Writer: Kieron Gillen / Artist: Stephanie Hans / Image Comics
Where do you start with a story that is just so unbelievably well-crafted and executed? When the premise of the story constantly evolves in new and terrifying ways, how exactly do you process the metamorphosis? What happens when you are constantly challenged by the things you took for granted? Die is unbelievably good and asks these questions with its booming presence. Every page, every panel is an interrogation about escapism as a coping mechanism. It asks us to look at our relationship to fiction and fantasy. Four issues in, and the gripping tale only continues to tighten its hold.
Die #4 explores one of the most important parts of any tabletop campaign: the entrance into the Hub City – in this particular case, Glass Town. Glass Town is famed in story as being the first city of Die and the main set piece for the party’s musing on their current adventure.
Gillen’s story telling is top notch, allowing each of the characters to have a particularly poignant moment throughout the single issue. Ash’s narration continues to be a perfect mix of cynicism and exposition that gives a peek into the world at large while little details betray Ash’s conflicted feelings. We get glimpses about the costs and toll Angela’s and Isabelle’s magical powers have had on them. Matt continues to exemplify the title of Grief Knight. Chuck revels a little too much in the debauchery. And Sol… he remains a looming background presence. His power as Grandmaster is rightly feared and his mere existence is a source of constant stress.
You pair all of the above with Hans’s gorgeous artwork, of course you’re going to get a critical success. It’s hard to extol Hans’s enchantingly haunting artwork, that is evocative of all of the famous fantasy stories, while having a uniquely modern flair that is absolutely engaging. If you’re not reading Die already, I’m telling you it’s not too late to start. This is a standout title that demands to be read, and I may like Ash’s Dictator Voice, but I need more folks to be experiencing the majesty of this series.
9.9 “Hub Cities” out of 10
Reading Die? Check out BNP’s other reviews here.