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Kill or be Killed, Vol. 1

(Kill or Be Killed #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  4,144 ratings  ·  504 reviews
The bestselling team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (The Fade Out, Criminal, Fatale) return with Kill or Be Killed, Volume One, the twisted story of a young man forced to kill bad people, and how he struggles to keep his secret from destroying his life.

Both a thriller and a deconstruction of vigilantism, Kill or Be Killed is unlike anything Brubaker and Phillips have ev
Paperback, Trade, 128 pages
Published January 24th 2017 by Image Comics
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Dave Schaafsma
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gn-crime, brubaker
I read all of this in single digital issues I actually bought, one by one, which is very rare for me but anything by Brubaker and Phillips and I drop everything. It's a comic about a schleppy guy, Dylan, a sometime half-assed grad student whose life is not going anywhere, who secretly loves his best friend, a woman who is dating his roommate. Not interested in this guy? I know what you mean: Loser. And then he tries to end his life over his agony over her by throwing himself out a window, landin ...more
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
It turns out that being a gun-toting vigilante who kills people indiscriminately isn’t as easy and fun as Charles Bronson made it look like in those Death Wish movies. Who knew?

Dylan is a grad student with a lonely crappy life and a history of depression so it’s not that big of surprise when he decides to end it all one night by jumping off the roof of his building. What is a surprise is that he lives, but then he starts seeing a shadowy demon who claims that it saved him and now he owes a debt
oh, great - ANOTHER serialized graphic novel for me to be hooked on...

review to come.

"Because the world is shit right now, and we all know it."

Brubaker, Phillips, and Breitweiser are great. This is Brubaker at his most brutal and honest, violent and beautiful, where we learn of the tragic but somehow noble life of Dylan, failure turned grad student turned killer. Phillips' art is photorealistic, capturing the darkness of New York and its people in exquisite detail. And Breitweiser's muddy colors are sublime.

Crime. Dark characters. Love triangle. Demons. This is absolute pulp br
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ircb-2019
Alright! A new book by Brubaker and Phillips. This dynamic duo just keeps on cranking out awesome comics. In this one , our hero (or anti-hero) goes to kill himself and is saved by a demon. The demon demands he has to kill someone every month or he himself will die. So he starts searching out people who deserve to die which is harder than you might think.
Sam Quixote
Nov 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Dylan is a 28 year old grad student who decides to commit suicide because some girl doesn’t like him – aww, poor widdle baby! Except, at the last moment, a demon saves his life! There’s a price to his second chance though and Dylan must kill someone who deserves to die every month otherwise the demon will take his life. Dylan must… Kill or Be Killed!

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ latest original series isn’t bad but it’s unfortunately not of the same high quality as their last one, The Fade Out
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Brubaker and Philips, I think that's currently my favorite duo in comicbook world. Blurb says "Kill or Be Killed is unlike anything Brubaker and Phillips have ever done",I feel like that's not entirely true . While main ingredient is different all spices and cooking method are the same as in Criminal. It's still character driven crime story with bleak atmosphere and just the right amount of pathos. ...more
Dylan is a depressed grad student and kind of a pussy, pining over his best friend Kira. He decides to end it all by jumping off a building and then miraculously survives, with a whole new love for life. But then he realizes that in exchange for his life, he's sold his soul to a demon who demands that he kill one deserving person every month, as mandatory rent for living his own life.

The whole idea of the Faustian deal with the demon felt a little lazy and contrived, but what it leads to, a youn
James DeSantis
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Whoa, this might be one of my fave graphic novel first volumes ever. Right off the bat it starts off amazing.

So Dylan is a person who sees the world how it is. It's messy, dirty, and honestly shit. His political views and ideas actually coassign with mine. However I don't let that effect my like of a character. I disagree with half my favorite character's written ways and what they do. My main focus is having well MADE character's that reflect who they are not just what the author is and thinks
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Boy, did I have 'like' / 'dislike' issues with this volume. 'Like' is winning the day right now, however.

