Comic Book Review: Die #3

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The second issue of Die was a chilling introduction to the realm of Die. Who would have expected that the sixth friend could have survived all this time? It really makes you wonder if there’s anything left of Sol either. Especially if he’s willing to get this far in the game and believe that the others would want to continue upon their return? Only an issue into this world and already you can see why they would all be so reluctant to slip back into these roles.

This third chapter was nothing like what I assumed it was going to be. They couldn’t have chosen a better title for this chapter than “Fantasy Heartbreaker” too. Everything about the story in this issue hits you right where it hurts the most since from the start of this series we have come to understand that nothing about this realm is anything to get excited about. Not when this series twists everything that is supposed to be fantastical about jumping into a game world. Most people would only have to deal with the reality that dying in that game meant dying in real life too. However, we have a story here which takes things a step further. Death is the least of your worries when every bit of damage carries over, your abilities are costly, and the world around you is pretty much the definition of bleak. That last part is actually what we ended up focusing on more than anything else in this issue.

Some may have looked forward to bigger fights or that next big step in this party’s adventure, but what we actually got out of this chapter was captivating. Perspective makes a big difference for these characters right now when the game is not the same as it used to be when they were teens. Things they overlooked once before hold a different meaning for better or for worse. Where Ash found herself sends you on an emotional roller coaster when forced to accept that what’s fiction for them is very real for everyone else. That’s not a concept touched upon very often with these kinds of stories. That is what made this exploration so heartbreaking. The stories that these “NPCs” had to tell felt as real as any story that could be told to you. It all may seem like a script, but how can you ignore the suffering of someone who hurts the same as you would? By the end of this issue I could understand fully why they would say that this is one of the saddest comics in Kieron’s career.

The party’s encounter in this issue was pretty awesome for what more we were able to see that they are capable of. Their abilities are costly, but it is nonetheless cool to see how they overcome obstacles with what they have. Especially when not taking advantage of these abilities is the difference between surviving and their stories coming to an end. Right now, their poor dynamics be damned when they all have something about themselves to work on first.

They were also right about another thing, this is one of Stephanie’s prettiest. She went above and beyond in this issue to give us a personal chapter in contrast to the two before. I loved everything about what was brought out in Ash through her vulnerabilities in this realm. Without that geas, everything about Ash she wears right on her shoulders. You see that in her regretful expressions, looks of revelation, and even the cold presence which consumes her when that time comes where a hard decision has to be made for the sake of everyone. The dragon which they encountered had a unique design to it that was fitting to this world. It wasn’t the majestic vision you have for most dragons, but it was all the same the image of one that would exist in this kind of setting. That aside, I also enjoyed the different ways that they style changed up to match a different story told within. It added layers of depth and emotion to a chapter that is supposed to challenge realty from fiction. Clayton’s lettering as well was impeccable for the consistent effort put into giving these characters their own distinct voice.

Through the events of Die #3 this creative team continues to redefine what it means to experience a Dungeons & Dragons kind of world. Everything seems so exciting from the outside, till the rules become very real. There is no book out there like Die, and that is why this isn’t the book you should sleep on. Not if you want adventure, depth, and exploration in many ways.

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Total Score
8.7