Kill or be killed comic recap
Issues 1-5 and 11-16 recapped by Jim Foster
Issues 6-10 recapped by Aaron Hopkins
There are 3 characters you need to know right off the bat. Dylan the main character who is a 28 year old grad student. His roommate Mason and then his best friend Kira who hes in love with but shes dating his roommate. Alright so theres a scene where Dylan is with the girl he was dating named daisy and they were on a bus. Men in the back of the bus were yelling at them hitting on her and when Dylan looked back at them they just start berating him. This kind of portrays Dylan as a meek and mild wimp and this leads to him fighting and bickering with his date for not sticking up for her. So then we find out Dylan resents his roommate for dating his best friend and he ends up being the 3rd wheel a lot when they go out. One night Dylan was in his room and he overheard the couple in their room talking about him. Kira ends up saying she feels sorry for him. We see a flashback where anytime his roommate Mason leaves Kira and Dylan would hook up. So him hearing Kira say she feels sorry for him drives him into suicidal thoughts. So Dylan goes up to the roof and starts to have second thoughts at first but then makes the leap and gets hung up on laundry lines. He falls to the ground but doesn’t die. He gets up hurting but then sees the beauty in the things around him. He rushes back to his apartment. He goes to bed and is looking forward for a new start the next day. A black smokey demon appears in his room and grabs him up by the throat and is berating him for attempting suicide. The demon tells him that Dylan is going to kill for him, and for every month he wants to live he needs to kill someone that month. The demon tells him that bad people are easy to find. When Dylan questions if the demon is real the demon locks up his arm behind his back and breaks it. The demon disappears as kira enters the room and sees Dylan in bad shape. She takes him to the hospital. Dylan is still convinced the demon is not real. 3 weeks later Dylan gets real sick and is playing it off as the flu. He looks in the mirror and sees the demon again for a split second ala Hogan and ultimate warrior. Dylan continues to struggle with what is reality or not and while walking on a snowy day gets mugged. Hes brutally beaten by a couple of thugs and while this is going on he sees the demon once again and the demons voice tells him he only has one more day to live if he doesn’t kill someone………………….
Dylan is now in search of a gun. He thinks his deceased dad might have one in his stuff stored at this moms so he makes a trip there. After sifting thru his dads fetish magazines he finds a gun. While flipping thru these magazines old thoughts creep into his head about stories an old friend told him. He told Dylan about how his brother would molest him. Dylan would look up his friends brother on facebook and find out hes a bartender. Dylan waits for the guy to get off and approaches him by the mans car. Dylan shoots the man in the head after confronting him.
Dylan is surfing online and finds the news story about the man he just killed. Kira was over at Dylans apartment because her boyfriend was away on a trip for the weekend. Dylan was avoiding her because he sensed she was noticing his new erratic behavior. Dylan continues to go to class to try and distract his mind off him murdering another man but he keeps coming across news stories about it. He eventually found out the guy he murdered ran a child sex ring. He began walking around and having preconceived notions of everyone just by looks. And the demon would appear in his head and tell Dylan his blinders are off. Dylan began spending time with Kira and we find out Kiras mom bounced from man to man and Kiras childhood wasn’t great. After the day together Dylan feels like kira and him have really made a breakthrough and then his roommate Mason returns and takes her to bed. This issue ends with Dylan doing research hoping to find who to kill next
Dylan is shown buying the serial killer starter set ski mask etc….they then show that Dylan and Kira anytime they can began having sex regularly. We move forward and find Dylan at a Russian strip club/brothel and hes getting a dance basically feeling out the place. He visited a few times to see the workers routines after closing. When Dylan returns home his roommate questions him on why hes been out late every night and Dylan grows paranoid that people might be on to him. Instead we see Mason call up Kira to try and catch her in a lie because he suspects her cheating on him with Dylan. Now we get the part where Dylan goes back to the Russian strip club and encounters the bouncer. He walks up to the man who just put all the women in a van and shoots him in the chest. Before Dylan leaves he decides to open the van and let the women free. When he does this one of the women is furious and attacks him beating the holy hell out of him, so Dylan as a last ditch effort to stave her off shoots her in the stomach. Cops arrive but Dylan dips out just in time and returns home. His face is bloody and swollen and he is confronted by Kira and Mason. They begin to question him again and Dylan fakes a mental breakdown just so he doesn’t have to make up lies to their questions. This would change the dynamic of him and kiras romantic relationship. The issue ends with Dylan telling Kira that they need to talk.
