Kill or Be Killed #2 brings us deeper into Dylan’s story, revealing more about his past and telling the tale of his first kill.
Like the first issue of the series, Kill or Be Killed #2 gives us a cold open, this time revealing the climactic moment of his first kill before pulling back to show how he got there. It feels like his thought process is the reverse of most murderers: because of his situation, he decides he’s going to kill someone before he actually decides who he’s going to kill.
Kill or Be Killed #2 has a narrow focus, walking us step-by-step through the kill. First Dylan has to choose how to do it, then find a weapon, then select his target. Despite the focus on that kill, we still get a few glimpses of other aspects of Dylan’s life, like the hints of some developments in his relationship with Kira. He also pays a visit to his mom’s house, revealing his dead father’s career as a weird porn artist and giving us a few cool panels of pulpy sci-fi art.
Coming off the extra-long first issue, it’s hard not to feel like Kill or Be Killed #2 is a little short on story development. We already knew Dylan was going to start killing after the first issue, so this one really just serves to show us how he gets started. We don’t see an appearance from the demon/monster/hallucination who claimed to have saved Dylan’s life, and asked for other lives in return.
But we still get plenty of Brubaker’s excellent writing, and Dylan’s opening monologue about human nature is especially good. The short conversation he has with his mom also characterizes their relationship in just a few lines, and it’s a nice little melancholy moment. This is something Brubaker and Phillips have always nailed in their other series, especially Criminal: the ability to insert these short, poignant, scenes that hit your heart out of nowhere, even in the midst of murder, monsters, or mayhem.
I’m still so thankful for the art team of Phillips and Breitweiser. Kill or Be Killed’s color palette is blue and moody, interrupted only occasionally by the orange glow of a cigarette, or, in this issue, the vibrant pink and electric blue of weird sci-fi porn. There are two fantastic 3-panel series toward the end of the issue: one starting on Dylan and zooming into his face, and the other doing the same to this victim. The facial expressions are incredibly detailed, capturing perfectly the moment and the thoughts of both murderer and victim just before the deed.
Kill or Be Killed #2 is a solid issue, though a little lacking in the story development department. Pick it up if you enjoyed the first, and hopefully the next issue will show more forward momentum.
- Killer monologues
- One of the best art teams working today
- Lacking in story development
- Not much attention to secondary characters