cover image Deadly Class Vol. 1: Reagan Youth

Deadly Class Vol. 1: Reagan Youth

Rick Remender and Wes Craig. Image, $9.99 ISBN 978-1-63215-003-5

Built on the comic book trope of a secret school for gifted youngsters à la X-Men, and mixing in John Hughes’ high school clique clichés, Remender’s self-described “memoir of sorts wrapped in the guise of a crime thriller” ends up not being much of either. The year is 1987, and young Marcus Lopez Arguello is homeless and suicidal following the death of his parents. The cops are chasing him for a mysterious crime, but he’s rescued at the last minute by a one-man-army-of-a-teen-girl cliché who recruits him to a secret high school that trains assassins. At first, the book to explores the society and intrigue of the school, but this is abandoned for more gratuitous thrills, soon moving to the depressing murder of a homeless man for a homework assignment, then sidetracking into a pointless drug-fueled murder trip to Las Vegas. Craig’s appealing artwork is decompressed and crisp, and aided by Lee Loughridge’s European-style color palette. Remender (Black Science) attempts commentary on the Reagan era, but ends up absorbing the decade’s cynicism with a callousness that offers solace neither to his characters nor to his readers. (Aug.)