Another day, another adventure stuck in an RPG hellscape for our merry traveling party. Though split, things in Die are getting more and more complex as the group attempts to find a way to exit the world for the second time. Well, most of them are attempting to find a way out at least. With Ash and Izzy fighting for the fate of Angria, the rest of the party is doing kind of the opposite, looking to end Ash’s reign on the throne. It’s during this that we find the ultimate motivation for the world of Die: what brought these five adventurers (and Sol, who remained inside) back to this world. This series continues to really push the pace, adding more and more complications to the world, its players, and the NPCs that inhabit the game.
Writer and co-creator Kieron Gillen is skilled at many things as a writer: creating brilliant worlds and interesting characters and being incredibly morose. During the reading of this volume, I noticed an obvious pattern in his work, which is that everything is highly emotional and coupled with a deep love of literary history, much of which makes it into his work as either a theme, an inspiration, or as a direct reference. This is not meant as a criticism, but more as an observation, and a pattern that helps lead his work to the heights they’ve been able to reach. This environment is perfect for this style, and Gillen is building a fascinating world to get lost in.
Artist Stephanie Hans adds to this with an incredible and devastatingly effective art style that brings this world to life in a brilliant way. Her use of limited, but very specific, color choices, as well as the painted style in which she works, makes for a visual style that lends itself perfectly to this series. It’s messy in parts and impeccably smooth in others, all at the right moments.
This series is going somewhere very interesting, as much of the conflicts are coming to a head. While just over a dozen issues in, this series is already ramped up to a pretty high amount of tension and conflict, and it will be interesting to see how this world continues to develop, as well as how the accompanying, real-life Die RPG game evolves as the series does.
I love titles like this, because they’re multi-layered and built with so much love. Anything that can operate as Die does is a product of a lot of effort and endless passion. Combining that with an entire other medium with the tabletop game is just a brilliant feat, and something that is infinitely interesting to me.
Creative Team: Kieron Gillen (writer), Stephanie Hans (artist), Clayton Cowles (letters)
Publisher: Image Comics
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