First Impressions: Kill or Be Killed is Like One of the Better Punisher Runs (Kill or Be Killed #19 Review)

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Dylan is still locked up in the mental hospital for treatment, but his stay may be ending soon. A police officer arrives to question Dylan in relation to the vigilante killings, and a trio of Russian killers have discovered Dylan's location and are out to end him.

Kill or Be Killed #19 cover by Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser
Kill or Be Killed #19 cover by Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser

Ed Brubaker is among my all-time favorite comic book writers, so expectations were high for Kill or Be Killed. I'm glad to say that it mostly delivered with a solid Punisher-esque story of a vigilante killer currently trying to get back to said vigilante killing.

The comic is mostly approachable. There is a lengthy monologue towards the beginning espousing the evils of wealth without restraint. While I'm all for shouting one's ethical beliefs on whatever platform they have, it doesn't relate much to the main story of the comic and feels suspiciously like padding.

Once the story arrives at the mental hospital and Dylan, everything becomes clearer for the first-time reader. We now know who Dylan is, and we get to experience his fairly charming personality. Unlike Frank Castle, this guy has a sense of irony and can crack a joke.

There is a "the system is broken" moment between Dylan and the detective, which is very played-out discussion in comics. Thankfully, this happens shortly before the big finale, which is a tense and well-paced shootout in the halls of the hospital.

Kill or Be Killed #19 art by Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser
Kill or Be Killed #19 art by Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser

Brubaker has a tendency to be teamed up with incredible artists, and that is no different in Kill or Be Killed. Sean Philips is immensely talented, and this comic is a well-detailed and appealingly styled experience. The action scenes are especially well-composed. Elizabeth Breitweiser's color art is similarly good, giving a nice tone and palette to the book.

Kill or Be Killed #19 is slow to start and has its occasional dips, but the overall book is quite enjoyable. The main character has a lot of personality, the action sequence is great, and the artwork is fantastic. This one is recommended, even if you're new to the series. Feel free to check it out.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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