Rick Remender’s writing in general is a mixed bag. While his many series are addictive with his penchant for robust characters and getting the best artists around, his scripts can be melodramatic and his plotting spotty, both elements which cripple this issue.
After the last balls-to-the-walls actionpalooza of the last arc where Marcus and his Dominion friends tried to survive in Mexico, we’re treated to a trippy tour through Marcus’s self-loathing mind in #36 — and boy does it get tiresome from the very get-go.
Remender loves to write characters grappling with anxiety and depression, and especially through miserable, misanthropic Marcus. Problem is, the main character’s monologues are unbearably oppressive in how juvenile they sound. I suppose it fits the character, but one gets the feeling Remender actually thinks these monologues are cool. Having an entire issue where it does nothing but tell us about Marcus’s dark mind is as bad as the Joker’s forehead tattoo in Suicide Squad that literally says “damaged.” We get it.
No new insights are revealed about Marcus or any other character. We merely cover the same emotional beats Remender has clobbered us with for years. Marcus hates himself and everybody else. I want to say it’s emo, but I feel like I’d insult people going through genuine emotional turbulence. That being said, Marcus’s vacant bemoaning isn’t that great of a representation.
Let’s not forget the gimmick of a bad drug trip dredging up Marcus’s inner demons has been used since the first volume. And just like all those other trips, it’s a parade of side characters stating their functionality and Ronald Reagan — which was clever when it first happened in 2015 and not so much after.
But this wouldn’t be Deadly Class without the always fantastic art from Wes Craig. The psychedelic story gives Craig an opportunity to show off a range of styles and layouts. Characters morph into snakes, black portals serve as panels, and at one point Craig switches to watercolors (by the far the most striking element of the issue).