OEL Comic Review | Pain Killer (PainKiller) by HamletMachine



There will be spoilers for the OEL comic series Pain Killer (sometimes stylized as PainKiller).

Content Warning: There may be references to rape, dubcon, , power imbalance, victim-blaming, gossiping, violence, blood, and death, as they appear in the comic.


The world is overrun with and there is a group of warriors designated to clear the surface. Juan is one of these warriors. He travels to the surface to fight these creatures, and while many of the monsters do exclusively want to kill and eat these warriors, many also want to dominate them. These monsters crave more than the taste of human flesh, and though Juan tries his best to fight them off, he finds himself in the throes of passion with these creatures.

Of course, he shouldn't want it. He shouldn't enjoy it. But after he's rescued and integrated back into human society, can he ever forget the pleasure he experienced?


The art and designs in this are giving me Studio Trigger. If you'd told me Juan was from Promare, Gurren Lagann, Kill la Kill, or Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, I'd believe you. No questions asked. And it is everything. It isn't the cleanest style within the book itself, but it's very lovely all the same. If you've read Lucifer's Garden and Starfighter, both by , I'd say this is the perfect mixture of those two styles. It has the rougher aspects of Starfighter but the style of Lucifer's Garden if that makes sense. But like Starfighter, this also doubles as an artbook, so along with the story, we get lovely additional scenes and scenarios, including a trans variation of Juan, which is unfortunately rare in BL and MM comics. It was a very nice surprise and really adds to the value of the overall work.

Cover art for Pain Killer by

But the sex and in this? Studio Trigger wishes it could. Now, while I would still call this BL simply because it features relationships between men or male-coded monsters, it is not a romance in any sense. This is, once again, a reason why I wish the genre had a different name, as it encompasses things that don't necessarily include love and feels disingenuous. I do want to note the creator, HamletMachine, does not refer to this as BL. Still, by the genre definition, it technically is (plus, this is the BL library, so I'm going to call it BL, and they're a guest at Citrus Con 2024, a BL-focused digital convention, so yeah). This is a smutfest between monsters and humans, with a dark underlying message and painful undertones. If you're hoping for some smutty romance, unfortunately, this isn't the one.

While we're on the topic of dark underlying messages, let's talk about the storyline. This is very, very subtle, with very little in the way of actual exposition. Really, I'd say this is half story, half artbook, so if you're looking for a long story with lots of world-building, this isn't the one for you. The focus is definitely on the phallic, horny monsters, the realization Juan enjoys sex with said monsters, the judgment (including victim-blaming) from his fellow warriors, and then the dark realization that his boss or chief is sexually using him. The world is full of monsters, both the monsters that rape and consume humans but also within the ranks of humanity. None of this is necessarily explicitly said, but it is heavily implied, with dark and uncomfy tones throughout the story.

Again, there's not much in the way of development. We have no idea how this situationship started between Juan and his boss, we don't know why the world became so depraved and filled with monsters, and there's another character Juan seems to know (and is rescued by) that we know nothing about beyond his name and seeming leadership position. I imagine many people would be disappointed in the lack of context and world-building, but I think this lack of explanation and exploration adds to the atmosphere of the story itself. It seems like sex and war are really all there are in this world, and understandably, Juan might find himself craving the sex and ferocity that the monsters can provide. His world and his life are out of control, and while he doesn't gain any more control being with the monsters, it's a form of raw and animalistic pleasure, something he can't experience among the humans who judge him and control him. It's a kind of freedom he can't achieve within human society, and that's pretty powerful for a smutfest.


As of writing this, this is the last of my BL trio from HamletMachine, and this is a nice treat. It's the least amount of storytelling across the three, but it has the most artbook material, which I really enjoy and is a nice change of pace from everything else I read. It's an intriguing world with interspecies smut, and deep, dark undertones that show us monsters are hidden within humanity, too. It's not the most well-developed story in the world, but it's a really nice look into a dark and depraved world. I recommend it.

Have you read Pain Killer (sometimes stylized as PainKiller)? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!

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