Kill or Be Killed has been fascinating to read these last couple years. While any Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips work is pretty much going to be an automatic must-read for me, Kill or Be Killed has been something different from the rest of their bibliography. The last arc has dealt with events spiraling beyond Dylan’s control while in an asylum and chickens coming home to roost: from the false vigilante, to the trail of breadcrumbs leading to his finally getting trapped, and the question of whether Dylan’s demon even exists. While answers have ultimately ended up raising more questions, it’s a comic that comes like a runaway train every month and this one is no different.
Exposition can run uninteresting, but a good story is always worth listening to as Brubaker walks us through Detective Sharpe’s quest to uncover the true identity of the Vigilante against the tide of a department that just wants to move on, as well as the origin of the false Vigilante. The construction becomes that of a trap that was always inevitable for Dylan, and in the noir (neo or otherwise) genre inevitability always sells. While it’s hard not to feel sympathetic for Dylan’s struggle, everything that happens to him next is entirely his fault, and that’s not forgotten.
There always need to be a reminder that Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser deserve so much credit for breathing life into this story. Each comic from Fatale to The Fade Out, and now Kill or Be Killed has been a fresh start for the team. The comic covers a great deal of ground from crime scenes, to overseas war zones, and all the way back to places we’ve seen before we had context for what was happening. When you have a comic this gorgeously rendered, you’ll be sucked in by the art alone. At this point, the end is almost here for Kill or Be Killed, it’s high time to jump in just before the tidal wave crashes at the end.
4 Demon Pictures of 5