Published on September 8th, 2016 | by Noel Thorne0
Kill Or Be Killed #2 Review
Dylan’s life was saved by a demon but the price of his second chance is that he must kill one bad person a month – or he dies. This issue sees Dylan coming to terms with his new life and preparing his first murder – but who will he kill? Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ excellent new series, Kill or Be Killed, continues to be a stonking good read with this second issue!
The one aspect of the first issue that I didn’t love was the supernatural element with the demon and, after this issue, I’m wondering if it’s actually a factor or a red herring. Dylan opens the issue with a summary of The Hunchback story from The Thousand and One Nights which is about how humans always try shifting blame onto someone else to get away with murder – is the demon for Dylan a scapegoat to allow him to do what he really wants, ie. kill people he doesn’t like? We don’t see the demon in this issue…
Later on when he revisits his family home he recalls a memory of his dad bitterly telling his younger self “Life screws over everybody somehow… Ain’t nothin’ you can do about it, kiddo… Sometimes you’re the one that just gets picked” – is that further justification for Dylan to become an avenging angel, taking life because everyone gets screwed anyway and sometimes you just get picked, so why not have at it?
I’m probably reading too much into those scenes but I do feel that Dylan falls into the idea of becoming a killer very quickly and easily. He soon acquires a weapon and has a first victim picked out in no time. I’d’ve thought he might’ve tried not killing someone to see if the demon returned or whether he hallucinated him entirely. Then again this series is meant to be a deconstruction of the vigilante – maybe Brubaker is saying that vigilantes need a higher power, whether real or imagined, as a catalyst to begin their violent careers?
Kill or Be Killed #2 is another smooth read as Brubaker enthralls the reader from first page to last. You’re entertained from the start as well as learning more about Dylan’s character too – great writing. There’s also the usual first-class art from Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser to enjoy throughout. Definitely check out this title if you haven’t already, it’s easily one of the year’s best!
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Colourist: Elizabeth Breitweiser