Writing - 9/10
Art - 10/10
Overall - 9.5/10
User Review( votes)
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Stephanie Hans
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Designer: Rian Hughes
Editor: Chrissy Williams
Publisher: Image Comics
Maturity Rating: M
Released: January 9th, 2018
Die has been described as ‘goth Jumanji’ by its creators, and that summary isn’t too far off. Die #2 makes the world feel even more like a roleplaying game than before, raising the stakes and throwing in darker elements.
The Horror Elements Come out Strong in Die #2
Die #2 shows us all the reasons why our cast of characters would rather be anywhere but trapped in the world of Die. The world we’re shown here is not of the happy fantasy sort – it’s the sort you expect from a storyteller hoping to challenge their players.
The storytelling techniques for Die have changed. Before, the characters rapidly progressed through time – skipping major points from their perspectives. Everything was steeped in mystery, courtesy of us having no clue what was going on or what had transpired. Now we have a better idea of what is really happening…and it’s darker than imagined.
Die #2 leans more heavily towards the roleplaying elements of the story. You can see the characters adjust back to their fictional versions – remembering what abilities they had and how they worked. There’s no mention of rolling dice or stats, but it feels like it was all on the tip of their tongues.
This issue also made the horror elements much more evident. No longer hiding in the shadows, but coming out onto the pages in full force. A few scenes of this fully explained some of their fears but also gave an added incentive for the characters to avoid areas they had once been familiar with.
Kieron Gillen was clever in the way he folded all these different pieces together into one functional story. The fantasy and horror blend together perfectly, especially in this issue. The more graphic nature of Die #2 forced us to acknowledge the fantastical nature of the world they’ve been transported to.
There was one moment in Die #2 that made me realize I was in for the long haul. It is one of the more horrific and graphic moments – but it is also tied so strongly into the story that it can’t be ignored or denied. The way it was all woven together told me that this series is exactly the sort worth following.
Stephanie Hans went above and beyond in Die #2. The artwork itself is stunning, and the colors even better. Hans perfectly supported the story being told – showing us art that was fantastic as well as horrible and grotesque.
Multiple scenes were shown that were simply breathtaking. They left no doubt in my mind that they belonged in a world of fantasy, and nowhere else. The more graphic scenes were brilliantly done as well – not being too gory or too obscure.
The letterer, Clayton Cowles, did a brilliant job as well. There was a decent amount of text in this issue – a lot of internal thoughts or descriptions, but never once did it feel obtrusive. Instead, it just felt like a natural fixture on the pages.
Die #2 lived up to all the promises that the first issue made. The further the story has gone, the easier it is to understand the fear all of the characters are experiencing. You can start to really understand why they would prefer the dull and broken lives to this one any day of the week.
I mentioned at the end of my review of Die #1 that I was concerned about how the story would progress, once they had to start revealing things to us. I think it’s safe to say that I’m no longer worried about that. The creative team has no problem showing us how horrible and dangerous this world really is – all while hiding it under a beautiful veneer.
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