Kill or Be Killed (2016) #10

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Okay, so I don’t think I was expecting more from this comic, but I wasn’t expecting writer Ed Brubaker to take care of so much old business at once. Because even if he does an at best middling job of it, there’s all that middling at once. Like a greatest hits of tepid songs.

This issue brings back the lady cop—just to say she’ll be important later, but let’s watch all the dudes treat her like a moron—catches Dylan up with Kira after her issue, including the medication reveal (which makes Dylan’s narration exceptionally unreliable since he’s just told his reader about his anxiety attacks not his schizophrenia diagnosis), and then Dylan also finally sees that painting of the demon.

The painting the comic showed us after four or five issues. The painting in a box Dylan has been looking through for almost the entire present action of the comic. He’s just come across it in an exceptionally contrived manner.

Kill or Be Killed has definitely improved—outside the Kira issue, which is the series highlight, Brubaker’s at least raised the floor for the Dylan stuff—but with not everything being bad, it makes the wrong moves more noticeable. It’s better but always at a disadvantage.

Daisy shows up for a few pages; she’s going to be a disposable girlfriend, it looks like; nothing more than Dylan’s rebound from Kira. There aren’t not optics to Daisy being Black and the comic treating her like shit. Though, I guess when she did get scenes, they were better than Kira’s.

Artist Sean Phillips still can’t keep the lady cop’s facial features consistent. Her name’s not important. For better or worse, Brubaker didn’t turn Kill or Be Killed into a police procedural, after all. Phillips does better with Dylan’s weirdly sized head for most of the issue, but there are a couple of the odd-sized head panels. It stands out more than when Phillips is doing it the whole issue. It’ll never not be weird.

We also meet Dylan’s mom, who’s got no character whatsoever. She exists for Dylan to exploit her and lie to her. Cool.

I think I’ve changed my mind on it needing an editor; any good editor would just tell Brubaker to–being nice—put it in a drawer until he’s got better ideas for it or—being honest—tell him to nuke it from orbit.

It’s the only way to be sure.

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