Kill or Be Killed (2016) #14

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Despite finally giving full context for the bookend writer Ed Brubaker started in the first issue, the comic still can’t make it interesting. The bookending device is less interesting the more protagonist Dylan talks about it, and he talks a lot about it this issue. Well, he talks about the next part of the plan. We’ve been seeing part one over and over.

Part two involves getting the Russian mob off his back through social manipulation. It’s a good enough plan, but it doesn’t translate to comics. They do it in montage, a series of panels showing the various wheels of the plan rotating. There’s nothing to the wheels, though, just Dylan telling us they exist. It’s boring.

Though the final payoff is flat too. Even before the ending reveal changes everything we know about Kill or Be Killed (again), nothing before it can compare. Without the big surprise, it seems like the cliffhanger might center on Dylan and his roommate. The roommate’s barely been a character; he used to date Kira, and now she’s told him she’s with Dylan. Dylan and the roommate have a tense confrontation about Kira, and Dylan refuses to back down. There’s a little visual forecasting the situation’s not resolved, but the big reveal is entirely unrelated to everything else.

Dylan’s got lots of narration in this issue. None of it particularly good, none of it particularly bad. He tells himself he wants to retire from being the vigilante, but then he tries to talk himself out of it.

Sean Phillips’s art is incredibly loose. The stand-off with the roommate is probably the worst since the roommate gets a splash page, and the figure’s awkward. Then the actual panels with the conversation, both the roommate and Dylan have the oddly sized head thing going on.

The comic seems to be promising it will be interesting soon for sure this time.

Guess we’ll find out, though, if Brubaker took fourteen issues to catch up to the first one’s opening hook, who can say how long it’ll take for him to actually progress the story.

It’s also peculiar because Dylan’s less likable than the roommate. In their stand-off scene, Dylan’s trying to assert his dominance and play alpha, whereas the other dude’s just trying to talk.

But, again, Brubaker will sort it out later; I’m noncommittally sure.

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