We see Dylan at a boxing club. He figured he needed to learn how to fight after the Russian whore beat him up. We find out Kira and Mason broke up and Dylan sees Kira once a week to catch up on things. We then see a short scene of Dylan killing another man who poisoned dogs, then we see Dylan at a gun show checking out weapons and modifications. Since he started killing regularly Dylan didn’t see the demon, only occasionally hear it whispering while feeling its presence. Dylan ran into his ex coming out of a boxing gym and she was shocked to see him there. This was the girl from the first issue that got cat called and Dylan didnt do anything about it. While they were catching up Dylan saw a man he recognized. A man that ran a pyramid scheme and cost a lot of people their savings. After some digging Dylan would find out the mans daily routine which didn’t deviate much. One day Dylan decided to hide out in the restroom of the restaurant the man frequented and wait for him. The man came in and Dylan appeared and shot in the man in the neck. A few moments later a cop entered and told Dylan to freeze
#6 Story picks back up with Dylan firing on the cop who caught him in the bathroom after shooting the Bernie Madoff type character, Dylan unloads at the cop driving hi out of the bathroom then claims to have a bomb, which sends the cops to clear out the restaurant while he escapes out the bathroom window. Taking a cab, he calls his drug dealer to meet him somewhere, since he doesn't want the cops questioning the cabbie and finding out where he lives. Dylan also mentions that it didn't register with him until later that the cabbie had a Russian accent, which is a bit of foreshadowing. Cut to the a cop, Lily Sharpe, who, we find out, investigated Dylan's first murder, leading to the kiddie porn ring bust. She has picked up on Dylan's various murders ans some of the common links between the cases, but can't get any of the cynical cops in her department to pay attention to her findings. So she goes to a newspaper reporter, hoping that giving him her findings will be enough for a story to show up in the paper, maybe galvanizing the dept. into action. Cut to Dylan and Daisy lying next to eachother, obviously having had sex, and finding that their relationship may be growing once again, and Dylan realizing it's a stupid mistake, but he plans n doing it anyway - a common theme in his story. He also discovers he's now front page news, which also gets the attention of the Russian mob, who think hes the same one who shot one of their enforcers at the strip club, with one of the bosses saying they need to find him before the police do.
#7 The issue begins with a series of reminiscences by Kira of family members and their deaths and we soon find she's recounting these stories to her therapist, as they discuss her various issues, but mostly her broken relationship with her mother ans her fer of being like her, despite trying not to be. Visually, we also see that she has changed her hair color from her previous bright red to a blue. A lot of this issue is dedicated to Kira and her life and relationship problems with her various family members and with Dylan. She eventually visits her mother in the hospital where she ans her stepsister discuss having to maybe put her in a home once she's out of the hospital. Kira and her mom play out their dysfunctional relations through their conversation. After the visit, Kira heads over to Dylan's apartment and finding him not at home, uses the key she still had from her time with Mason. She begins to snoop around, but suddenly hears someone coming in the apartment and hides in Dylan's closet, where she finds some prescription medication that does not belong to Dylan. Kirs takes the pills after the coast is clear in the apartment, apparently, and goes to a pharmacist to find out what they are. She aks if they psych meds, but he reveals they're just a low dose of valium, making Kira suspicious.
#8 Dylan talks about the fact that the police presence has been heightened in NYC for the past month due to his killing spree, and how oppressive it is, he revels a little bit in how powerful it makes him feel. He and Daisy talk about maybe arranging a gallery showing of his father's work, which Dylan rejects, citing that his dad was not proud of that particular work , and only did it out of need for money, that he would be embarrassed if that were what he was remembered for.He also lies to Daisy about how his father died, citing a heart attack when it was actually suicide. Thinking of this puts him back n mind of Kira and how he shared that secret with her openly the first night they met, and that fact makes him feel all the more lonely despite Daisy's presence. At the end of a date with Daisy Dylan comes home to find Mason watching a report about how the NYPD screwed up and beat the hell out of a kid wearing a red ski mask, thinking it was Dylan. The all comment about how this embarrassing incident will just make the cops ramp up their efforts more. Masonis somewhat dickish about the rent being due and Daisy and Dylan go to his room to get away from him, where Dylan discovers his medication is gone. He calls Rex, his dealer, to get more but has to leave a message, figuring he;ll get back with him soon, as usual.The next day, Dylan goes to the library to research about his next victim, a corporate lobbyist who made jokes about poisoned drinking water in rural areas his company dumped waste.He follows his target who is jogging in Central Park when his mark looks at him suspiciously and asks if he's following him. The lobbyist calls out for the cops patrolling the park and send Dylan running to get away and get lost in the crowd. he suddenly gets a call back from Rex who makes an excuse about resupplying his stash to explains his absence, but is actually revealed to be calling Dylan at the intimidation of one of the Russian mobsters who is looking for him.
