Kieron Gillen’s DIE #1

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Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art: Stephanie Hans

This article was brought to you by the gift of a review copy, QWERTY and rolling natural 20s…but not with that specific die.

If you are a fan of The Wicked + The Divine, you already want to check out Kieron Gillen’s newest comic just out of curiosity. WicDiv is winding down and we all need something to replace it, don’t we? Will a story about forty-year-olds who disappeared into an RPG for two years as teens, like the 80s Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, be that replacement?

No, it doesn’t work that way. DIE already is it’s own different thing. Don’t think I didn’t notice that the title is basically a pun, so I’m probably going to love it just for that. It’s not only a pun, but written out on the geometric pattern, which when folded, make a 2o-sided die. Difficult for a straight-forward banner image for an online article, but entirely appropriate.

Cover art and logo of DIE #1 © Image Comics

Cover art and logo of DIE #1 © Image Comics

From the outset, the painterly style work of Stephanie Hans sets a more mature tone. WicDiv could get dark, but Stephanie Hans refreshing art gives us a layer of somberness. Whether that ends up being something readers relate to or ends up depressing remains to be seen. These characters are disillusioned, not only with fantasy, but with living their lives in the aftermath of returning. None are the same, but they certainly aren’t looking back on their adventures fondly. Most seem to be living with some version of PTSD and not living with it very well.

This first issue is low on fantasy and high on character establishment. What little happens in the issue is direct and moves us into things quickly. I appreciate this pacing, since most current comics follow a trend of drawing out their characters’ origin stories. There’s a very cinematic feel to this first issue. In fact, it reminded me why I prefer to read collected trade paperbacks rather than singles. I can just keep reading the story after a killer of a cliffhanger panel like DIE #1 has. Now we have to wait for the next issue.

It’s just as well that WicDiv is ending, so I have some room to add DIE on my pull list at my local comic shop.


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    Timothy Connolly

    I rather enjoyed the part where each of the main characters is given a different polyhedron.

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