Published on November 14th, 2016 | by Dana Folkard
KILL OR BE KILLED #4 REVIEW
Summary: Life keeps getting more complicated for Dylan, as he quickly learns that leading a double life is a pain in the ass!
Dylan’s life keep on getting more and more complicated. His love affair with his best friend Kira, coupled with his ever-increasing problem of “paying” his monthly life rental payments to his demon landlord, equates to one morose and stressed individual. Dylan can fantasise all he likes, the reality is that it’s hard to find the bad guys and leading a double life is a pain in the ass!
Kill or be Killed #3 begins with Dylan daydreaming about how easily and effortlessly he finds and kills deserving badass punks. However, waking up to the reality is that this task is much, much harder than he initially thought. Who is he to decide who lives and who is deserving of death? His mind is side-tracked as he obsesses over who he targets next, not to mention that he is still rattled from his first murder. The stress of this is starting to take over his life, as he struggles with guilt and depression and he toys with one bad idea after another. One of those bad ideas being his ever-increasing love affair with Kira. Talk about complications! Dylan decides that the only way in which to combat this hellish decision of who to kill next is to do his research. Research is the key! Know your enemy and pick the most deserving. The one whose death will have a positive impact, an impact like his first kill when he exposed the child sex ring. This theory is good on paper, yet how effective is it in practice and how prepared can you really be?
Ed Brubaker has let us into the inner workings of Dylan’s mind. His internal monologue is always directed towards us, informing us of his intentions and train of thought and how this shapes his actions. It’s all very personal and somewhat natural in that awkward and nervous kind of way. Anxious, complex and incredibly agitated, I find that Dylan is a good choice for some interesting character developments. We have already seen him go through various changes and Brubaker has done a great job at making this all seem like a very natural progression. I also enjoy seeing Dylan’s increasing fear develop with regards to the transaction that he made with the demon. The concept of evil varies for many people and whilst we may not all picture a Mephisto-like character or believe in one, it’s easy to understand why some people do. Throughout history demons and the Devil have seduced desperate people, leading them astray and condemning them for life. They come presenting gifts and tempting offers, promising to fulfill your deepest desires and to make a transaction with one is ALWAYS a big no no. Simple rule: Never make a deal with the Devil! So here we have Dylan, someone who has made this transaction and has a debt to pay. He is willing to do anything to survive, even if that means killing other people! Talk about a moral dilemma. I mean, that’s why I find this story so interesting and such a gripping read. I should also commend Brubaker’s ability at balancing the light and dark aspects of this story as well. It’s littered with humour, which helps to lighten the overall tone of the narrative.
Sean Phillips art reinforces the dark and sinister nature of this story. There is a noir-style visual aesthetic with many of the scenes, reflected in dark silhouettes and grainy textures, all of which heightens that gritty emotional tone. Phillips also captures Dylan’s emotional turmoil perfectly. You really get a sense of the stress and anxiety that he is experiencing, which is captured perfectly on his face. It all feels very real and effortless. Colourist, Elizabeth Breitweiser’s, brings a street art aesthetic with her colour palette. The graffiti-like colours and background paint splashes come together to emphasise this street aesthetic. Also, many of the night scenes look like they are bathed in a dim neon light, which not only looks pretty but also adds a sense of realism to these scenes.
Overall, I’m really enjoying this interesting twist on a modern horror/crime story. The plot has some interesting developments and I really enjoy watching Dylan evolve into a smart and efficient killing machine. His personal complications, mixed with his desperate situation is an interesting story and I’m keen to see where it is headed. I want to see where this deal with the Devil will go and whether Dylan can handle the pressure.
I’m giving this issue 4 out of 5 stars!
Title: Kill or be Killed #4
Publisher: Image Comics
Creative Team: Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Elizabeth Breitweiser
Reviewer: Dana Folkard