The opening pages of, Kill or be Killed, are filled with brutality, seemingly remorseless, mercy free bloodshed and walls peppered with brain and bone. And then things get really dark.
The team of Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser, walk firmly upon the tortured side of human emotion and humanity itself in this opening issue of a brand new series. Dylan is a late twenty-something grad student who lives life under the shadow of self-pity, loneliness and unrequited love. An overheard conversation between the object of his affections, Kira, and her boyfriend (and Dylan’s roommate) Mason, sends him into a further downward spiral that leads him to the edge of a rooftop intent on ending his days and his pain.
Things don’t quite go to plan, lady luck sees Dylan walk away from the jaws of death, but rather than anger at the failed suicide attempt, he emerges euphoric and ready to turn his life around.
The demon however, has other plans.
Having teetered upon the brink of throwing his own life away, Dylan is given a demand. Kill bad people. One a month. Or die.
As an opening issue plays, this one holds like a limpet and refuses to let go. It’s been a long time since I’ve read something that has left me feeling so heavily invested so soon. The combination of great writing, characters with depth and realism, the stark landscape and some truly wonderful artwork has blended into something genuinely potent and utterly riveting.
What we get with Kill or be Killed #1 is the setting of the stage, key pieces moving into place for what lies ahead. Sometimes these scene setters can prove a little mundane as the writer attempts to grasp the reader with the premise whilst also maintaining a good pace and flow for the story. Thankfully those duties have been handled with a mastery here that many others fail to attain.
Kill or be Killed is bleak. It’s a grim opener in the life of a young man who seems to have so much darkness in his life that barely a chink of light breaks through the gloom. But equally, as a reader it is exciting, intriguing and bursting with life. Grab yourself a copy now!