See all reviews of Kill or be Killed (14)

Time is running out, and the demon won’t wait for the police to stop hunting him. Trapped between his curse and his own survival, Dylan takes to the streets. And remember, every issue of KILL OR BE KILLED has the extra back page content BRUBAKER & PHILLIPS fans have come to expect.

Kill or Be Killed #9
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Publisher: Image Comics


First Read Reactions

  • If you ever needed a good example of how second person POV narration is different than first person, Dylan’s got you covered.
  • When you’re off your meds and meeting a drug dealer in a new location, your level of paranoia should be a lot higher than this.
  • Always nice when the bad guy is willing to monologue his whole plan to you before you shoot him.
  • Okay, maybe I’m just too sheltered to know how transactions with a drug dealer are supposed to work, but this seems like a bit much.
  • Damn it, Dylan…

The Verdict

In the grand scheme of things, Kill or Be Killed #9 is a good read. Unfortunately, it also happens to be the weakest issue of the series thus far.

Despite the obvious suspension of disbelief the story requires, I’ve appreciated how the book goes to great lengths to make Dylan’s trials and tribulations still feel grounded in reality. This time, however, we see him getting a major exposition dump from a dying villain. As if that weren’t frustrating enough, the book shows us a drug dealer’s extreme security/anonymity measures before turning right around and nudging the narrative via a Russian mobster’s laughably easy-to-decipher phone password.

The issue’s saving grace comes courtesy of the series’ most gut-wrenching death yet. It’s hard enough watching Dylan kill bad people, but seeing someone he cares about caught in the middle of his bizarre odyssey is truly devastating. Much of the credit for this goes to artist Sean Phillips, who refuses to let us find comfort in a death that appears easy or impersonal. Instead, every brutal second of the character’s expiration plays out, allowing us to watch with Dylan as things go from bad to much, much worse.

Despite this small lapse in quality, Kill or Be Killed remains a superb series. Even a weaker issue like this one can still manage to provide a solid narrative along with its usual gorgeous artwork.

Let’s just hope things go back next month to the very high standard we’ve been used to.

Is it good?
In the grand scheme of things, Kill or Be Killed #9 is a good read. Unfortunately, it also happens to be the weakest issue of the series thus far.
Features the series' most gut-wrenching death to date.
Artist Sean Phillips saves an otherwise subpar issue with maybe his best work on the series thus far.
The issue suffers from some major narrative contrivances that it had managed to avoid until now.
7
Good