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"Die #2" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Image Comics

Die 2 00

Written by Kieron Gillen
Illustrated by Stephanie Hans
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 9th, 2019

Review:

Ash, Chuck, Matt, Angela, and Isabelle have once again found themselves in the fantasy world of Die. Sol, the sixth member of their group, has been here for the past twenty-seven years. He was originally stranded here but he's made this his home, joyfully bringing his friends back to this strange and dangerous land. If they want to get home, they all have to agree on it and it's clear that Sol is pretty happy here. They're going to have to play the game again and that means getting their hands dirty.

Where the first issue of Die introduces us to the characters and the initial premise, this one greatly expands upon the mythos, digging into the rules of this fantasy world and what each player's role is. It's incredible to see how fleshed out writer Kieron Gillen has made this place. Everything has been thoroughly thought out and tied back to reality. For example, the group is confronted by an elf queen and we're told that she resembles a girl they all knew from sixth grade. This grounds Die and makes it even more familiar, like a great Stephen King novel.

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As great as the story and characters are, they pale in comparison to Stephanie Hans' brilliant artwork. This is some next-level stuff. The human characters are gorgeously illustrated, with traits from each one coming forward in their design. For example, Chuck plays as the fool, confidently striding into battle without a second thought. He smiles through a gap in his teeth with a fearless grin that's drenched in bravado.

Hans' talents extend to the other elements of Die with some of the most frightening creatures imaginable. They're like bizarre amalgamations of genres, incorporating elements from horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and steam punk. The moment you see these monsters on the page, you understand the stakes the characters are up against. This is not going to be a fun jaunt through the woods. This is going to be a challenge and they're going to have to face it if they ever want to see their families again.

While Ash and the others have been here before, they've tried to put it behind them. Sol has forced them to come back and relive everything they've been through and some are handling it better than others. Muscle memory comes into play as they're thrown into combat and it's interesting to see how the skill set for each one works.

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Ash narrates this issue and her internal dialogue is presented in black caption boxes outlined in red. Letterer Clayton Cowles casts an ominous tone on the comic with this touch, adding some additional weight to everything Ash says.

You might think you know what you're getting into with Die, but you are just scraping the surface. This book was described as “Goth Jumanji” and that's pretty accurate. It's like the most compelling and terrifying version of Dungeons & Dragons ever imagined. This book is packed with stellar character drama and jaw-dropping artwork. It is awesome in every sense of the word.

Grades:

Story: Fivestars Die 2 Cover
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Die 2 Cover
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Art: Fivestars
Overall: Fivestars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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