‘Die #14:’ Comic Book Review

As the end of this arc approaches, it's time for the bleakness of Die to meet the epic fantasy battles of past entries into the genre. With the battle on the border between Eternal Prussia and Angria now in full swing, it's up to Ash, Izzy, and their armies to win the day, despite the obvious challenges that come with full-scale warfare.

Meanwhile, Matt, Chuck, and Angela are making their way towards the fray in an effort to save Angela's daughter and claim victories of their own. This has its own challenges, especially with several members of this sect of the party not completely on their game.

“Goth Jumanji” has been the descriptor of this series in the past by the creative team, and, in essence, that's a perfect explanation of this type of series. This series reinforces that just because they're in the game of Die at the moment doesn't mean the world they knew as normal people has stopped turning during their time in this world. This revelation comes into full effect here, especially for a particular member of the party.

I've enjoyed this series not just for its fantasy mayhem or for the unique ability to weave a world on top of a world. It's mostly because there's an entire other layer to it: that the mechanics of Die are not just something that exists inside the world of the comic, but as something that readers of the series can actually play. Fans of the book can bring this world into their own homes without having to have a copy of the comic in their hands. They can embody the emotions of the Knight, the manipulation of the Dictator, or the favor of the Godbinder in their own stories. That additional layer really draws a reader to see how this world develops and shakes out, since it will not only affect the story they're enjoying, but stories that they are creating themselves.

Gillen has been wearing many hats for this series, being not only a writer and creator of this new world, but a game designer, as well. That's an impressive feat, and as this story has progressed, it's gotten even more spectacular. It's not certain how long this game will go, but as we see each new side of the world of Die, each new conflict and character, it's a sight to behold that this one series can be doing so much.

Series artist Stephanie Hans is as pivotal to the world building as Gillen. Her gorgeous work is responsible for the visual blueprint of this series. From Angria to Little England, Hans has brought this complicated idea to life in a way that is both stunning and sprawling. That also includes the way that the characters are brought to life, as it can help influence those who want to play their own version of the game in terms of character design.

I think I love the concept and potential of this series more than the story itself, which is engaging all on its own. What this series can be, both inside the pages and outside, is fascinating, and something that's wholly unique.


Creative Team: Kierron Gillen (writer), Stephanie Hans (artist), Clayton Cowles (letters)
Publisher: Image Comics
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