Comic Review: Deadly Class

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Deadly Class by Rick Remender

5/5 stars

Deadly Class is packed with so much content that I love. It’s set in the late 80s and follows our main character Marcus Lopez during his entrance into King’s Dominion School for the Deadly Arts. I’m a sucker for the time period and the conventions of the high school setting. Anytime I can get a montage of a veteran at a school giving the new kid a break-down of the various cliques and VIPs, I’m in. The fun twist to the genre here is that King’s Dominion is a school that selects and trains the next generation of assassins. The groups here are mostly determined by the student’s family ties–we have “the preps,” rich children of CIA/FBI agents and another group, “sotos vatos,” hail from various cartel families. Marcus is immediately drawn to a group of misfits and the story is off and running.

I read through Volume One in a day. The action (pretty graphic stuff) takes off quickly and the character development is really done well. Lots of threads have been started in this first installment–Marcus’ mental health issues, a self-proclaimed “mortal enemy,” and even the very beginnings of a romance. Think Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters/Mean Girls school setting meets kickass action story and throw in a lot of darkness and moral ambiguity. I’m a big fan of Remender’s Black Science and despite several people recommending Deadly Class to me, I’m just jumping in now and I’d encourage any of you to check it out!

Book Review: Ms. Marvel — No Normal

I took a break from reading from my list today and spent a few hours in my local library. I couldn’t help but pick up the Ms. Marvel series.

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Ms. Marvel written by G. Willow Wilson, drawn by: Adrian Alphona

5/5 stars

No regrets. I am in love with Kamala Khan, the new Ms. Marvel and protagonist of this comic. It only took me reading the first two pages to know that I was a goner. Quickly, we learn that Kamala and her family are Muslim. Kamala exists in a weird space; she is an American teenager, a nerdy fan girl who wrote a freakin’ Avengers fanfic, but her peers see her family and her skin and her “strange” food rules and they mark her as other.

The fact that Kamala is an outsider to both her Pakistani family and her American peers makes her crave normalcy. So when Captain Marvel seemingly grants Kamala what she wants, to be able to look like whomever Kamala desires, it’s perfect symbol of Kamala’s desires and the issues that go with them. First, she appears as a blonde, white attractive copy of Captain America. Spoiler: But by the end we have our brown skinned Muslim superhero.

Kamala’s father is a really great, nuanced character. He is Muslim but not as strictly religious as his own son. He doesn’t like that his son’s religion gets in the way of him being productive and finding a job. At the same time, he is really controlling of Kamala and does not allow her much freedom because she is a girl. He tells Kamala that she is “perfect just the way she is” but this rings false because he is so preoccupied with maintaining her chastity that he can’t possibly see her as a person.

I have an other hour off of work right now and I’m gonna power through the next installment. I will post a review by Wednesday of the remaining three. This installment got me really excited about Ms. Marvel and I can’t wait to see what happens next.