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Comic Book / Kill or Be Killed

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An Image Comics Comic Book series written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Sean Phillips. The story revolves around Dylan Cross, a troubled 28-year-old grad-student who is Driven to Suicide by a series of hardships. Dylan's attempt to take his own life miraculously fails, only for him to be visited by a demon. The demon offers Dylan a choice, either kill a "bad person" once every month or die at the end of said month. Needless to say, Dylan chooses the former, and decides that the best way to go about his indentured servitude is to prowl the streets of New York City as a vigilante.



  • Cruel Twist Ending: Dylan survives being shot and is allowed to continue his vigilante career while living with Kira, while Sharpe gets a promotion for her role in bringing down the Russian mob. Except this is all Dylan's dying fantasy as he succumbs to his wounds instead.
  • Deal with the Devil: After saving him from his suicide attempt, the demon makes a deal with Dylan; kill at least one person a month to live or die at the end said month.
  • Deconstruction: Of vigilantism.
  • Downer Ending: Dylan dies taking a bullet for Detective Sharpe, and it's hinted the revelation that Dylan was the vigilante gives Kira the same bleak worldview and psychosis.
  • Fair Cop: Averted with Lily Sharpe, who is more conventionally attractive.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Dylan was a depressed graduate student with little going for him. Now he's a hardcore vigilante with a body count in the double digits.
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  • Sequel Hook: The story ends with Kira giving inner monologues similar to Dylan's and glimpsing the demon in her bathroom mirror, hinting that she may pick up where he left off.
  • The Hero Dies: Dylan.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Over the course of the series, Dylan goes from an amateurish, albeit, lucky vigilante to an unstoppable killing machine.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Sharpe busting the Russian mob is revealed to be part of Dylan's dying fantasy, and we aren't told whether that happened in real life or the mob beat the rap.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Kira dyes her hair blue and orange at different points, and sometimes goes natural blond.

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