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Kill or Be Killed #4 Review

Kill or Be Killed ends its first story arc with Dylan secret affliction and troubled personal life colliding into each other. Is it good?

Kill or Be Killed #4 (Image Comics)


  • So we meet again, 1980’s Bill Paxton…
  • I was all ready to write about how contrived this setup is until Ed Brubaker pulled the rug out from under me. Well played.
  • Subways suck.
  • I’m not sure what’s more unhealthy: Dylan’s affliction or this relationship.
  • Dylan would have made a good profiler.
  • It’s never good when your plan to execute someone escalates out of control.
  • When in doubt, fake a breakdown.
  • Dang it! Just when I thought I had this series figured out…

Is It Good?

Kill or Be Killed ends its first arc the way it began: Brilliantly.

Brubaker continues to give Dylan a voice that becomes more familiar and comfortable with every issue. The way he observes everything with a painfully rational lens somehow allows the book’s insane premise feel grounded. There’s plenty of dark comedy to be found, but more importantly, we’re seeing the organic development of someone facing both impossible and ordinary circumstances.

The issue’s opening really had me worried for a little bit, but I should have known better. Like the rest of the story (so far), those first few pages end up revealing themselves as an almost nihilistic view of behavior that we have been trained to identify (in fiction) as noble/heroic.

Oh, and that ending…damn you, Brubaker. Just when I felt like my feet were on solid ground with Kill or Be Killed’s premise, you throw me for another loop. I’m not really sure how I feel about it, but I’m definitely excited to found out what happens next.

On the art side of things, Sean Phillips once again shows why he’s one of the best. He shifts effortlessly from intimate moments to visceral action sequences, all of which are rendered and detailed beautifully.

If you waited for the trade on this one, then you’re in for a real treat—although I also give Brubaker a lot of credit for making the single issues read very well. Whatever way you decide to read it, Kill or Be Killed is a mandatory addition to any self-respecting comic reader’s pull list.


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