#9 This issue begins with Dylan talking about how he was walking into a trap though he didn't know it at the time. Dylan gripes in his narrative about having to go so far to meet up with Re, and how it's an indictment of our health care system that he has to get his drugs from the black market. He meets u with Rex and almost immediately feels the situation going wrong as the Russian, Bogdan, draws on him and tells him not to move, which is exactly what he does, bailing out of the van door to avoid getting shot. This leads to a few pages of Dylan telling retroactively, how he was tracked down, starting with the Russian cabbie he talked about in issue 6. He talks to the mob, mentioning the fare he picked up the night of the Russian mobster and stripper shooting who smelled like gunpowder, who then met a shady looking guy whom he thought he might be scoring dope from. This lead to the Russians questioning various junkies and addicts about such a dealer and they eventually find one who knows him and is willing to rat him out. They nab Rex and question him about Dylan, but he doesn't know much beyond his name, as Rex had his phone set up to delete incoming numbers and only ID'd his customers with numbers. Then, when Dylan left his message about getting more meds, they had him. Back tot he current situation, Dylan whips the back doors of the van open seeing Bogdan is mistakenly covering the side door and gets shot by Dylan.Unfortunately, he also caught Rex a few times also, n some vital areas. He puts on his red mask and drops Rex off outside a hospital emergency room. Once he gets away from the hospital, Bogdan starts to come to in the back of the van. They go back and forth a bit with Bogdan trying to scare him but once he asks why he killed the mobster at the strip club, Dylan just reveals his entire story - the suicide attempt, the demon and his deal to kill evil people to prevent his own death. Bogdan realizes this means he's dead regardless and Dylan proves him right by shooting him dead. the deed done, Dylan sets the van on fire withe Bigdan in it and makes his way back home. Finally Dylan finds out that Rex was pretty much dead when he got him to the hospital and it is all over the news.
#10 This issue kicks off with the investigative team at the scene of the burned van theorizing about what message the killer is sending, while Lily Sharpe is bothered by the vigilante's action of leaving the wounded drug dealer at the hospital and torching the current victim. Lily is still dismissed by her fellow officers, so once again she decides to follow her own investigation and does surveillance on Rex's funeral, actually snapping a photo of her suspect without knowing, when Dylan shows up at the service. While Dylan is at the graveside, the demon appears to him again, asking why he's even there, since Rex was a bad guy. Dylan made excuses for him since he liked the guy, but eventually decides to lie low at his mother's outside the city. He avoids calling Daisy and returning Kira's calls and decides he's going to put his father's gun back where he took it from, which angers the demon. Dylan says he's done killing for the demon and he can kill him right there if he wants, but he refuses to do it anymore. He calls Daisy after this, saying he'd had to come take care of his mom, but he wanted to meet her for dinner. He starts to formulate a plan to draw the Russian mobsters away from his family and loved ones, fearing they eventually figure out who they are to him. He thinks about maybe writing a letter to the press, a la the Zodiac Killer, to ge t the attention on himself rather than having the Russians do more investigation in to finding him. Arriving back at his apartment, he runs into Kira who reveals she was in his closet when he had sex with Daisy and is the one who took his meds. He fantaszies briefly about the two of them getting back together ike some Hollywood romance story, but shuts Kira down in real life. He makes his way to Daisy's work to meet up with her and finds that she went ahead and arranged for his father's work to be shown in the gallery. Before he cna get mad at her, he spots the picture shown earlier in the story that clearly depicts the demon that has been harassing Dylan this entire time.
We pick up with Dylan at this doctors and him getting reassured that he needs to consistently take his meds to avoid mental breakdowns. Meanwhile Dylan was getting back to normal catching up on his school work and he had not see the demon even though he hadn’t killed anyone in over a month. No consequence. Dylan then wrote to the papers blaming new York for making him out to be a bad guy and that he was moving on to another city to murder their scum bags. The news and police check points subsided after his letter ran. He met back up with kira and after she found Dylan had broken up with Daisy they planned to go to a Halloween party together. Dylan became and then he became sick again exactly like he did when he first met the demon. After a war inside his head settled down he felt better. He went to a party store bought a Richard Nixon mask and stopped by kiras work. While he was waiting a man with a Russian accent stopped in and began asking questions about kira and her boyfriend Dylan to a fellow employee. Dylan heard everything close by while still in his mask. He followed the man outside and caught up to him while he was in his car. Dylan asked him a few questions then slit his throat
Dylan recaps the Halloween party and how it was a good night and he re connected with kira. He comes to the realization that he needs to attack the Russians looking for him instead of waiting around to be found. Dylan goes back to the strip club and finds out intel about a building where stripers go to have sex with patrons. He stakes out the place and then follows one of the higher ups that works. While he follows him around he sees the man make stop after stop collecting money from businesses until he follows him to a big house. Dylan gets out binoculars and sees the man talking to the Russian mafia boss. An older but tough looking man. After a couple of days of following the same man Dylan decides to hide in his backseat and wait for him. He pulls a shotgun on the man and makes him drive to an unsecured parking garage. He demands answers from the man and he refuses but after some convincing the man starts to talk. Dylan gets told everything the Russian mob knows which isn’t a whole lot just they know the names Dylan and kira and what general area they live in. after finding out what he needs to know Dylan blows the Russian mans head off.
