Deadly Class Vol. 1: Reagan Youth
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Wesley Craig, Lee Loughridge
Marcus Lopez Arguello is in the streets of San Francisco, living as a homeless and trying to avoid being caught by the cops. A native of Nicaragua, his family left after involvement with the Sandinistas and the US Government. After a couple happy years in America, his family is dead, and Marcus shows a deep hatred towards Ronald Reagan, mostly for cutting funding to medical facilities, which had a very negative effect on his family, and he is on the run. He is almost caught by the police, and while he is running away, he is aided by several other teenagers, who encounter him alongside an old man. This old man is known as Master Lin, and he runs a school for training assassins and the next line of crime syndicates, Kings Dominion School for the Deadly Arts, a more murderous version of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, although I doubt it doesn’t contain a similar amount of emotionally drained and moralistic-for-odd-reasons people. Marcus decides to join after understanding that if he is to survive, he must get off of the streets, and to the school he goes.
After his first day, he has managed to piss off quite a few people, including the son of Stalin’s top assassin, and the daughter of a Neo-Nazi hitman. But he finds his place with the same group of misfits that rescued him, with some other reviewers comparing them to The Breakfast Club gang, but with more murder in mind rather than a philosophical discovery of who they are and all that. But the book is not simply a story of some kids training to kill others, it is a tale of kids being trained to change the world in a positive way, if it ought to be through a bullet, then so be it. It takes itself seriously when it comes to mental health, what it is like to be drafted into something you never wanted for yourself, trying to get out of the life even if you have been raised in it, being hunted down by a a disfigured weirdo that likes to have sex with animals, amidst a backdrop of teen love, the political unrest that led them here, and the late 80’s underground.
What surprised me about this comic, is that I never actually expected Marcus to be considered for this place. We are not told a lot about his background, since all people belonging to this school have a history of crime, whether it be as a family business, or affiliation, while Marcus does not show a definitive one, although due to a small scene when he opens his locker, I am not unaware we will get a more in depth view on why and how he is considered to be among all of these people. Either way, I will now adopt him as my smol son.
“Civility is just lying to people about your true feelings. Hiding for personal gain.
Popular people, well, they’re just the best liars.”
The art is not the most beautiful, it uses a lot of pale tones that allow to see more of the dark themes of the story but that don’t radiate astonishing, wall-worthy art. However, this style of art and colour, matches the decade the story is set in wonderfully, demonstrating a grungy feel that made me want to listen to Nirvana in a dark room. There is also the detail that certain panels and issues focus on a different colour, which adds a lot of intrigue as to why they are being used.
I will continue to buy the trade paperbacks for this series, luckily, there is only three out, with a fourth one coming soon, so it is not a lot I have to catch up on. The tale of all these kids might just be one of the strongest titles Image is publishing out there, and Image always publishes the strongest comic titles in the industry.
The school was built by Asians, and this girl says things like this, I am surprised the entire school has not turned on against all the white supremacists. And this shows a lot of the conflict within the school I am hoping to get a bigger glimpse of in later volumes.