Review: Kill or be Killed #10
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art, Letters: Sean Philips
Colours: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Publisher: Image Comics
With a hardcore fanbase, there’s often little but praise for Kill or be Killed. Very few critics have got past the solid plot, the thoroughly engaging protagonist, the writing that would put Hollywood to shame, and art styling that keeps Image Comics in the pink time and time again. But is there more? This is a classy series that leaves a unique imprint in a market where individuality and stand-outishness (not a real word) are in short supply, not due to lack of talent but more down to the jittery nature of comic execs watching their profit margins. So, have Image taken a risk and got lucky, or is there a knack to spotting a sure thing?
Brubaker’s ( Daredevil, Fatale) writing surely is a major plus for this series and issue 10 continues in the sober, intrinsically introverted manner we’ve come to expect. Our protagonist, Dylan, is justified in his skewed perspective on what makes heroes and villains. Here, we find him broken but belligerent after the funeral of his friend and drug dealer, Rex. Because of the moral dilemma being forced on Dylan, he finds himself increasingly isolated and fearing reprisals from all angles. It’s this stark isolation that draws investment from the readership, more than anything else. It’s rare to find a character so utterly fallible and that makes for someone we root for. On the other hand, maybe we’re invested in the process Dylan goes through to choose his next victim, simply using him as a vessel to serve up a cold slab of entertainment to satisfy our own fantasy blood lusts. Either way, the writing is consistent in its cool, controlled menace.
The artwork has been described as almost ultra-realistic in approach, meaning facial expressions in particular are bang on the money. The demon itself is probably the best depiction of a hell-spawn in recent times, in my opinion. Not because of a super detailed, scaley exterior, but precisely the lack of it. Here we have a shadowed mire baring teeth. What Philips doesn’t show us is greater than what he could have. His pencilling is crisp and lines seem to linger leaving a sensation of scratches on the page. Check the rain at the funeral, for example. Philips alo chooses perspectives that tell a story without the need for words, though the lettering doesn’t violate the frames overly as it is.
In conclusion, the plot is thickening faster than Dylan can draw himself up a new kill-list. The already paper-thin relationship between our protagonist and the demon is at risk of tearing up completely. And with the added danger of a mob of pissed off Russians added to the mix of kee investigators and nosey friends, we’re left reeling at the options the writer has potentially ahead. I for one, am taking the journey all the way to the end of the line.
Thank you for reading our review of Kill or be Killed #10. We here at the Chico Comics Page appreciate your viewership. We invite you to check back with us soon as we post often. Or, you can follow us on Facebook (The Chico Comics Page) and Twitter (@ChicoComicsPage) for regular updates on all of our posts.
Review written by Arun S.
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