Comic Book Reviews: ‘Kill or be Killed’ and ‘Warlords of Appalachia’

‘Warlords of Appalachia’

Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson  |  
Artist Jonas Scharf
Review by Krystal Moore,
 The Great Escape Louisville

The second civil war has come to America, and it seems Kentucky is the last holdout. This is a timely story about what happens to a country when an elected leader takes a different view of what liberty means.
As the story opens, we see the president doing what seems to be a radio broadcast, explaining why Kentucky needs to fall in line, and threatening military intervention if they don’t. We cut to scenes placing the action in the mountainous regions of the state. I’m not sure how places such as Lexington and Louisville are faring, but it’s worth some thought. Kade Mercer is the hero of the story, albeit a reluctant one. He hates the state of America, but his real reason for becoming involved is simply to protect his family.
This is definitely a dystopian story, but because of the setting in the mountains, the futuristic parts kind of sneak up on you. There are “blue boys” who are zombie-like, but they are humans who’ve fallen to a sickness from taking bad drugs. However, they’re seen by the characters as almost like the bogey man, from stories told by the old folks to scare the young from wandering too far into the woods. The twist being that they’re all too real.
The story was wonderfully-written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson. The characters are interesting and likable. Or, frightening, as the case may be. The art is dark as it should be, but also fittingly shows the beauty of the natural setting in the mountains of Appalachia.
If you like comics that aren’t just about super heroes, give “Warlords of Appalachia” a chance.

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‘Kill or Be Killed’ volume 2

Writer Ed Brubaker
  |  Artist Sean Phillips
Review by Meredith Harris, The Great Escape Louisville

“Kill or Be Killed” is another amazing team-up with Ed Brubaker on writing duties, Sean Phillips covering the art and Elizabeth Breitweiser doing coloring. The three of them have collaborated in some capacity numerous times in the past, always putting out stellar work. This might be the best yet.
“Kill or Be Killed” is the story of Dylan, a depressed college student in his mid-20s. After surviving a suicide attempt, he is visited by a demon who tells him he actually spared his life, and Dylan must kill one person a month if he wishes to continue to live. From child molesters to corrupt businessmen, Dylan becomes a vigilante of sorts. With a detective starting to connect the dots between the murders, and the Russian mob starting to come after him, Dylan starts to feel the pressure of his murderous double life.
In volume 2 (collecting issues No. 5-10) we get more into the stress of Dylan having to keep up with his deal with the demon, worrying about getting caught. The real question is: Is that demon even real?
When I read this book, I feel a little like I’m reading a television show, and I mean that in the best way possible. There’s a lot of Dylan narrating on sides of the pages that feel like voice over, it really gets you in his head. I feel like this comic is begging for a TV series.
“Kill or Be Killed volume 1 is on sale now, collecting issues No. 1-4. “Kill or Be Killed” volume 2 collects issues No. 5-10 and comes out Wednesday, Aug. 9. Obviously, I think you should check it out!

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