Review: KILL or be KILLED

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Kill or be Killed is a graphic novel that appeals and horrifies across a wide heirarchy of cognitive levels. At first glance, it is a visually dark and brooding thriller about vigilante justice. However, the story is so much more than that, especially in the context of the modern political climate; the protagonist is a lost and depressed graduate student  filled with harebrained monologues and literary references and ready to pay lipservice to cultural marxist, nihilist, and postmodern thought. I initially assumed this was just the author’s leftist voice leaking through as is often the case in contemporary American comics, but deep thematic movements that appeared around the protagonist’s psyche convinced me otherwise. The protagonist is a social justice warrior, steeped in red-and-black revolutionary imagery, but uses violence as a sort of redemptive ritual to stave off his own death through what is in the story a literal demon: his self loathing, ill will, and Nietzschean ressentiment. This is a very insightful and powerful indictment of the psychological state that breeds violence across Western Civilization through groups like Antifa, especially in universities. From where does this impulse emerge? Millenials find themselves in an overcrowded social heirarchy rife with intergenerational conflict for economic niches – and have as a class found themselves outmatched in a world of depleted resources and growing political tyranny. (Likewise, in Kill or be Killed, the protagonist is friendzoned by his lifelong love, the feminine force that represents the selective aspect of nature – very Jungian.) The position of the character reminds me of the social situation of mice in precollapse stages of Calhoun’s mouse utopia experiments – it’s wretched. In the late 19th century, Dostoyevsky noted this same spirit of nihilism and ressentiment brewing in Russia’s intellectual circles, which led the creation of one of the world’s most democidal regimes. For Dostoyevsky’s Raskolnikov the acting out of his murderous tendencies did not come without a cost, but for a millenial mouse in our utopia, what other options exist? The way that question is answered may define the course of innumerable lives even within the next decade.

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