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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Kill or Be Killed, Volume 4 (Crime) (Graphic Novels)

by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips (Illustrator) 

Publisher: Image Comics (August 21, 2018)

Softcover, 144 pages

The final volume in the series collecting issues 15 through 20. I have always been impressed by the collaborations between Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips- Fatale, Criminal, The Fade Out, & Incognito- and I tore this this book as quickly as I did all the others. These two have a style which makes it impossible to just put the book down. See here for volumes one, two, and three.
As we remember from the previous volume a depressed twenty-something who drunkenly attempts suicide by jumping off his apartment building. Miraculously, he survives only to be haunted by a demon that claims the hero owes payment for his life. One person a month must be killed at the main character’s hands or else the protagonist himself will die.
Since the last installment, the protagonist has checked himself into an insane asylum to deal with the possibility that the demon haunting him (and possibly his whole family) was a figment of his imagination. Meanwhile a copycat vigilante is roaming the streets, diverting the attention of the NYPD taskforce looking for the main character, and the Russian mob pops back up again.
The only thing holding the story back is the ending. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. The deal with the demon is left ambiguous, and might be passed onto the protagonist’s girlfriend- reminding me a little of the Grendel comics by Matt Wagner. It’s a conclusion which isn’t more exciting than the build up to it.

For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst. 

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