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Review – DIE #4 (Image Comics)

DIE #4
Overall
10/10
10/10
  • Writing - 10/10
    10/10
  • Art - 10/10
    10/10
  • Overall - 10/10
    10/10
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User Review
5 (1 vote)

Summary

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art: Stephanie Hans
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Designer: Rian Hughes
Editor: Chrissy Williams
Publisher: Image Comics
Maturity Rating: M
Release Date: March 6th, 2019

The journey begins in DIE #4! As our heroes await a decision from the ruling council of Glass Town, Ash and the Party trade tales and swill ale in the local pub. After a disappointing verdict is returned, Ash decides that their best course of action is to make Sol come to them!.

The Saga Begins in DIE #4

DIE #4 is Kieron Gillen’s inverted commentary on the well-known fantasy/RPG trope “the journey/quest begins.” Ash and the Party arrive at Glass Town expecting a fight, only to be revered as heroes by its citizens. While the group awaits a verdict from Glass Town’s convening council, they trade tales and ale with the locals in a nearby pub. The heavy mood is only compounded further after it’s revealed to them that the only path to Sol is perilous and wrought with danger. Weighing all available options, Ash concludes that their best course of action is to make Sol come to them. Even if it means burning Glass Town to the ground. 

Writing

DIE #4 (Image Comics) cover A by Stephanie Hans
DIE #4 (Image Comics) cover A by Stephanie Hans

Here we have Kieron Gillen at the very top of his game. The way he effortlessly and intrinsically describes the world of DIE would almost make you think that he’d been there before. This is world-building at its most ambitious, executed with the utmost surgical precision. But of all the grandiose happenings, my favorite moment from DIE #4 is Matt, the Grief Knight, recalling the bravest moment of his life.

It’s a somber tale of loss and love, where Matt describes in heartbreaking detail losing his mother to a routine appendectomy. He contrasts her death and the fear it wrought with the illness of his daughter and her emergency surgery. Through this Grief Knight, Gillen shows us that being brave isn’t always a matter of going out and slaying the dragon. Sometimes being brave means putting on a fake smile and assuring the ones we love that everything will be OK; especially when we know that it won’t be. 

Finally, there’s the Afterword. Not only does it serve as a window into Gillen’s creative process, but it’s a valuable index for those who may not be initiated or familiar with some of the references and terminology of RPG/D&D style gaming. Gillen breaks down each issue, discussing its main themes as well as plot direction and character development. He even mentions that there’s an RPG version of DIE in the works, slated for release sometime later this year. 

Art

I’d never heard of Stephanie Hans before DIE. In fact, I’d never seen so much as a page of her work. Now that I’ve become acquainted, my next course of action will be to scour the back-issues of my local comic book store and find every book she’s ever attached her name to. The artwork is absolutely mesmerizing, both on a macro and micro level. It’s genuine, inspired, and painstakingly beautiful. Hans has an architect’s eye, a knack for emotional conveyance, and one hell of a color palette. 

A wash of beautiful pastel paints her universe, giving DIE #4 a subtle, slightly impressionistic feel. The effect is vibrant, almost as if the characters are popping off the page as you read. The synergy of artistic talent that Stephanie Hans possesses is absolutely staggering. I came to DIE for Gillen but I’m staying for Hans! 

Conclusion

So you’ve probably guessed it—I liked DIE #4. I think the series as a whole is fan-freaking-tastic, as a matter of fact. When great writing meets incredible art, the result is usually something pretty special. Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans have a true comic book gem on their hands. I personally cannot wait to see how this first arc concludes, as well as what the future holds for our heroes lost in the world of DIE


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Jordan Claes

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