Trade Of The Month: Kill or be Killed

Cover Image

Ed Brubaker
Sean Phillips
Elizabeth Breitweiser

Kill or be Killed Volume One is created by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Elizabeth Breitweiser. Ed Brubaker is known for pulp fiction stories much like this one. Sean Phillips does a lot of dark, gritty art in comics. Elizabeth Breitweiser has done a lot of coloring in books like these. The basic story is a college kid has to kill or will be killed. It's a lot more complicated than that though and I'll get into all of it, the story, writing, art, colors, and more.
Kill Or Be Killed Vol. 1
First off this book doesn't say that the writer is Ed Brubaker, artist is Sean Phillips, and Elizabeth Breitweiser is colorist but that is what they do in comics. I assume that's because they all had a hand in creating this story. You can always tell when a creative team works and gels well together. This is one of those books. I will address each aspect of the book separately though.
As said before the basis of the story is that this college kid, Dylan has to kill or be killed. Like I mentioned, it's a lot more complicated than that. As it turns out its a demon that is forcing Dylan to kill. The demon is forcing him to kill because it saved his life. It saved his life when he tried to kill himself. He tried to kill himself because his best friend, Kira, told his roommate, her boyfriend, that she pitied him. This sent him over the edge. Now if he doesn't kill one person a month for the demon the demon will kill him so KILL or be KILLED. That's the long of it.
Kill Or Be Killed Vol. 1
Maybe the story doesn't sound that interesting to you or it sounds cheesy but it sure as hell doesn't look like it and the art should definitely pique your interest. The art is pulpy, gritty, dark, bleak, and seems so real. It really sends the message home of realism, that this could be anyone, happen to anyone, it could even be you. There's a wide array of locales and environments that the artist uses. The story takes place in real world New York, USA. There's Dylan and his roommate, Mason's, apartment in New York City. Dylan attends NYU. They show Coney Island. He visits his mom in New Rochelle. There's a strip club, of course subway, streets of NYC, and school. It keeps it fresh and yet familiar with the apartment being the constant. The colors are killer. Despite being a dark, gritty, pulpy story it has a wide array of colors. The color palette gives it life, love, and sustainability. No doubt this is a dark book in tone and visually but don't let that fool you into thinking there's no color. The shading and color is what makes it so powerful, realistic, and resonate. It can't imagine the art being any better than it is. It's perfect for what it's going for.
Kill Or Be Killed Vol. 1The writing almost seems like it doesn't know what it's going for but that's actually part of its charm. The narrative is told through Dylan's point of view. It genuinely seems like some sort of amateur story teller because it he is goes on tangents and has to backtrack the story. In essence this just makes it seem more real and organic. It just gets better as it goes on. The dialogue flows naturally and the characters feel so realistic because of the things they say and how they say them. What's even better is you don't know if he's just crazy or the demon is real. By the end you realize how brilliantly it is laid out and designed.
How all these things comes together is where the magic happens. This creative team works seamlessly together. It makes that they didn't label themselves as writer, artist, and colorist. This is a brilliantly made book. Everything flows so well together. The colors are killer, the art slays, the writing murders, and all together it blows you away. This couldn't be anything other than a STRONG BUY!!!


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