• Taheg

Die #20 ADVANCE REVIEW: One last role of the Die! A satisfying, perfect conclusion.

Die Issue 20, Cover 1. Published by Image Comics.

Script by: Kieron Gillen, Art by: Stephanie Hans,

Letters by: Clayton Cowles.

Last time around, our adventurers reached the Center of Die. In exploring this wonderful and brutal world, they also reached the center of themselves. Revelations were revealed, deeper truths finally understood, and a theory I've had for a while now was proven to be correct. All told, it was just about the perfect way to set up the finale to this amazing series. And now, we've reached the end of this awe-inspiring journey, and we're left with one horrible question: is it even possible to wrap up something this grand in a single issue? Let's find out.

It's not what you want, AT ALL. But I think it might be what you need.

The final issue begins with a question. It is a simple question, a mere handful of words, but a question which is all but impossible to answer. It is a question that I think everyone has asked, at one point or another in their lives, and thus, as readers, we will all understand just what a difficult position the party are in.

Because while this question has no answer, they must answer it.

And no, the question isn't "Why is Chuck like this?"

But before they must answer the largest question, the team are given a few answers of their own. And I tell you now, friends: these answers are worth every second we have waited for them.

With this vital knowledge in hand, the adventurers are finally ready.

And then, our time in Die reaches its natural conclusion, and we're all left pondering another question:

What happens, after we're finished with the game?

Kieron Gillen is obviously a bastard. At this point all that remains is whether he's an evil bastard, or a magnificent bastard. I believe, as is so often the case, the truth is he's a little bit of both.

I can't lie. Going into this issue I had NO IDEA how they were going to wrap this plot up, in anything resembling a satisfying manner. Die felt like such a grand tale, with so many layers and twists, ins and outs, that I wasn't sure how a single issue would be enough to wrap everything up in a way that didn't leave me desperately needing more.

But by all the gods, they managed it. I'm still not entirely sure how, but they absolutely pulled it off.

The final issue of Die manages to be grand in scope, encompassing all of the fantastical elements that have made Die such a memorable series. There's time travel, metaphysics, love, war, life, and death.

But it's also a close, almost intimate story. Concluding the tale of Ash, Chuck, Matt, Angela, Isabelle, and Sol, in a way that feels so... RIGHT, that I honestly had to put my copy down and sit staring into space for a solid ten minutes, when I was done. I couldn't understand how Gillen managed to bring so many scattered elements all to a single, perfect conclusion.

As someone who has spent far more time than he probably should have, hiding away in fantasy and games, this conclusion spoke to me in a deep way. Just as I'm sure it'll speak to many of you out there, who seek solace in being somewhere else, in being someone else, if only for a while.

So, yeah. I don't yet fully grasp how he managed it, but Gillen has managed to bring one of the greatest stories of this current golden era of geekery to an end which utterly satisfies and will connect to many people on a deep level. And honestly, is there any better thing, for a story to do?

And, I can't let this final review go, without rhapsodising one last time on the unparalleled art of Stephanie Hans. Honestly, I can't think of a single artist currently working, who could have made this comic come to life in the way Hans does. Her work has a haunting, ethereal beauty to it that meshes so perfectly with this tale, both heartwarming and soul destroying as it is.

So, I guess we're done here. So, thanks for reading my stumbling journey through Die. And if you've got this far, Kieron and Stephanie, Thank You from the bottom of my 20 sided heart, for delivering a conclusion which met and exceeded even my wildest dreams! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go sit in a dark room and cry for a day or two.

A fine, but important distinction.


Taheg Gloder is a Freelance Copywriter from England. Obsessed with comics and Manga since his teens, he now splits his time between writing comic reviews and retrospectives for POP, and doing reactions on his YouTube Channel, The Dragon & The Hound. He lives alone, because he’s a hermit.

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