After an exceptional opening chapter, Ed Brubaker (w) and Sean Phillips’ (a) Kill or Be Killed released its second issue.
Is it good?
Kill or Be Killed #2 (Image Comics)
- Still not sure how I feel about Dylan yet, but he and I are definitely on the same wavelength when it comes to fairy tales.
- Geez, Dylan’s life is pretty weird even without the whole ‘Demon Keeping You Alive Via Death Pact’ thing.
- Credit to Brubaker/Phillips for not magically giving their protagonist a gun. Guns may be easy to get in America, but not if you’re trying to find one specifically to murder someone with (and get away with it).
- Definitely not a fan of killing people in cold blood…but if you’re going to pick a first target, then Dylan’s doing a good job.
Is It Good?
Part of me was worried that Kill or Be Killed would suffer from the same sophomore slump that many series with great first issues experience. Thankfully, Brubaker and Phillips take their opening set up and expertly build on it with a fantastic second chapter.
About the only thing not to like here are the pages with large amounts of texts going down the side accompanied by unlettered art. I love the way Phillips panels things, so it feels like we’re getting cheated out of that sometimes.
Otherwise, everything else is great.
Dylan is an unreliable narrator, but he’s also painfully authentic. It’s hard to pity him or even be horrified by some of things he does because it’s also very easy to see parts of ourselves in him. The premise of this series is cool enough on its own, but watching things unfold through Dylan’s eyes—along with the rest of his tangled and complicated life—make it even more enjoyable.
As expected with anything Brubaker writes, the narrative flows beautifully—even the parts where Dylan has to backtrack and take the reader to a different point in the past. This is aided greatly by Phillips’ aforementioned artwork. The guy gets a lot of praise for how good his pencils look, but not nearly enough credit for how well can sequence a script. He also gets a big assist from Elizabeth Breitweiser, who can somehow render colors that vary greatly in texture while also managing to remain stark and muted.
Together, these three are putting together a book that is quickly becoming one of my favorite titles. If you don’t have Kill or Be Killed on your pull list yet, then you have exactly one month to do so.
After that, you’re on your own.