Kill Or Be Killed #15
I was delighted to see Kill Or Be Killed return this week, as it’s the best series I’m buying at the moment. This issue launches a new arc, and immediately places the book’s ‘hero’, Dylan, in a new situation - a mental health hospital - before filling in some gaps between the end of the last issue and the beginning of this one, and ending on yet another killer twist that (again) makes it very difficult to guess where the book is going.
Sean Phillips’ art is lovely, and (to my eye at least) just seems to be getting better and better. Pages like this one are just beautiful, and work perfectly to offset the negativity of the accompanying words, helping us to appreciate just how severely Dylan’s mental state has deteriorated:
There are also some clever things done with the layouts too, with oppressive tight grid patterns helping to reinforce the restricted nature of Dylan’s life in his new situation. It contributes to a very uncomfortable mood that serves the story very well, especially when it comes to the sections dealing with the ‘demon’ - which, more than ever this issue, feels like a brilliantly-realised metaphor for depression that will be immediately familiar to anyone who has ever struggled with those feelings.
Ed Brubaker’s writing is as sharp as ever too. Not just in the clever structure, which jumps around in time a lot but manages to keep things feeling elegant and clear throughout. It’s also in the way that the narrative voice plays with the reader, sometimes joking with us and sometimes actively addressing the preconceptions or theories that we might have about how this book is going to play out.
This helps to set up a brilliant closing sequence in which the rug is pulled from under us yet again, and we’re forced to wonder what else could possibly be going on in this story that we’re not aware of yet. I have my own suspicions, but - if the previous issues are anything to go by - Brubaker and Phillips are probably going to take this somewhere completely unexpected but perfectly fitting, which as a reader is exactly what you want from an ongoing comic.