I haven’t reviewed an issue of Deadly Class, a comic about a training ground for teenage assassins set in 1987, but it is one of the most unhinged, frenetic, visceral, unapologetically twisted comics around. It’s the Wizarding World for those who need a little more anarchy and chaos in their lives. It certainly doesn’t take four novels before a single character meets their demise. It is a pure adrenaline rush of joy and anxiety brought on by hypertension and violence. We have Rick Remender (writer) and Wesley Craig (artist) through Image Comics to thank for this perverse, character-driven, action extravaganza.
Now, we have the Russo Brothers (the Marvel Cinematic maestros who just laid waste to half the Marvel Universe), Rick Remender, Miles Orion Feldsott, and a crew of really great filmmakers through the SYFY Network to thank for bringing this series to energetic cinematic life.
Set in 1987, it follows Marcus Lopez (Benjamin Wadsworth), a teenager who is the living epitome of “dealt a bad hand in life.” Recently left homeless after burning down the orphanage he was living in, his is the number one most wanted name on the trigger fingers of police across the city, because other people also died in that same fire. Now, he scours every nook and crannie of the city simply to survive. That is until a band of teenage assassin trainees are sent to bring him in to meet the enigmatic Mr. Lin (Benedict Wong) who is the head of this elite training ground.
If you haven’t read the comic and this will be your first sojourn into the world of Deadly Class, I’ll save you the details, if only to say: If Marcus thought living on the streets was dangerous…
The multi-ethnic cast is wonderful, with each actor capturing the personalities of their comic book counterparts in a very grounded way. The writing is incredibly smart and character driven, just like the series. The direction, look, and feel of the first episode is top notch. Being a fan of the punk rock, counter culture, politically rebellious comic book, I couldn’t have been more pleased.
This first episode introduces this world and gives agency to its hero. I hope you find some agency in yourself to give this first episode a shot. It’s free on the SYFY website and on Amazon.