Comic Rewind: Kill Or Be Killed Vol. 1

A man is given a second chance on life after a failed suicide attempt, but it comes with a cost in Kill or be Killed Vol. 1.

Dylan is a 28 year-old grad student who lives with his roommate Mason.  Mason’s girlfriend, Kira, is Dylan’s best friend.  However, Dylan is madly in love with Kira and it kills him to see them together.

During the past few months Dylan and Kira have been having an affair behind Mason’s back.  One night Dylan hears Mason and Kira talking about him and how they feel sorry for him.  After hearing this through the wall Dylan decides to jump off the building and kill himself.

However, he hits everything on the way down and it breaks his fall.  He walks away with just some cuts and bruises, but he is too embarrassed to tell anyone that he was trying to kill himself.

Later that night a demon comes to Dylan and says I saved your life and gave you a second chance, but you owe me.  A death for your life.  Dylan must kill someone once a month in order to pay off the debt or he will die.  However, the demon says it can be bad people he kills.  He doesn’t believe the demon is real so the demon breaks his arm.

Dylan doesn’t really believe he will die if he doesn’t kill someone.  He thinks he just hit his head real hard and imagined it.  As the end of the month quickly approaches Dylan gets very sick and he thinks he may die he is so sick.  Dylan is walking one night and two homeless men beat him up and tell him he has one day left to kill someone.

At this point Dylan is left with a few decisions.  He must decide if he is going to kill someone and if he does then who?    

Kill Or Be Killed Vol. 1 was written by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser.  Image Comics published the volume in 2017.

This premise was really cool and a different take on an old concept.  A second chance on life has been done many times before, but this takes a very dark turn.

I like how grounded the story is.  It could have made Dylan into a superhero like Punisher, but he is just an average guy.  The love triangle aspect was really interesting and got me invested in how it turns out.  A great deal of the comic is just an average slice-of-life story as we look into Dylan’s life.

The art is the fantastic quality I always expect from this team.  I have talked about this team and my love for their work previously so I will just say it is really good.

I loved this book so much, but I have a minor complaint.  The ending was very abrupt and it didn’t wrap anything up.  The end of a volume should have some kind of resolution, but this seemed to end mid-story.  

It was both a great cliffhanger and an awful cliffhanger.  It was bad because it left me feeling incomplete and frustrated.  However, it was a great cliffhanger because I am dying to read the next volume.

Kill Or Be Killed Vol. 1 is another amazing comic by Brubaker.  A must read for all fans of Brubaker and non-superhero comics

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