Writer: Kieron Gillen / Artist: Stephanie Hans / Image Comics
It is the first February New Comic Book Day of 2019 and I’m so hyped on Die #3 that I am entirely confident that by the time we get to the last New Comic Book Day of 2019 in December, I will still be singing praises of Gillen’s and Hans’ story. No author/artist duo needs to go so hard in the paint, but Gillen and Hans keep managing to outdo themselves and by the end of their opener triptych, the two have done three incredible things:
1) Create a darkly twisted fantasy horror story that stands alone on its own merit through both clever writing and breathtaking panels.
2) Added an incredibly complex layer of meta-analysis of tabletop roleplaying as it relates to both coming-of-age and escapism from the capitalist framework.
3) Act as a homage to different great fantasy stories, shining light on the intricate web between different source materials and our exposure to them.
There is so much going on in each issue of Die, and I devour the issue the moment it becomes available. Ash’s narration commands respect, but like their class of Dictator implies, it can be casually flippant before stopping on a goddamn die to note the sheer tragedy of the party’s circumstances. It is almost “unnatural” how easily it is become vested in Ash and her party as they circumstance navigate the strange icosahedron of a planet.
I would even go so far to say that the first five pages alone are worth the price of admission. The opening monologue about the title Dungeons & Dragons with Gillen’s signature wit followed by one of the awe-inspiring splash pages from Hans tells you everything that you need to know.
1) If you’re a fantasy fan, you need to be reading this.
2) If you’re a horror fan, you need to be reading this.
3) If you’re in a tabletop, you need to be reading this and paying very close attention to what happens because what’s going on with the comics will be reflected in the game mechanics of the new Die RPG.
Die has changed the game and I’m not one to give out perfect scores so readily, but if I had to read one comic for the rest of eternity… I think I’m thanking Gillen and Hans for what is shaping up to be one of my favorite stories ever.
10 “Prussian Steel Dragon Barrages” out of 10
Enjoying Die? Check out BNP’s other reviews here.
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