Writer: Kieron Gillen / Artist: Stephanie Hans / Image Comics
The beauty of Die is not that it is just a series of homages and whole plot references to great literary and tabletop gaming roots, but in the fact that it constantly forces a reexamination of those roots. Gillen and Hans have set out on a mission to examine different heroic archetypes and how they interact with classic story arcs. Die is a comic about overlapping interests and the rediscovering connections you once thought you understood only to uncover something a little sinister. All of this to say, Die is a comic that constantly surprises me in its ambitious and its deft art of textual and visual narrative.
That’s how your fight in Angria.
As the “Split the Party” arc slowly recollects all of the party members in one place, Gillen uses this opportunity to catch all of the characters up to date on some of the more recent revelations for the readers. Sol’s status as the Fallen is now common knowledge. The implication of what this change means is brought back out to the open. Gillen is very good at positioning the characters to be in the same mindset as the readers. In this positioning, we become further endeared and sympathetic to their plight. And then while we’re busy getting attached to the character, he proceeds to drop several bombshells about the lore of the world and forces a critical analysis of everything that led up to that point.
Yet, this quick pivot in the plot is only possible thanks to Hans’ incredible artistry and her showcasing her wide range of skills within the pages of Die #9. Without spoiling anything, Hans utilizes a drastically different style from the rest of the fantasy world trappings in order to help deliver some incredible exposition and cementing the series as one of the greatest literary horror fantasy comics, if not just stories in general. The tragic grandeur of Die shines bright in this latest issue.
Tabletop aficionados, horror fans, fantasy fanatics, comic connoisseurs, even literary buffs all have ample reason to be reading Die. This is an impressively crafted series that continually aims to one up itself in its execution and Gillen and Hans are more successful in escalating the stakes on every level. Buy the single issues. Buy physical. Buy digital. Buy the collected. But please, don’t wait to immerse yourself in this world.
9.9 “Junvenalia” out of 10
Reading Die? Check out BNP’s other reviews here.