Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser
Publisher: Image Comics
Kill Or Be Killed (aka Karate Killers) was a 1976 South African martial arts film about a fighting tournament organized by two surviving officers of the Axis powers. While not exactly a great success, it did spawn a sequel called Kill And Kill Again, in which the protagonist, Steve Hunt (James Ryan) assembled a team of special operatives, including a man named Hot Dog, to take down a cult led by the guy who played Little Ricky on I Love Lucy.
Sadly, this comic book is not an adaptation of that film.
Instead, it’s the latest project from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, a team that has produced such a consistent level of high quality crime comics in the 17 years that they’ve been working together — the past few with colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser — that when they do something new, I can spend an entire paragraph talking about an obscure karate movie and still be pretty confident that everyone’s as excited about the new comic as I am. This time, their focus is on a young vigilante struggling to keep his secret as he takes out “bad people” and “slowly ruins his life.” With a premise like that, this might end up being the Brubaker/Phillips/Breitweiser-est comic of all time, even if they don’t get around to having Hot Dog show up