Title: Deadly Class Volume 1
Author: Rick Rememder
Genre: Graphic Novel, Crime, Assassins (if that’s a genre)
Page Count: 160
It’s 1987. Marcus Lopez hates school. His grades suck. The jocks are hassling his friends. He can’t focus in class. But the jocks are the children of Joseph Stalin’s top assassin, the teachers are members of an ancient league of assassins, the class he’s failing is “Dismemberment 101,” and his crush has a double-digit body count. Welcome to the most brutal high school on earth, where the world’s top crime families send the next generation of assassins to be trained. Murder is an art. Killing is a craft. At Kings Dominion School for the Deadly Arts, the dagger in your back isn’t always metaphorical.
This will be my first ever review for a graphic novel and I’m very excited to be talking about this one because I really enjoyed it.
What the synopsis doesn’t say about this book is that Marcus Lopez – our protagonist (antagonist?) – starts off as homeless. He’s a teenager and he lives on the streets, living a brutal existence of begging for food and rummaging through trash cans for his next meal. I felt for Marcus from the beginning and that stayed true throughout the book, even when he didn’t make the best decisions.
Marcus gets saved one day by a girl who then brings him to this school of assassins. He of course freaks out, not wanting to learn the art of murdering people. But he stays in the school and starts getting taught from the masters.
I really enjoyed this book and what made me want to read it was the promise of a school for assassins. I was a bit disappointed with this part because the school itself wasn’t explored as much as I would have liked. We were introduced to the classes themselves and then we got to follow Marcus as he tried to ace one of his class’s most brutal assignments, but I still felt like it could’ve been explored more.
I feel like the writers might’ve gotten sidetracked with the story-line that they developed outside of the school. Besides that I loved the aesthetics of this book because it’s darkly illustrated which I love. The drawing style fit perfectly with the story told and was pretty graphic at times. It’s definitely up there with The Walking Dead with how graphic it could be. The Walking Dead is still more graphic by a landslide, but that’s a hard one to beat.
The characters also all had their own unique style which I loved because that’s very important in a graphic novel.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Overall, I wish there was more focus on the school itself, but this was a solid read with great illustrations and it kept me engaged from beginning to end. I can’t wait to pick up Volume 2.