The bestselling team of ED BRUBAKER and SEAN PHILLIPS (THE FADE OUT, CRIMINAL, FATALE) return with KILL OR BE KILLED, the twisted story of a young man forced to kill bad people, and how he struggles to keep his secret from destroying his life.
I have to admit I was quite excited to get my hands on this graphic novel! I’ve been a fan of the author Ed Brubaker and his work ever since his stint on Captain America back in during Marvel’s Civil War, and the Death of Captain America story line. Add to that the amazing artwork of Sean Phillips who I’ve admired since the Marvel Zombies comics.
The best way I can describe this graphic novel is if someone took your moral-compass and demagnetised it, making it spin and spin and never point true north. The graphic novel is dark and gritty. It was an interesting take on it, though. The main character, Dylan is feeling a little down in the dumps. Things aren’t going to well for him: he’s still in college at the age of 28, his roommate is going out with his best friend and he’s recently been dumped by his girlfriend. This leads him to take his own life, but has a dilemma after he jumps off the top of the building, that maybe he doesn’t want to take his life. This causes him to fall into some laundry ropes hanging between two buildings, buffering his fall and causing him to only fall 6 stories, instead of more. That night he is approached by some sort of demon, telling him he must kill at least once a month. “A life for a life” the demon tells him. Dylan quickly brushes the demon off until it breaks his arm, but he decides to tell himself it was from the jump and not the demon. Exactly one month later, Dylan gets extremely sick, having not yet killed anyone, and is attacked by two homeless people, yelling at him in the demons voice that he only has one more day.
There’s a lot of potential for this graphic novel, and the rest of the series, but I found that the story was a little slow to develop. There’s four chapters in the whole thing and it didn’t really get going until the fourth chapter, so if you’re looking for a quick-reading standalone graphic novel, this isn’t your graphic novel, because I know I’ll definitely be going looking for volume two soon enough to find out what happens next. I was also disappointed that there wasn’t more blood and guts, considering the title Kill or be Killed, there wasn’t a lot of it, so here’s hoping that volume two does.
Overall it was a good quick read of a graphic novel, it was a little text heavy, but that’s only to be expected from Ed Brubaker, and the Phillip’s artwork is phenomenal as usual. If you’re looking for a new series to hop onto, and are a fan of other graphic novels from Ed Brubaker (Velvet, Criminal), or series such as The Punisher, Lazarus, and Saga, then I think you’ll enjoy this graphic novel.