blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Kill or Be Killed (2016) #19


Based on the end reveal and what it means for the series-long narration… well, Kill or Be Killed, specifically writer Ed Brubaker’s work on it, goes from disappointing, tedious, and grating to pitiable. He’s even commented on the narration device to the reader before—when this arc started—so promising it’s not something lousy and then it being something worse than lousy….

If this were a script Brubaker had written at twenty and drawered for a couple decades, it’d make so much more sense.


Besides the sad ending, it’s a temporarily exciting issue–Die Hard in a Mental Hospital—but mostly an annoyingly tepid one. Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips, who’ve been doing talking heads scenes for years, entirely fumble this issue’s. Intrepid police detective Lily Sharpe is visiting vigilante Dylan in his mental hospital, and they’re going to talk about right and wrong. It’s a Punisher scene, probably a Punisher scene Brubaker’s written (or at least watched on “Daredevil”), and it’s terrible. Worse, Brubaker tries to soften the reader to Dylan’s perspective with a pointless two-page rambling about climate change and how it’s not liberals versus conservatives; it’s not rich versus rich. Sorry about your colorist, Ed, but we can quickly start with liberals versus conservatives. Especially since it’s less “rich” than capitalism, but he (or Dylan) doesn’t make that observation either.

Such a waste of pages. Though the opening sequence feels like Phillips only wanted to do so much art and no more, including the issue being set during a snow storm, so Phillips doesn’t have to draw the whiteout.

Kill or Be Killed is on me; I made this decision. But, wow, I did not need to know how lost Brubaker got on this book. I also didn’t need to see Phillips’s art continue its descent on it; just bring someone else in, like, wow.

One last disappointment then done forever. Unless they actually get a movie this time.

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