Script by: Kieron Gillen, Art by: Stephanie Hans, Letters by: Clayton Cowles.
The only trinity I pray to.
Dammit, Gillen. You've GOT to stop doing this to us. I was having a nice day, the weather was nice, I'd made flapjacks, life was good. And then Die #17 dropped into my lap and utterly broke my brain.
Issue 17 begins with the party descending into The Dungeon, lead by the last of the great echoes, that have proven themselves to useful in the past.
This time around, though... Lovecraft is proving to be less of a helpful spirit of the past and more of a perpetual downer. Informing the players that, in no uncertain terms, they're screwed.
But as answers long searched for finally come to light, all we're left with are more questions, questions like "Wait, what the FUCK?" and "Seriously, are we actually doomed?"
But if there ever was a 'point of no return' in the world of Die, the party charged past in, bickering all the way, about 10 issues back. So their only hope now is to press forward, and hope that the heartbreaking, mind-shattering revelations let up for a couple of seconds, and allow them to tease some kind of small victory out of this mess, because if they can't, we're all doomed.
And I mean ALL of us...
I've been watching a lot of TV at the moment, I'm sure I'm not alone in that though.
The funny thing is, there seems to be something of a recurring pattern in a few of the shows I watch. The lead wants answers, everyone tells them that the price of getting those answers will be high. The lead presses on. The world pays the price.
As I sit there, safely ensconced on my high horse, I shout at the TV "Why are you doing this? You don't even WANT the answers, you just think you deserve them, idiot! You're better off not knowing!"
And yet somehow, I didn't learn.
For a long time now, we've all been shouting from the rooftops, hounding poor Gillen, clamouring for answers. Just what ARE the Fallen? What is going on with Die? Why are we all here?
But let me tell you, ignorance really is bliss.
Because we're rapidly approaching the final issues of Die, and so Gillen and his team are holding nothing back. But wow, sometimes, you really aren't ready when the answers come.
Trust me, fair reader, you're not ready. I wasn't ready. I'm not okay right now...
But by the Great Old Ones, I'm loving every non-Euclidian second of it.
Overall, Die #17 is a terrifying, horrific, wonderfully engaging chapter in one of the most painfully creative comics on the market today. The only thing I would change about this issue, if I could, would be to add five or ten more pages, because by the time I reached the end, I just wanted more.
Gillen's ability to take time honored fantasy and RPG tropes, run them through the prism of Lovecraft's Eldritch horrors, and then throw in some vaguely wibbly wobbly timey-wimey... stuff, and yet manage to give each aspect its moment to shine is really quite amazing. At the moment, he's juggling with live grenades, and I'm sitting here, chewing my fingernails and hoping he can toss them all to safety before they explode, and take us all down with him. It's simultaneously amazing, unnerving, intriguing, and terrifying. Not unlike Die itself.
And it seems my prayers were answered! After seeing a few vague hints in that direction in Issue 16, I prayed for more Cthulhu-inspired artwork from Hans. And let me tell you, she DELIVERED.
Hans' work throughout this series has been exceptional, but the last couple of issues, adding Lovecraft's vaguely unsettling aesthetic to Hans's already dreamlike style is a match made in heaven...or hell, I'm not totally sure which yet. But either way, this issue is a treat for the eyes, while it melts the brain. And I'd be willing to bet some real coin, that the best is yet to come.
Die #17 from Image Comics is available from June 9th, or maybe it already is... maybe it's ALWAYS been available.
No, I checked the lists. It's out June 9th, from all your usual stockists. I STRONGLY recommend picking this one up.