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Review: Kill or Be Killed #7


To put it simply, this is one of the best comic books out. That’s doesn’t mean it is one of the best non-superhero books, or best crime or noir books, it is one of the best comic books out in the entire medium right now. This is the type of story made by masters of their craft, and this crack team are certainly that. This isn’t their first comic together, or even their first crime comic together, and it shows. You always hear act like you’ve been there before, well these three have, and it shows in Kill or Be Killed #7.

The story does not start off or even touch much on Dylan’s situation much until the end of the book, and even then it is all seen through Kira’s eyes. If you do not remember or know who Kira is, she is the old friend and former lover of Dylan, oh and the ex-girlfriend of his roommate. Yeah, sometimes life is messy, and this story nails real flawed people, and how crazy life can be. None of this odd love triangle or square at this point feels forced, cliché, or unbelievable. This issue felt earned because I have been with these characters on a journey. Kira’s return felt real, and something I have seen in my own life, where an ex returns out of the blue because they want the other person back, or have some other plan. Let’s just say that when Kira does return, she finds some things that she does not like, including that other woman.

Ed Brubaker made an issue that I think could have been pretty boring and while it took me a bit to get into it the way I did, I then realized what he was doing. He took an entire issue and put a ton of character development into it. I feel like I know Kira so much more, and I am so excited to see where this story goes with her back in it. This issue also set up some big things for future issues with what she finds that I won’t spoil. The world seems to be ready to come down around Dylan, who thinks he’s still pulling all of this off, but we know in the real world, things don’t work this way. Dylan is not some expert assassin. He’s not The Punisher. He’s someone in over his head, and he now has a curious and scorned ex as well as a detective looking at things he doesn’t want or know are being looked at.

Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser are the other half of this crack team. They have been with Brubaker on other classics, and they absolutely blew me away with this issue. From the brilliant use of panels showing Kira and her psychiatrist, which again helped so much with her character development, to the photo album filled with old pictures of Kira’s family members that had died, which by the way was a very haunting idea that her family did that. You can see many layers to Kira, as if she was a real person because that’s how real people are. I know I have repeated that quite a bit, but to me it’s one of the most impressive things about this book, and this team. The hard to look awkward scene at the end of the book where Kira is let’s just say eavesdropping on Dylan was depicted so well. From the dialogue, and having it told through her eyes and her ears was a fantastic use of storytelling.

You should read Kill or Be Killed. I think it’s a book that anyone can appreciate. You don’t have to just like crime books, or detective books, this is about real people in real situations, and in real trouble real soon. Dylan is on a crash course for a bad ending, but the book keeps me guessing, and I love it for that. It is continuously one of my favorite comics every month, and I highly recommend to everyone.

Story: Ed Brubaker Art: Sean Phillips Color: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Story: 9 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review