For a long time Kill or be Killed has taken its time getting to the story of just how Dylan found himself shooting up an apartment building. As always with this comic though: the road is winding, filled with despair and a lot of bad decisions. The accumulated weight of all the lies Dylan has told throughout the series and the overlapping contradictions begin acting as a weight to sink him. After all there’s only so long you can lie to people before they start to catch on and as the comic has made very painfully clear: Dylan is just barely holding on: as a liar and as a would-be vigilante. The other major mystery throughout the series: the demon that saved Dylan’s life and its connection to his father starts to unfold as well, and the ambiguity serves its purpose in making the issue as unsettling as it can. The inevitability that’s pervaded Kill or be Killed finally comes crashing through and Ed Brubaker milks it for all its worth.
That being said: the thing that sets this book apart is for my money always going to be the art. Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser bring art that’s as gorgeous as ever. Phillips shifts effortlessly between modern day neo-noir and Hammer-esque imagery in the story. While he’s done plenty of supernatural stories, as well as noir stories, it takes on a very different life in the contrast to a modern day tale and Dylan’s mental instability.. Breitweiser’s color create a beautiful wrapper for a very complex story. There are few teams that can work together this well, and the Kill or be Killed team is one of those.
At some point there will be a time where superlatives will run out to praise Kill or be Killed. If you’re not reading this comic, you’re missing out. It’s really that simple. This isn’t a comic you’ll find at DC, or at Marvel, this is something you’ll find from this team only and it’s an exemplar of what comics can achieve as a form.
5 Shells out of 5