Image Comics reviews for the week of 4/3/19

Die #5

die #5 cover

Coming into this series four issues in I wonder if I’m going to miss something, but the great synopsis of “[In] 1991, six teenagers disappeared into a fantasy role playing game. Only five returned. In 2018, five adults are dragged back to discover the sixth still wants them to play…” really got me interested.

Writer Kieron Gillen breaks down each character’s role in the game and what they’ve been doing since they reemerged into the real world. Of the returners, only Ash and Matt appear to have made it unscathed, but what can you expect after leaving the real world for a fantasy world?

I enjoyed Stephanie Hans’ art style in the first couple of pages in the Glasstown setting, but it took a bit of a dive when we moved into Eternal Prussia. My guess is Hans wanted to go for a different look for each town. The problem though is for new readers we need a blurb or something to make sure we know who are the characters on each panel. This problem gets corrected after the rest of the players arrive and it is easier to distinguish the main characters.

Once all of the six friends are reunited, we learn that the goal is to return to the real word. Not a shocking goal, but you have to wonder if you’re going through a nasty divorce like Isabelle and Angela or dealing with multiple ex wives like Chuck, would you really want to go back to boring, old, normal life?

The battle with Sol, the current Grandmaster/game inventor and the one friend who stayed in the game, lasts for a couple pages. Sol has a little fun tweaking the rules of the game like any fun Grandmaster should if they are in danger of losing. After a distraction from her sister, Angela, Ash is able to get the upper hand on Sol using a previously unknown power on Sol to end his reign.

Ash understandably is having mixed feelings about killing her former best friend, but knows he is blocking the group’s ability to return home. Chuck asks whether they really want to go back to the real world when they can be super in Die. This line of questioning gives Sol, who is now a Fallen, time to recover. He lets the group know that the Fallen are actually people from the real world who have died in Die. The trick to living again is for the Fallen is to kill the players from the real world.

Although I came into this series at the end of its first arc, the ending was good enough to make me want to continue on this series and see where it goes. I do wonder if changing the language a bit for the few times it was used making the comic less than a Mature rating would make it more accessible?

Rating: 9 out of 10