Die #5 // Review
Dungeon and Game Masters the world over can share in the misery of a group of players who refuse to follow the carefully-plotted story that’s been laid before them. From Dungeons and Dragons, to Star Wars, to Pathfinder and every other game in between, someone’s intricate plans have always gone awry at some point. Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans must have at least heard a few stories, or been on one end of them because Die issue five explores precisely what could happen if the Players refuse to play by the rules.
Alongside Keiron Gillen’s writing and Stephanie Hans’ art, Clayton Cowles also returns to letter the pages.
Having arrived in Glass Town and confronted what they used to be and what their friend Sol has created, everyone is slowly coming to terms with the fact that Sol, the game master of the world of Die, will not let them go. With Glass Town being the most secure and heavily armored city in Die, the question doesn’t become what the party will do to complete their mission. Now it becomes what won’t they do to get home, and will they want to go back with what they’ve become?
Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans have come up with a plot twist that comes right from the best and worst tabletop games. It rings true, not just to the desperation of the characters to return home, but also to real life’s ability to have players just wholly ignore the railroad of a plot in front of them. There are also some wonderful character moments, such as more information about how the Grief Knight works, and how it affects Matt as he tries to carry on. Isabelle the Godbinder also gets some enjoyable time with her Gods, and the entire book comes off as both catharsis and revenge against demanding GMs as well.
Once more, the art is nothing short of fantastic. Stephanie Hans’ art flows across the page, rich with emotion and thick with detail. The destruction of the Glass Town is nothing short of breathtaking, filled with colors splashing off the page and details galore. The sepia tones used for a flashback page is also a nice touch, giving it that ‘older’ feel without being overly obvious. The enemy type of Fallen is also introduced in this issue, and the design is genuinely chilling and wrong in the best way. It would be shorter to say what this book does wrong, and that would be that it ended.
Die has once more proven that this is a book that deserves to be in your long box or on your shelf. Compelling characters, twisted motives, and beautiful art make for an utterly fantastic package. If you’ve not checked this book out yet, you need to.