When your front cover features a guy with his nose cut clean off and bleeding, then it’s arguable that you can judge a book by its cover, and this is one such book. Welcome, once again, to the ultra-violent gore-fest that is Die! Die! Die! by Robert Kirkman, Scott M Gimple (writers) Chris Burnham (art), Nathan Fairbarn (colour) and Rus Wooton (letters). Gory it may well be but, it wouldn’t work if it was simply a comic featuring scenes of such horror. There has to be more to sustain the series and keep us, the readers, engaged. And, as we have witnessed many a time before, Kirkman (and now Gimple, his co-plotter) can keep his audience engaged. It’s very much James Bond meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but it would seem at the heart of this is a family drama of three brothers, all brought up to be killer assassins, only to now find themselves on different teams and with very different perspectives.
Once again we meet the disgusting politicians and black-ops power-brokers who work in the shadows. They seem to embody the sleazy, sordid world of their agents within their own DNA, as Senator Lipshitz and her superior still stick to their belief that for all they’re doing wrong, they believe they are making the world a better place. Or, at least, that’s what they keep telling themselves. Looking at the current state of the world and their differing governments, I think it’s safe to say they’re lying to themselves, and lives are the cost of this continued fabricated status quo. From what this issue reveals, there doesn’t seem to be that many good people around these days. Issue 1 gave us the suggestion that even Lipshitz is beginning to doubt herself, too. Like an agent going through the motions with none of the enthusiasm or joy for the job.
Burnham delivers another sensational issue with a more polished style to his artwork than I’ve seen before, giving it a hint of the Steve Dillon about his characters’ faces, mixed with that Frank Quitely quality with which Burnham’s work is often associated. Whether it’s the beautiful chocolate box castles of Europe, or the scarlet spurts of blood gushing from an unfortunate henchman, Burnham proves he is a master of the beautiful and the brutal, giving us a comic that is a blend of both, but mainly the latter. Like a good Bond film, the locations are exotic and extravagant with the people populating this world suitably wealthy. Colourist Fairbarn makes sure none of the finer details are lost in the crowd, either, as he balances this book with cool blues and warmer reds, oranges and yellows when required.
Another great issue which even has time to philosophise, as is Kirkman’s want, considering how we never take the time to simply think anymore. Well, I’m thinking now, and I think this is a damn fine book for fans of Kirkman, and fans of sensational spy thrillers with more than a dash of blood and guts. And the odd decapitated nose, too.
Die! Die! Die! #2 is currently available from Image/Skybound.