Dylan was shown plotting his plan to kill all the Russians. He also continuing to go thru his fathers drawings and wondering why the same demon he saw was in his dads drawings so much. He was worried it was an undiagnosed family illness causing visions. At his moms house he questions her about the demon in his fathers paintings. She didn’t recall any information on the demon but brought the date on the back of book correlating with around the same time as his brother committed suicide. Dylan did not remember having a half brother but was shocked to hear he committed suicide just like his father did. After looking at old photos and remembering stories about how his father got screwed out of an art studio by some mobsters, Dylan was angry and ready to carry out his plan. He makes his way to the building he was staking out and confronts a man.
Issue starts with Dylan blasting Russians left and right in the whore house. He kills a lot of people here even including customers. Other Russians arrived and Dylan purposely left a coat behind with the addresses of the other Russian brothels written down and left in the pocket. The Russians scrambled to secure the brothels posting up a bunch of their men while cops were investigating the situation. Back I the apartment Mason tells Dylan if hes seeing kira don’t bring her to their apartment. Dylan explodes on his roommate and tells him shell be over whenever they please. Dylan puts on his trusty red ski mask and drives to the home of the Russian boss. With their men spread out thin protecting other buildings Dylan easily gets in goes to the room of the boss and blasts him thru the chest. Dylan now thinking the threat to him is over is thinking about his future with kira. While laying in bed kira tells Dylan that she found something interesting in his brothers files that they found. He heard voices and was seeing a demon before he killed himself. Dylan hops up shocked and the issue ends with him seeing kiras body but with the demon on it
After finding out the news from the psych report Dylan realized the demon was in head just as it has been in other members of his family. He began seeing the demon everywhere. He tried to ignore it but it kept showing up and talking to him about possible targets. Dylans meds weren’t working and he wasn’t telling anyone about his visions. One night Dylan decided to confess to kira about attempting suicide but before he could he began to argue with the demon. He would talk back and forth to kira then to the demon who let him know that mason was listening outside the door. Dylan opened the door and attacked mason until kira hit him with a lamp to stop him. They then put Dylan in a mental hospital gave him new meds and that still didn’t stop him from seeing the demon. During a group meeting Dylan began to tell a doctor that he was seeing the demon in front of everyone. He also confessed to the doctor that the demon told him the bad things people did and he would hunt them down and kill them while wearing a red ski mask. Dylan admitted that hes the vigilante the new York police were searching for. The doctor roared in laughter and told Dylan he was making up stories. The doctor then told Dylan he couldn’t be the killer because hes been here for 3 weeks and the killer murdered 3 people last night.
The doctor shows Dylan the vigilante killer as for he was caught on camera several times doing the killings. The killer looked exactly like Dylan but was killing low level street crooks instead of bigger time criminals like Dylan was. Dylan tells the doctor that it’s a copycat killer but the doctor doesn’t believe him and changes the meds hes taking. The new drugs made him tired and slow all the time. Eventually he would see the doctor again. The doctor would ask him several questions mostly about his childhood and wrote down notes from dylans answers. He then sent out of his office. When Dylan left the office he saw a worker there grope a drug induced patient so he followed them. Right as he gets close to them a nurse finds Dylan and escorts him back to his room. A newspaper comes out about the vigilante copycat killer and how he is still murdering people but this time the copycat killed a cop. Next we see dylans roommate mason on the phone to the psych ward asking about Dylan. Then we pan over to see that mason had been going thru dylans stuff and has found bullets and a red ski mask. After being told he got released mason gets on the phone to the new York city police tip hotline to tell them he thinks he knows who the vigilante is.
Thru 16 issues I really enjoy this comic. The only downside is just how easy he consistently gets out of jams, which makes it even more hokey.
7.5/10 -*Jim Foster