It was announced in April that Syfy had ordered a first season of the television adaptation for Deadly Class. They have now published a first look at the series, including comments from executive producers Anthony and Joe Russo, best known for being the directors of Avengers: Infinity War. Based on the footage released so far, the series is shaping up to be one of the most exciting comic book adaptations coming to TV. That sense of excitement can only be heightened for fans of the original comics series who are familiar with the characters and plot twists to expect when it premieres.
Writer Rick Remender and artist Wes Craig, co-creators of Deadly Class, have been delivering some of the most violent and compelling issues at Image Comics since the series debuted in 2014. We have been big fans of the series for a very, very, very, very long time, and have sung its praises accordingly. That’s also why we’re confident in this adaptation. While the Deadly Class comics are near perfect in their own right, they also possess a lot of potential for other media. These are the eight big reasons why the series is ready to make the jump to TV, and blow even more minds outside of the world of comics.
The high school for assassins premise of Deadly Class sets itself up well for any ongoing form of storytelling. It is naturally divided into years with each new year providing a big final challenge and a new class of recruits. While it’s possible to imagine this working in a series of films, like some twisted version of Harry Potter, it functions even better as television. Each season functions as a new year at King’s Dominion that allows the cast to grow and change while they age into each new grade. The comic is currently in its second year, following the surviving original characters while introducing plenty of new ones with just as much potential. It has plenty of space to keep ahead of the series as well.
Any high school setting also offers an ample array of characters. In addition to the cliques of King’s Dominion, Deadly Class has dozens of named characters with their own unique personalities, motives, and styles. They each provide a unique perspective on the action of this world and give viewers plenty of characters to relate with. The core cast from the series’ first year only roughly resembles the current array of characters too, as deaths and freshman keep things interesting. There are plenty of characters and groups to grow the world of Deadly Class into a full season of television each year.
Television has brought some of the most engaging and memorable periods in history to life over the past decade. Whether it’s the suits and styles of 1960s America in Mad Men or the gear and uniforms of 19th Century explorers in The Terror, television offers ample opportunity for detailed recreation. Deadly Class embodies the look and mood of the late 1980s, and it will be fascinating to watch the show recreate this period. Music and fashion play key roles in the story, as does its setting in California during the Reagan administration. Children of the '80s may be shocked at how this heightened story embraces the reality of its period.
It feels particularly appropriate that Deadly Class is being adopted today, given its core themes and concepts. The comic interrogates ideals of trust, loyalty, and bravery, endlessly complicating them as the real world and terrible choices leave no right answers behind. Its focus on the fracturing of a community of high school students, with some seeking simply to survive while others seek power over everyone else, makes for a potent metaphor in America. That’s not to mention the violent nature of the high school and how that interacts with modern anxieties. It may be tough to watch at times, but there’s a lot of potential for Deadly Class to address our society in a meaningful fashion.
Deadly Class is a show that could only be properly realized on cable today, when shows like The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad have already broken taboos of what can appear on TV. It is one of the most violent comics on shelves today, and that violence is significant to the series themes and style. Without swords, guns, and bloodshed, any adaptation of this comic simply wouldn’t be Deadly Class. That’s not too much of a concern now though, and we can look forward to some incredible showdowns and brawls in the first season.
Wes Craig is a true all-star in modern comics and every issue of Deadly Class reaffirms his bona fides. The series regularly distorts point of view, working from multiple plotlines and perspectives simultaneously, with seeming ease. It also finds the most interesting angles to tell the story from, toying with height and irregular angles. Any director reading the series will be flooded with ideas on how to make it just as visually compelling on television. Craig’s artwork is something that will enhance the series everytime they reference the source material.
Remender and Craig’s involvement with the adaptation is also a cause for excitement. Remender is working as an executive producer on the series, allowing him opportunities to provide insight into the original comics as well as feedback on the first season. That involvement should alleviate any anxiety fans might feel about a studio getting it “wrong.” Remender has shown nothing but excitement for the adaptation and his involvement may even lead to additional opportunities on the small screen.
One of the best elements of this Deadly Class adaptation though are the opportunities for new stories. With only 34 issues of source material to draw from so far, a full season of television will need to expand or invent new plots to fill every episode. It removes a restraint of comics in which one artist must draw every page and allows the television series to explore areas of King’s Dominion left largely untouched in the comics. Fans of the comics can expect to learn more about the characters, history, and politics of Deadly Class through the television series, allowing it to add value to even the comics experience. Based on how excellent the comic has been, it’s hard to think that more Deadly Class could ever be a bad thing.