Die #14. Written by Kieron Gillen, Art by Stephanie Hans,
Letters by Clayton Cowles.
First things first. If you're reading this Gillen, I hate you.
Okay, that out of the way, let's get down to business:
Die #14 begins with the grand march to war. The Paragons have politicked and strong-armed the governments of about 4 separate nations, and it's all come down to this.
Somehow, despite their growing distrust for each other, the Paragons have managed to coordinate themselves and their respective teams, and the strike can commence.
While Ash sends her forces in as a distraction, Angela, Chuck and Matt are deep in the heart of Little England, and can strike at the forge and end this nonsense once and for all.
But, of course, nothing is ever simple, in the world of Die.
Because in a world where The Lady Woe exists, you're never too close to victory, that you can't fall headfirst into crushing defeat.
They can maneuver all they like, they can plan until everything seems certain. But, for as long as Izzy owes what she does to the gods that she does, you can never be really certain of anything.
Because when it seems the Paragons might actually succeed, The Lady Woe has a message she just needs delivered.
And it's safe to say, that message is going to have some serious repercussions.
And so, just when we start to feel a little hopeful, everything falls apart. And then, the chapter ends and we're hurt once more.
So yeah, thanks for that one, Gillen.
This issue summed up a lot of what I really love about this series. While also being, just horrible. Which, to be fair, is what I really love about this series. The ability to take you on a wild journey from elation to despair, all within a handful of pages.
The Grand Game, Die's third arc has had a very strong theme of family running through it. Never is that more evident than in issue #4.
It doesn't matter if it's Angela and her continuing quest to safeguard her Fallen Daughter, and find out exactly how Molly has entered the world of Die.
Or Ash and Izzy discussing the unusual gestation of Ash's vampiric paladin son.
And don't get me STARTED on Augustus. A child with vampiric lineage choosing to become a paladin? WOW, I could write essays on how much that guy must hate himself, and his parents. Thankfully, he seems pretty well adjusted. Or, rather, well adjusted for a character in Die.
So, naturally, when Mistress Woe comes a-knocking, you just know which angle she's going to strike from.
Sadly, knowing the angle of attack, and even having a pretty solid idea of where her strike will land, doesn't make it hurt any less when it does.
Last issue, Gillen gave us a whole lot of lore and some great world building. This issue, he's decided to give us grand battles that also murder our hearts.
The fact that you can have two issues, back to back, that do such different things, but do them both brilliantly, is why I still keep telling everyone to read Die.
You never know, when you pick up an issue, what you're going to get. Will it be action, history, adventure, drama, or heartbreak? You won't know, until you start, which combination of these you'll get in any given issue.
And based on that final panel. I have a feeling that issue #15, the final chapter in Die's phenomenal third arc is going to go the whole way, and give us a little bit of each.
And I can't let a Die Advance Review pass without mentioning Hans' art. She continues to shock and amaze with each issue, to the point that I actually feel annoyed at myself when I need to crop panels, because it feels wrong to alter some of these images.
Overall, issue #14 did just about everything you want a penultimate issue to do. It resolved some major stories, while leaving the really important, dangerous stuff left to conclude in the big finale. And frankly, based on what we've seen this issue, I'm a little worried what Gillen has in store.
Because I'm pretty sure it's going to HURT.