Title: Die #1
Words: Kieron Gillen
Art: Stephanie Hans
Publication Date: December 5, 2018
Publisher’s Summary: THE WICKED + THE DIVINE writer KIERON GILLEN teams up with artist supernova STEPHANIE HANS (THE WICKED + THE DIVINE 1831, Journey Into Mystery) for her first ongoing comic! DIE is a pitch-black fantasy where a group of forty-something adults have to deal with the returning unearthly horror they barely survived as teenage role-players. If Kieron’s in a rush, he describes it as “Goth Jumanji.” That only captures a sliver of what you’ll find in oversized debut issue—where fantasy gets all too real.
“It was 1991 and we were arrogant RPG elitists plus a younger sister who really wanted to be a cyberpunk. You can imagine how well that went down.”
Dealing with childhood trauma is never easy, and, when your childhood trauma involves being trapped in the dark and cruel Fantasy world of a board game for two years, ‘getting over it’ can be a bit of a bitch.
In 1991, six teens disappeared and didn’t reappear until two years time had transpired, and, when the group finally resurfaced, one of the teens remained unaccounted for. Unbeknownst to the general public, these teens were trapped inside of a role-playing board game of some sort, like Jumanij, but, apparently, way worse. Fast-forward twenty-five years and the original players, after receiving a haunting item, and the five that made it out of the game are heading back in to see what happened to their friend. And, although not much of the Dark-Fantasy world of Die is portrayed, it soon becomes apparent that our group of ‘heroes’ is in for a world of trouble and only horror and misfortune awaits them.
Kieron Gillen had a good deal of groundwork to cover in this first issue, but, he managed to do so with a scrip that was as telling as it was interesting. While the story doesn’t take long to get started, per se, it does take almost the entire issue to get to the part that readers, surely, are most eager to see. But, isn’t anticipation a good thing? In a I’m looking forward to more character development and exploration as this series continues.
Stephanie Hans’ artwork is emotive and expressive and perfectly captures both the wonder and the dread of Die. And, while all of the pages in this book are visually impressive, Die #1’s final sequence, along with a brief scene that takes place in the rain, is stunning/
Dark and immersive, Die is a stunning work of modern Supernatural Fantasy.
The Bottom Line:
A strong debut offering slow but intriguing burn that build into a final unforgettable sequence that is sure to leave readers wanting more