The FINAL arc of Deadly Class continues as this over-the-hill comic charts Marcus and Saya executing a plan to finally kill her evil yakuza brother, Kenji.
A question going into ‘Fond Farewell’ loomed large: how could Remender, Craig, Loughridge, and company top what could very well be the series high of ‘Save Your Generation’? The previous arc wowed with climactic battles, aggressive time hopping, and Craig/Loughridge going, essentially, full-force with their frenetic art. Their work on the previous arc is so deliriously coked-up, many pages are blobs of angry, impressionistic modern art.
In response, Remender, Craig, and Loughridge scale things down just a touch for ‘Fond Farewell.’ More intimate and focused, the creators hone in on the dynamic duo we’ve been following and rooting for this whole time: Marcus and Saya.
I’ve always had a problem with the messy morality of the series, but the themes don’t come across like empty, easy moralizing here. It’s more simple: Marcus is trying to save Saya from herself. And if he can do that, maybe he can rescue his own soul.
Sadly, the events of this issue are hard to concretely talk about without detailing spoilers. But like other notable storytellers of this era (rhythms with Wian Wohnson), the team of Deadly Class upend what we think we want. Our expectations are flipped over, subtly and with impact, until we realize the core underneath the bold exterior.
As previously mentioned, Craig and Loughridge don’t leap into the total artistic anarchy of the previous arc. On one hand, that’s unfortunate, because ‘Save Your Generation’ boasts the series’ best art to date. However, it’s forgivable because this issue isn’t really about action extravaganza.
Riffing on the post-grunge aesthetic of the 2000s with the likes of The Matrix, the color palette is more subdued. Grays and sickly David Fincher-esque greens are heavily implemented. However, at the emotional climax, backgrounds are dropped out, and in their place are pastel color backdrops that change every panel. It’s a subtle yet brilliant move that perfectly mirrors the internal emotions of Marcus as he ruminates.
But yes, there are action beats that have the iconic Deadly Class freneticism. Characters engaged in battle become little more than bloody silhouettes encompassed in blood red backgrounds. Craig utilizes his mastery of angles and fluid compositions to give order to chaos. Just about every emotion is experienced across the faces of the characters, and we totally buy it. Craig’s faces always seem chiseled out of rock, like statues, angular and harsh. But somehow he’s able to chisel out stunningly tender, compassionate expressions that are just as believable as his faces locked in rage.
For all the ups and down of this series, #50’s razor-sharp focus saddens me that the series is ending…but excited to see where it goes in its final issues.
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