Dylan is a loner-ish type of guy, a NYC-based grad student living comfortably - but not outrageously - due to a small inheritance from his father's death. A reserved and quiet young man, he's living an underwhelming life in his late 20's while pining away for a female friend who is dating his roommate.

When Dylan botches a suicide attempt, he falls into a quasi-Devil & Daniel Webster situatio
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
No pun intended but Brubaker and Phillips killed it again! This story hits the ground running with a back to front chronological telling of his origin.

This is a different concept to what I'm used to from Brubaker and an intriguing one. I must admit I've had a similar fantasy and it's great to see it put to paper in an entertaining way. You could say it's a punisher style of killing with a super natural element but there's a lot more to do with the character that makes this a real page turner.

Emily B
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics-read
Kill or be Killed is an entertaining comic with a good plot and interesting artwork. I found it easy to read and follow, it's not complicated but detailed enough to keep your interested.
I look forward to reading the remaining volumes and will probably read them all toady!
Dec 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: image-comics
When Dylan miraculously survives a suicide attempt, he's confronted by a demon. A demon who orders him to repay his debt for the life he tried to throw away by taking the lives of "bad people". Killing isn't as difficult for Dylan as he or the reader might expect, but balancing what the book labels as "vigilante justice" with his troubled mental state and personal life provides more of a challenge.

This is the first book i've read by the acclaimed creative team of Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phil
May 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Very interesting concept, the first issue in this trade is amazing really sets up the plot nicely, plus stunning artwork as per usual. A guy gets forced into a life of being a vigilante by a demon.

He's gotta kill 'bad guys' and you may guess where that may end up in a few volumes down the road, of who is really 'bad' or 'good' but in this volume we don't really get into that ol' discussion. Dylan the protagonist, just something about him i didn't like, i wanted to because the whole thing just r
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

I won't say this is my favorite Brubaker/Phillips endeavor. Dylan is exactly the type of mopey male protagonist I hate - he's the quintessential "Nice Guy" with a rather good life, if he'd get out of himself.

What makes this more interesting is the vigilante angle - was it a demon, or is that just Dylan's justification for what he does?

As always, I'm still intrigued where this series is going, so even though Dylan makes me want to strangle someone, I'm in for the ride.
Ayman Gomaa
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
3.5 stars

After hearing that John Wick director going to direct this comic , I was excited to find out more about it .

It was a hell of a story with great paintings too .

Dark , bloody , violent and thats enough to know after John wick Trilogy end this is the new one coming to fascinate us .

loved some of the quotes and how he see the real world as we see the truth of it so the call us the Pessimist people .

Volume 1 is a prologue for what's coming and i can't wait to know more about it .
Wing Kee
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5. A nice little character study.

World: I love Sean Phillips art, the tone and the emotions that come out of his art is perfect for people who love noir and grounded gritty books and this is just that, it’s gritty, it’s dirty, it’s flawed and it’s human and the shadows and colours make it so much more amazing. The world building here is solid, it’s a basic premise that is well thought out and self contained to allow for interpretation and also for drama to play out. The pieces that Brubaker ha
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, fiction, comix
After surviving a suicide attempt, Dylan is approached by a Demon who credits itself with saving his life.  In order to continue living, Dylan must seek out and kill one person per month, one person who deserves to die due to the lives they lead.  Dylan is skeptical but the month comes to a close, he finds himself on death’s door battling an unknown illness.  So when he quickly recovers following his first kill, he decides he has no choice but to keep moving forward.

To be honest, I was worried e
L. McCoy
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of comics about vigilantes and/or demons.
Warning: I get slightly political in this review so if you mind that, get away from this one.

What’s it about?
The main character (Dylan) is depressed... so depressed that one night he jumped off the top of a building but lived. At first he was actually kinda happy he lived until he saw a demon. This demon saved Dylan’s life but in return Dylan has to kill at least one person every month. At first Dylan thinks the demon isn’t real... but he might be wrong about that.

