This issue is where I jumped off Kill or Be Killed the last time I tried reading it. The funny part is I’m now utterly dispassionate about the issue. Sure, I can see where Sean Phillips’s lagging art would’ve bothered me—Dylan runs into his ex-girlfriend (who I think they teased in the first or second issue) and they both have really poorly sized heads through their re-meet cute.
And there’s some weird hostility in writer Ed Brubaker’s narration for Dylan. Lashing out at the reader. But the reader is also whoever’s listening to Dylan’s confession; this issue makes it seem very much like he’s telling someone his story, not just narrating. We’ll see on that one, though. Brubaker likes crime fiction a lot, and crime fiction doesn’t care how tenses work.
In addition to Dylan meeting his ex-girlfriend again—outside his boxing gym, where he goes for lessons since a Russian stripper beat him up last issue (but months and months before, Brubaker’s doing the time jump)—he goes to coffee with Kira. They sit awkwardly like strangers because they’re not knocking boots since she and his roommate broke up.
There are a couple victims in this issue—the demon, who also appears briefly (meaning Dylan hasn’t seen the demon in his dad’s old painting, which was around his apartment, in the two-plus months since the last issue), told Dylan he had to kill one person a month, I think, which means it’s pretty easy to count the passage of time. Not quite a lunar cycle, but close enough.
Anyway, the victims are a little more creative. One’s a dog killer who got off with a temporary insanity plea, and the other’s Bernie Madoff.
The cliffhanger promises nothing’s ever going to be the same starting next issue, so who knows, maybe it’ll at least stabilize. I sure didn’t think so last time, though. I guess I wasn’t ready to be so disappointed but now, bring it on.
Also, while Phillips has problems with the figures and the half splash pages accompanying text aren’t great, he still does a fine job with the New York City scenery.