Isn’t it great when a line of dialogue in a piece of media just perfectly describes itself? For Exhibit A, I present this choice line from Deadly Class‘s protagonist Marcus: “This is so much bullsh*t! I’m just, uh—it’s so insane, I can’t even believe it’s happening.”
Calling this series BS is cruel hyperbole, I know, but I agree with Marcus’s overall frustration at the unfolding events around him.
To recap, the King’s Dominion kids were partying forever at a log cabin when suddenly a hippie/Manson-esque/sex cult attacked. Helmut, still angry at Marcus, has tied him to a rock with the implied intent of killing him. And — well, I won’t get into spoilers — but in traditional Deadly Class fashion, characters start maiming and killing each other out of nowhere.
A theme that’s baked into this series is one of morality, especially in regards to the ethics of killing. And attempts to deal with ethics have been messy. Remender has had Marcus say at several points, including this issue, that he won’t kill fellow students no matter their wrongs toward him. This is a moral choice that most of us would agree with (comfortably in our arm-chairs, but regardless).
But the ethics of pacifism go straight out the window whenever there are hordes of “bad guys” to mow through. Even more complicated is the idea that any moral grandstanding is faulty because of Remender’s and our own bloodlust. We don’t read Deadly Class for its moral teaching. In large part, we’re here for the action — the violence, the murder, the maiming. You know, the stuff we just agreed was…bad.
All that to say, issue #44 is another example of the morality Marcus and Remender espouses not holding up to scrutiny, despite #44 being possibly self-critical in its final moments (although it’s not set up very well).
As for the art, yes, Wes Craig is one of the best artists around these days, but this isn’t his best work. However, and I’m sure I’ve said this many times at this point, even Craig’s “poorer” work blows many others out of the water. That being said, let me be nit-picky. Despite this being an issue filled with action, the presentation is fairly standard, with a reliance on big panels, uncomplicated angles/compositions, and minimal background work.
Overall, Deadly Class is as tumultuous as ever. For every clever or exciting moment, there’s an unmotivated action to get in the way. At the very least, you can’t say the series is boring.