After reading Die #2, I realized that Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans played a wonderful, cruel trick on us. The first issue was a tease to drag us in and get its hooks in on us. This issue shows us how in deep we, the readers, are and makes sure we never want to leave.
Gillen, Hans and Clayton Cowles take advantage of that in this issue, with a deep dive into the story’s mythology and lays down the world and the stakes.
The party is back in the world of Die, faced with Sol. Their friend and gamemaster has lost his mind in their absence, and tells them they’re welcome to go home. All they have to do is play the game again. And just like that, they’re off…
Gillen knows how to craft a story and build a world, but here he shows us his skill as a GM, something he’s talked about often. His exposition is a text dump, but it’s done in the manner of skilled roleplayers, pulling us in and showing us everything through his words. In the course of a simple initial encounter, he’s given us everything we need to know about the characters’ roles and some of the basic enemies. It’s a master class in both storytelling and roleplaying.
Hans’ work is then able to throw us into the world. Her painted style is expressive and engaging, but never dives into the abstract, like some artists might be tempted in her position. She fills the page with reds and brilliant light, making Gillen’s words literal. It’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a long time, and I spent a lot of time diving into each page.
This is a perfect follow-up to the first issue, and I know this is going to be one of my favorite books this year.
Die #2 is available now from Image Comics.