By Ben Snyder
Just when things seem to be getting better for Dylan, Kill or Be Killed #11 brings him back down. Despite Dylan’s overarching narration throughout the past issues, I actually did forget that the entire story as of now has been a flashback in which we’re desperately trying to meet up with Dylan’s present. It can be frustrating because although Dylan points this out, we are again thrown back into the flashback format. Regardless, Kill or Be Killed #11is another great addition to an already fantastic story.
Ed Brubaker’s script continues to standout in this gritty story. Brubaker nails Dylan’s narration and truly makes his dialogue with the reader sound realistic. This is how a person sounds, we get confused on who the actual villain in Friday the 13th was, and yes it was the mom (spoiler?). The use of the flashback format continues to be effective as it makes the reader want to know how we end up in Dylan’s present. It was odd to see Dylan as a seemingly normal person, and that is what sets up the last panel so well: it’s not the demon hallucination that made Dylan unhinge it was his murder spree.
Hopefully, this does not mark the end of the demon in this story. I actually appreciated the way Brubaker toyed with a potential supernatural element in this story. But based on the last scene, it definitely seems as though this Dylan is not fueled by the demon, but by the need to protect his loved ones. However, I do understand that this could undermine the overall realism that Brubaker may potentially be establishing. I think it did show tremendous character growth on Dylan’s side that he was not willing to fall back into hallucinating the demon when he was ill. This shows that Dylan is actually trying to get well which is a pleasant surprise.
Also, while I do understand the necessity of Kira’s character- her intrusions into Dylan’s life are becoming increasingly annoying. The relationship they have while not toxic is definitely not healthy. She comes in to inconsistently and is really only there for Dylan to romanticize and for her to feed Dylan’s feelings. Also, isn’t she still with her boyfriend? Why is she flirting with Dylan again and why is Dylan caving into it again? The constant poor decisions of both characters can be a bit of a nuisance.
The art by Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser once again is stellar. It’s really hard to find many criticisms with their realistic dirtiness they manage to achieve with each issue. Especially when they make the few glimpses of Dylan’s father’s pulp comics look even cooler. No doubt if a small child saw these images, they’d have some damage as well. The heavy use of shadows is extremely foreboding, when Dylan is sick in his room it truly looks as if he is floating in a vacuum with the black floors and dark wooden walls. The neon of the New York nightlife is captured and used effectively to highlight the passion of the murder Dylan commits at the end.
It’s hard to pinpoint many series that have been as consistently good as Kill or Be Killed it’s initial premise has continued to hold sway and remains effective. However, I do wonder how much longer we can stay in flashback mode and what the series will look like when we’re not. Regardless if you’re not reading Kill or Be Killed you really should start because Kill or Be Killed #11 is another fantastic entry.
Kill or Be Killed #11