Kill or Be Killed takes an altogether different turn

Issue #17

Ed Brubaker’s Kill or Be Killed already has a twisted premise, but it seems its latest issue takes things a step further. For context, the series follows a troubled man named Dylan who fails an attempted suicide. He then meets a demon who promises him one more month to live for every bad person Dylan kills. Uproxx gives the gist on issue #17, stating that Dylan is now trapped in an asylum. While he strives to remain honest, ironically, nobody believes he’s the vigilante running loose on the streets of New York taking down criminals.

Even though a killer leads the series, Brubaker hopes that readers will sympathize with the character. Dylan is essentially a good guy who’s forced to do bad things. In Brubaker’s interview with USA Today, the writer explained, “It’s the first time we’ve done a story about a very active kind of character thrust into these situations and trying to fend for himself, in a way you don’t feel like they’re doomed necessarily.”

The release of the comic series could not be more timely, as America now faces multiple issues related to the Trump administration. And it is not the only comic book material that is taking a jab at the current political state of the country. Dioniso Punk previously featured artworks and murals of superheroes punching Donald Trump as a gesture of defiance. Brubaker’s series, however, examines the complexities of violence and how it affects the anti-hero’s loved ones.

Vigilantes, superheroes, and whatnot, these characters are taking the mainstream spotlight. They aren’t just being used for propaganda for no reason. Games Radar reported that Kill or be Killed will be adapted into a movie by the director of John Wick, who is no stranger to depicting violent action sequences. Of course, the development may also be attributed as a snowball effect of Marvel and DC’s blockbuster film and TV successes. While major superheroes are already dominating the big screen, lesser known characters are gaining their own following through TV shows.

It’s not just a phenomenon exclusive to film and TV either, considering there are plenty of superhero video games, too. Who doesn’t love beating up other DC heroes and villains in the fighting game franchise Injustice 2? It’s the same case in the browser and mobile scene, where superhero dominance is immediately noticeable. Online platform Foxy Casino ports superhero-themed titles, like Amazon Queen and Feline Queen, both of which take major influence from existing superheroes. Comic fans will certainly get the references, which will be all the more enjoyable for them. What’s unique about Brubaker’s masterpiece though, is that it projects a good balance of dark and light elements. If you can get past the disturbing details, you can see that the narrative is essentially a battle of good vs. evil occurring internally for the protagonist.

Kill or be Killed is getting more complex as the story progresses. No one can predict where Ed Brubaker’s twisted ideas will take the series, but you can expect more plot twists. Hopefully, director Chad Stahelski will give the source material justice in his adaptation. The series holds a lot of weight in terms of dark themes, but judging by Stahelski’s past works, Kill or be Killed seems to be in good hands.


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