Kill or Be Killed (2016) #3

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What is the deal with the heads? Seriously, this issue starts with talking heads between Dylan and Kira—which has numerous issues—and it really looks like artist Sean Phillips cut out a head and pasted it on a body. But without adjusting the scale.

It’s comically weird, though it does improve in the rest of the issue.

The scene takes place after Dylan’s first night out Punishering; best friend Kira, who’s dating his roommate and having an affair with him, wants to talk. He’s afraid he’ll confess to her because he’s madly in love with her, and he wants to tell her everything anyway.

Now, Kira and Dylan will go and have their talk later on. He will say nothing; she will talk at him about their problems on a very macro scale without any specifics. It’s actually an improvement over the first scene, which sounds like writer Ed Brubaker got the dialogue from a soap opera trailer.

This issue has two big reminders of why this comic didn’t click with me before. Didn’t click with me, meaning it pissed me off to the point I stopped reading it.

First, Dylan’s obnoxious white college bro philosophy thoughts. Maybe half the issue is just Dylan’s narration, thinking about what he’s done—killed a guy because the demon in his head told him to do it—while going about his day as a graduate student in New York City. There’s a Times Square scene, there are some library scenes, and Kira and Dylan will have their big scene at Coney Island—Phillips is going all out on the travelogue. No wonder he doesn’t have the energy for heads.

But Dylan’s just full of shit. His narration is just stream of consciousness bullshit from an asshole. And it’s unclear if Brubaker knows it. Every time it seems self-aware, there’s something like the second anti-click reminder—the ladies mooning over Dylan without him realizing. Now, suppose Dylan had become a killer vigilante and started seeing the ladies seeing him differently. In that case, he’d be… becoming (see: Manhunter), but he doesn’t notice them agog at his new manliness.

Also, when Dylan and Kira hang out and have no substance or chemistry beyond Dylan’s narration telling us they have chemistry, it’s another sign of trouble for Brubaker’s handle on the situation.

I remain committed to the read-through, even if it just keeps disappointing.

However, it’s not a bad comic overall, just self-indulgent and annoying. It rallies a bit towards the end. It does read way too quick, though.

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