Sunday, 14 June 2015

Deadly Class, Volume 2: Kids of the Black Hole Review (Rick Remender, Wes Craig)

Veerry minor spoilers ahead but sometimes if you don't say it, some baby will throw their toys out of the pram... 

Marcus and his friends are back at Kings Dominion after their bonkers Vegas road trip but a villain from his past has reappeared with only vengeance in mind. As Saya tracks down the whereabouts of Fuckface, Marcus and Maria’s relationship hits the rocks - who knew training to be an assassin could be so melodramatic? 

Rick Remender and Wes Craig’s Deadly Class continues to be a lot of fun in Volume 2: Kids of the Black Hole. Like most second volumes, Remender spends some time looking into the pasts of the characters. Marcus’ time in an orphanage/sweatshop is nightmarishly recounted, seamlessly tying into his current dilemma with Fuckface - and, by the way, what kinda name is Fuckface?! Is Remender channelling Mark Millar?! 

We also see Maria’s horrible childhood at the mercy of gangsters who look like they’re going to play a larger part in the ongoing series later on. I did wonder a bit about her reaction to what she did at the end of the last volume. I mean, she’s in a school for assassins, and she’s all torn up about killing someone - doesn’t that make her totally unsuited to this profession? I know the person she killed was someone she was once close to but still. 

Amidst all the darkness and extremely graphic violence, Remender does manage to once again convincingly capture the energy of youth in some scenes. The house parties are as lame and angsty as they usually are, the “cool kids” posing at one another in as louche a way as possible, and I loved the nightclub scene which gave me a new appreciation for slam dancing - it’s 1988 alright! 

Marcus does some douchey things in this book but he’s a teenager and you’re supposed to be a douche at that age! He does get his comeuppance though. He’s working part-time in a comics shop and, after waking up late with a hangover, he rushes over there, dealing with the crowds of eager comics fans looking to snap up some bargains in a big sale (why is Marcus working alone on a big sale day - shouldn’t there be at least two clerks around?). One kid hassles Marcus all day to draw him Spider-Man fighting Sabretooth and Marcus decides he’s going to fart on his face instead - and then the previous night’s excesses catch up with him and there’s an epic diarrhea scene in his pants (you could say Marcus has a deadly… ass! Thankyou, thankyou!). 

Wes Craig’s art is excellent and Lee Loughridge’s colours are subtle but effective. I really liked how the little bubble panels in the first chapter’s prologue drip downwards at the edge of the page, seguing into the double splash title page. It felt like reading a Bond opening! Maria’s assassin’s outfit is by far the best in the group and I’m hoping the others will start dressing more imaginatively when they’re in persona. 

Kids of the Black Hole is very dark, very violent, and, at times, very funny. The love triangle stuff is a bit overplayed and hackneyed, and the action finale wasn’t as gripping as a result, but, all things considered, Remender does a fine job balancing the various elements into an entertaining narrative. 

Deadly Class is the best thing Rick Remender’s producing at the moment - check it out!

Deadly Class, Volume 2: Kids of the Black Hole

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