Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Stephanie Hans
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Designer: Rian Hughes
Editor: Chrissy Williams
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: December 5, 2018
That’s how writer Kieron Gillen would describe his latest comic if he’s in a rush.
Die #1 follows the story of a group of forty-somethings return to finish a role-playing game they barely survived as teenagers.
Gillen (The Wicked + The Divine) takes his love of role-playing games and turns it on its head.
Further, intentionally or not, he combines elements from a few familiar productions—the aforementioned Jumanji with a little bit of Stephen King’s IT to great effect.
As a recent convert to tabletop RPGs, I was taken with the concept of a group of friends getting together and being pulled into a fantasy world and then having to fight their way out.
Disappointing First Half
Stephanie Hans takes on the art in Die #1 and I won’t lie; I was disappointed.
So, before jumping me, Hans is an excellent artist. In fact, take a look at her website and you’ll see what I mean.
What I found disappointing was a lack of consistency in the first half of Die #1.
Firstly, Ash (or Dominic as he preferred) had a number of different looks in the first half of the book. His facial features seem to change depending on the panel. For lack of better terms, there are times when his physical features are more “feminine” and others when they are more “masculine.”
Secondly, backgrounds are an important part of any art, but especially in real-world settings. The light yellowish backgrounds in many of the scenes distracted my eyes from what I supposed to be looking at. Contrast is important and it wasn’t used well in the first part of Die #1.
Having said that, the second half of the story—the portion with the fantastical elements—was beautiful.
it had everything the first part didn’t: consistency and backgrounds that blend well without being distracting.
And the full-bleed final page of the of Die #1 is poster-worthy.
Final Thoughts: Die #1
I love the concept of Die #1 and I was hyped for this book, but I was disappointed in its execution. The excellent second half of the issue could not overcome the letdown experienced during the first half.
That being said, I’m looking forward to Die #2. I want to see how the story turns out.