Deadly Class Volume 7: Love Like Blood (2018)
Reprints Deadly Class #32-35
Deadly Class Volume 8: Never Go Back (2019)
Reprints Deadly Class #36-39, FCBD 2019 Deadly Class Killer Set
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Wes Craig & Jordan Boyd
In the same way, Book 2 started with all-out action and violence, so too does Volume 7. The new kids are in Mexico, having met up with Marcus and Maria. Saya’s brother has sent in his Yakuza. Viktor and the other kids from school have shown up to claim the trophy of killing Marcus. Things explode, and the book never seems to let up. Readers have been waiting for a rematch between Marcus and Viktor since Book 2’s first act, and Remender goes out of his way to subvert our expectations. I can honestly say I didn’t expect that moment to happen like it did, but it was very satisfying, and I think it will lead to more complex stories down the road.
Love Like Blood also continues the fantastic character development of the new freshmen. Remender uses the threat of violence and death to push characters to their extremes and explore the tension it creates in their relationships. Zenzele finally reveals her backstory, the killings that lead to her enrollment at King’s Dominion. It continues the theme of parents being the worst monsters in the story, pushing their children into participating in this hyperviolent world. Tosahwi and Zenzele grow closer, but as is always the case in this series, the people who want to kill them disrupt any meaningful growth in their relationship.
There are a lot of character arcs from the first arc of Book 2 that get wrapped up here, particularly the loose ends between Marcus and Petra. Because Marcus has been disconnected from the school for so long and left after only seeing a partial view of what happened, he’s oblivious to Petra’s role in the graduation ceremony. How Marcus and Petra wrap things up only serves to create a new future conflict with other characters and gives Marcus even more ambiguity about his status compared to his classmates.
Volume 8: Never Go Back has Remender returning to being inside Marcus’s head, and I don’t feel too great about that. I think the title flourished when we shifted focus to a diverse group of new freshmen, and Marcus was just one cast member in an ensemble. The promise of the last volume feels squandered here as the plot becomes a retread and reminder of the dynamics at King’s Dominion. We get an entire issue that serves as a summary of everything that has happened to Marcus up to this point, and it’s not very interesting.
There is an issue that takes us to Japan, where we catch up on Saya and follow Quan as he tries to make amends for betraying her. These sorts of spotlights are entertaining, and by the end of that chapter, I felt like I had a much better bead on who Quan is. Things feel like they are stalling for the res of Never Go Back. It’s just reactions from the other students that Marcus and Maria have returned. The ones who don’t like them are angry, the ones who do are happy to see them. No real surprises. At most, I think Viktor gets some development he needed. Between his moments here and in Love Like Blood, he’s becoming a much more captivating player in the story than our protagonist.
I think Deadly Class is good enough, and I like Remender a lot, so look for an ongoing series of reviews for these smaller volumes as they come out. Volume 9 is set for next month, so I will make sure to read and review that in either June or July.