By Ben Snyder
The plot thickens in a mostly calm but emotion-packed issue in Kill or Be Killed #10 as Dylan grapples with the consequences of his crusade and the impact it has on himself and those around him. While in this issue we get back in touch with the task force in charge of capturing and arresting Dylan, issue #10 continues to toy with the much more interesting plot point of the origin of the Demon: Is he real or a hallucination?
Ed Brubaker continues to make a stellar script and plot for Kill or Be Killed. Dylan’s narration over the entire story almost gives the tale a pulp like momentum to it as it starts and skips back to the past and jumps between characters. This issue mostly deals with the aftermath of last month’s chaotic action packed violence, and in this aspect, this issue shines. Brubaker does a tremendous job making Dylan’s predicament feel real and relatable to the point where it’s almost frightening. When Dylan outright states that he’s supposed to be the sympathetic lead and he’s relating himself to the Zodiac Killer, it makes the reader chuckle due to its sheer ludicrousness, but it actually works and makes sense.
Having Kira passively confess her true feelings to Dylan (or at least that is how Dylan interpreted the event) compounds the guilt on Dylan’s psyche. Kira also brings up the interesting plot point that the meds that Rex gave Dylan were supposedly not doing anything at all, hinting at the fact that the Demon wasn’t a hallucination. I loved how Dylan enacted how the fantasy version of their confrontation would have played out, including Nicholas Sparks references, but ultimately went with the actual order of events. There was a certain level of cheese present in that scene that made Dylan’s wants and desires resonate with the reader. In the end, we all just want Dylan to be happy and get the girl, even though we know that will not happen.
Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser once again bring the heat with this issue proving that no one else could competently depict Brubaker’s script. The realistic grit and grime present in Brubaker’s script is perfectly translated to the character models and figure work. Lily Sharpe looks tired and frustrated in her face, but powerful and self-sure in her posture. Dylan’s face almost always looks on the verge of nausea, which is pretty much how he is feeling throughout the issue. It’s a testament to the art style that none of the characters or scenery is particularly “pretty,” but they still work.
Phillips and Breitweiser put all the panels on a dark backdrop in a dark setting so when Dylan’s fantasy interpretation of his confrontation with Kira play out, of course, the scene is set against bright blinding lights. It’s a subtle and pleasant touch that highlight Dylan’s turmoil, especially as the black, begins to encroach as they kiss. The pulp panels that Dylan’s father drew are also amazing. One serves as the cliffhanger for this issue as the story continues to play with the hallucination or reality theme.
Another issue, another stellar addition to Kill or Be Killed’s stellar run. Issue #10 may be a bit slower on the action front, but all of the other elements line up to deliver another knockout issue.
Kill or Be Killed #10