Marcus’ return and let us settle back into the lethal school ecosystem. Marcus is seen as a renegade hero by all the cliques, but his sour outlook allows him to see through the, as he calls it, “pageantry.”
As for the art, Craig’s panel layouts and compositions continue to be stunningly effective. Always one to play around with comic cinematography, Craig literally flips the world as Marcus reenters King’s Dominion and ascends a stairwell with Master Lin. What other artist would go to such lengths for a dialogue-centered issue? Yet another example of the benefits indie books allow. Let me clarify: I’m not saying Big Two books don’t have innovation, but it’s harder for artists and writers to push boundaries when they’re working on five properties simultaneously.
It’s especially refreshing to see Craig’s expansive style after the TV adaptation which casts King’s Dominion as a dingy, claustrophobic high school. In contrast, Craig and the colorist Jordan Boyd make you excited to be back in evil Hogwarts and infuse it with a sense of sinister scale.
Functioning now more as an ensemble piece, Deadly Class’s cast is penned with Remender’s trademark ferocity. A core concept of the book is to take stereotypes and give them depth, and at this point, it’s thrilling to witness the cast firing on all cylinders. Master Lin continues to be twistedly deceptive, Shabnam is foaming at the mouth, and (as mentioned before) Marcus is a smarter emo. I will admit Maria’s characterization is a tad lax here (and in general for these past trades).
There are several new students that are already intriguing despite only showing up for a few panels, like Jayla (a sultry African American girl) and Sam (a goofy Australian roommate).