After hearing about this series in passing on a random comic forum I added it to my shortlist of things to check out. After wading through a couple of mediocre recommendations, and a couple impeccable ones, (which both will be reviewed after I am able to finish them and digest them), I arrived at this. The first volume of Ed Brubaker’s Kill or Be Killed. This 2017 Image Comics book is somewhat of a breath of fresh air for me. In a world dominated by superheroes, (I’m writing this on the eve of this little super event called Avengers: Infinity War), time travelers, and all types of intergalactic beings, it feels good to read a realistic, and super relatable comic such as this. Our protagonist, Dylan is an almost completely hopeless man. After a suicide attempt he gets kicked out of school, fast forward to a bad break up, fast forward to him being roommates with the guy dating his childhood best friend, meanwhile trying to go back to grad school and just make it through day by day. After a particularly rough night he makes a decision that changes his life and the dynamic of all those around him in one fatal (or should I say non-fatal) swoop while ushering in a pinch of the supernatural. Although most of the side characters that have been introduced have been mostly dry and uninspired to me, I still like the interactions that Dylan has with those around him, showing his introversion and his awkwardness to it’s fullest extent. The art is very film-noir, with a lot of shadowy, washed out textures that make the bright muzzle flare of a gunshot, or a spurt of blood stand out all that much more. I have to say Brubaker definitely packs quite a punch in this opening salvo and he has my attention going forward.
Final Grade: 8/10