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ADVANCE REVIEW: Little wars inevitably grow larger, in Die #13!

Die issue 13 Cover 1. Published by Image Comics.

Written by Keiron Gillen, Art by Stephanie Hans, Letters by Clayton Cowles.

I've mentioned before that Die #9 and its story of the doomed Bronte siblings is my favourite issue of the series so far. Well buckle in folks, because #13 is another captivating historical journey!

Last issue left us with the introduction of our third Master. This time, we were introduced to the Master of Little England, the mustache king and one of the greats of speculative fiction: Herbert George Wells.

The main "arc" of this issue centers around Ash, our resident Dominator, and her conversation with the esteemed H.G. Wells. Who, it's safe to say, is not exactly pleased with the recent actions of the Paragons.

So, this issue we dive deep into the past of Mr Wells, his obsession with War Gaming, his hatred of War and how this came to effect the world of Die.

Because due to their actions in Angria, and their catastrophic failures in Glass Town, the world of Die is shifting ever more towards total war. Which just so happens to be something H to the G has worked hard to stop, ever since he arrived in the multi-sided world of Die.

But all is not lost. You don't get to be one of the greatest speculative fiction writers of all time, without having a few plans up your sleeve. And it turns out Herb knows exactly how to resolve the situation the world currently finds itself mired in...

But does he have the time?

See what I did there?

The second arc this issue continues the adventures of Chuck, Matt, and Angela. As they attempt to track down the confusing and often aggravating Fair Folk.

There's no real reason for this to be here, I just LOVE the art.

After a brief scuffle with The Fallen, the (un)Fair Folk make themselves known.

The rules are set. Three questions will be asked, the answers will be given. A fairly standard deal, as far as the Fair are concerned.

What is anything but fair, is the answers they give. Which range from the saddening, to the maddening. As we're given another glimpse behind the screen and the lore of Die expands again.

Which honestly leaves me with about a hundred more questions, all in dire need of answers.

But that is not among the things which happen.

Overall, another fantastic issue, in what is rapidly becoming one of my all time favourite comic series.

Gillen has shown before, many times, that he is one of the best world creators working in comics today. But it feels like those previous runs were all build up, all practice for him to unleash the world of Die on us all.

Some of the concepts he pitches in this issue, some of the grand revelations he teases, genuinely left me shocked. After the conclusion of Die's second arc "Split the Party," I thought I had a rough idea of where the series was headed. However, with every issue so far this arc, Gillen has proven me wrong. I'm now just as lost as I was when I first picked up #1 and frankly, I couldn't be happier.

It's a rare treat to be able to read along, totally absorbed in a new world, that shocks and delights at every twist. I have no idea where this journey is going to end, but I can't wait to find out!

What is there to say about Stephanie Hans' art, that I haven't already said? With every issue, she continues to show just how important beautiful art is, in a comic. You can glance at any panel, and even without reading the text, you will know precisely where it's set; from the washed out Sepia tones of the flashbacks, to the eerie, vaguely clinical blue wash of the Fair Folk, each arc has its own distinct feel, which puts the readers mind in the right place, before a word has even been read.

This glorious harmony between art and text is one of the many things that makes Die such a captivating read. The other being the utterly batshit insane lore, which is only getting deeper and more crazy with every issue.

Right now, Gillen is juggling with chainsaws. And they're on fire. And he's balanced on a seesaw. And the seesaw is on fire. And personally, I cannot wait to see how all this chaos eventually explodes.

If you want to join me on this journey, Die #13 will be available in all good stores and online at comixology from September 2, 2020!

Woo! History Nerds United!

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