Why it gets 5 stars:
The story i
Rory Wilding
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
As much as we love superheroes to stop bad guys and save the day so that the world can be a better place, there are some who prefer the word "vigilante" since they are working outside the law and before the likes of Batman and Superman, there were characters from the pulp magazines such as The Shadow with stories that embraced the darkness that comes from vigilantism as this is clearly evident in the latest Image comic by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.

Life is going well for Dylan, an average, de
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Kill or be Killed is a dark story about demons. Both real and imagined.

Dylan is a grad student and has some issues with depression. One night he tries to commit suicide by jumping off a roof. Strangely, he doesn't die. What was attributed to fate was, in truth, a demon. The demon explains that Dylan's life was bought at a price- Dylan must kill bad people. One a month. Otherwise Dylan dies.

This is the basis for a cool story about Dylan channeling his Inner-Punisher. The dark and grim outlook of
Aug 02, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: graphic-novels
Hmmm. You had me at vigilantism.

Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Because the world is shit right now, and we all know it" It's so GOOD...

Dylan, a main character is very interesting and the whole story is really realistic.

Looking forward to the next volume.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kill or Be killed has all of the scrapping of a psychological thriller with an unrequited love turned complicated relationship twist. Dylan is a graduate student turned vigilante when his dark mind turns on him resulting from untreated depression. He attempts suicide after his best friend Kira evolved into an unrequited love complicating the relationship through sex behind the back of Mason, who is Dylan’s roommate and Kira’s current flame. Dylan’s always been a good guy and doesn’t desire to ki ...more
Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)
I should've seen this one coming. Brubaker and Phillips do it again with another brilliant and dark story as they integrate a supernatural force into their masterful mystery thriller that now serves as a character study of a man pushed by his mind into vigilantism. The artwork is phenomenal and the story is gripping from start to finish.

Yours truly,

Lashaan | Blogger and Book Reviewer
Official blog:
Jul 03, 2020 rated it really liked it

I've seen a lot of people rave, about Brubaker's Kill or be Killed and i have to say it did not disappoint at all.

Kill or Be Killed is about a depressed twenty eight year old called Dylan. One night, Dylan attempts suicide but somehow he survives the jump from his building.

When he goes back inside his appartment, a demon is there waiting for him, who tells him that second chances don't come cheap. Dylan now has to kill one person a month or else he'll die himself.

What i'm curious to find out is
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
And here we go, another comic series I'm addicted to; as if I didn't already have enough material to read.
This was spectacular. Can't wait to pick up the other volumes.
Quintin Zimmermann
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Brubaker and Phillips combine to create a dark synergy of pulp noir.

A brooding entry into a vigilante series littered with broken souls that cannot escape their mortal foil.

Kill or be Killed traverses psychological scarred pitfalls in gorgeous snow, cold to the bone, twisted in the heart, forlorn hope, forever ruined.

Eternity in the night of damned or be damned.
Feb 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
*Something is wrong with me, or the choices I make with the literature I buy, because it has really become ridiculous to have so many one and two star reviews as of late*

And yet, screw it! I'm done trying to figure it out.

On to the review:
I could have liked this one...
And I really wanted to, but the protagonist, Dylan, is an intolerant, cop-hating, preachy liberal douche. He ruined the entire story. I'm all about the anti-heroes, and a proponent for mental health and suicide awareness, but it's
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ABQ Graphic Novel...: * November 2017- Kill or Be Killed 3 9 Dec 09, 2017 07:21PM  

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Ed Brubaker (born November 17, 1966) is an Eisner Award-winning American cartoonist and writer. He was born at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.

Brubaker is best known for his work as a comic book writer on such titles as Batman, Daredevil, Captain America, Iron Fist, Catwoman, Gotham Central and Uncanny X-Men. In more recent years, he has focused solely on creator-owned titles

Other books in the series

Kill or Be Killed (4 books)
  • Kill or be Killed, Vol. 2
  • Kill or be Killed, Vol. 3
  • Kill or be Killed, Vol. 4

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