Kill or be Killed continues to be a fantastic comic month in and month out. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are no stranger to telling noir tales about a guy at the end of his rope, but it’s rather different in the case of Kill or be Killed with the added possibility of a deal with the devil. The last issue ended with Dylan figuring out that the Russian mob knows his name and are extremely close to figuring out which Dylan they’re looking for. This issue follows up on that, with Dylan figuring out just what kind of organization he’s drawn the wrath of.
This results in a surprisingly fun issue for what’s mostly narration of a guy doing casing. At this point in his career, Brubaker is a master at writing dialogue and narration that keeps the story interesting for the reader. The issue also does a great job of building upon the previous eleven issues , which largely flipped between the (apparent) Faustian deal Dylan made and his budding vigilantism. The real meat, however, has been a focus on the relationships Dylan has broken in his insane vigilante fantasy. The supernatural elements are great, but desperation works as primal narrative fuel.
Of course, one of the biggest joys of reading Kill or be Killed is seeing what Sean Phillips draws each month, and this issue is an embarrassment of riches. At this point there’s really no worries in reading a Brubaker/Phillips book, as they’re a fusion where the writing melds effortlessly with the art. Elizabeth Breitweiser’s colors continue to be as fantastic as they were in this previous team’s comic: The Fade Out. This comic takes place in the modern day as opposed to the throwback era of The Fade Out, which demands a different set of tools, and the dark colors really help set the gritty tone that Brubaker’s writing and Phillips’ art go for. It’s really no exaggeration to say this is one of the best comics coming out right now. If you love well-written and beautifully drawn comics, you’ll hop on while the getting is good.
4 Nixon Masks out of 5