Die #4 // Review
Not all is gloom and doom in a tabletop game. After all, everyone has to have a break or a rest period to recharge. A place to swap stories and build character depth. The same applies to the world of Die. But with the heroes of our tale returning from a lifetime of absence, what kind of mark might they have left behind?
The dynamic duo of Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans return to provide the words and the art, of course, while Clayton Cowles places the letters on the page.
The Party comes across an old stomping ground from their prior time in the world of Die: the city of Glass Town. Encased in a shield resembling a D20 die, the town quickly welcomes in the Party without question. Remembering their deeds from years past, the Party is forced to come to terms with the people they once were, and who they’ve become.
Once again, the writing is nothing short of amazing. Kieron Gillen has a real knack for building a living, breathing world with his prose. The Glass Town is an incredible concept, and seeing how the party tries to relax with the stress of being back in the world is about as close to delight as this world allows. While the party could remain simply shallow pastiches of the generic fantasy cast, every character receives some sort of fleshing out here. It’s honestly amazing how a single word changes how a character is seen by the reader, and it feels like Gillen does it with ease. Gillen also addresses the fact that Ash has changed genders since arriving in Die, and does so in a way that feels as complicated as the situation is in reality.
The art of Die remains breathtaking, much like Gillen’s script. Stephanie Hans has a superb mastery of all aspects of the page at this point. Matt’s tale of heroism could have been a set of talking heads, or reactions from other characters. What occurs instead is a wonderfully moving tale with flashback sequences and body language that fills each panel with more emotion than most comics could hope to pull with an entire issue’s worth of pages. It’s hard to understate how much the art helps the already incredible writing, and the book is all the better for it.
It’s hard not to argue that this is one of the best comics out there, and easily the best fantasy comic around right now. If you’ve not picked up Die yet, and Fantasy is even remotely your bag, this comic needs to be in your collection. Or you could wait for the trade, though you’ll be waiting until June for that.