Kill or Be Killed (2016) #11

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The issue opens with Dylan narrating the shootout from the first issue, explaining how narration works. Unfortunately, it’s an entirely pointless few pages, with writer Ed Brubaker unintentionally making the narration incredibly condescending. As if we weren’t talking about narration devices any well-read fifth grader would be comfortable with.

Then Dylan takes us to therapy, where he’s back on his meds and getting his life back together. No more killing—six weeks have passed, though the narration makes it seem much longer—he’s doing school work again and even ready to hang out with Kira. We find out he dumped Daisy for stealing his dad’s art as a surprise to him; she just did it to impress her boss, he tells Kira during their chemistry-absent conversation.

They make a date for Halloween, and everything seems right with the world. Dylan even writes a letter to the papers telling them the vigilante’s retired. But just because the NYPD gives up the search doesn’t mean the Russian mob is as forgiving (especially not after six weeks). And then there’s the matter of the demon.

Dylan’s convinced he didn’t see the demon in his dad’s artwork as a kid because he remembers everything from being a kid (I’d forgotten how moronic the character’s ideas get, Brubaker was doing better with it for a while). So the demon must have been haunting his dad too! Or, wait, maybe he just had bad falafel.

The last scene, with Dylan returning to the Frank Castle impersonating, is pretty good. Easily Sean Phillips’s best art in the book, which is otherwise very, very lazy. The talking heads scene between Dylan and Kira looks terrible. I’m also not going back to see if they reused the art from the first issue for this one. If no one’s got time to make this comic well, why make this comic?

It’s a flimsy start to the third arc, and I shouldn’t really be… but I’m surprised. I figured, this far along, Brubaker would be better at bullshitting his way through the comic.

Nope.

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