Updated: Dec 3, 2019
Writer: Keiron Gillen, Artist: Stephanie Hans, Letterer: Clayton Cowles.
DIE's character driven second arc comes to its mind-blowing conclusion, and just as we've come to expect from this dark game, there's one last twist in the tale, and one hell of a stinger.
Last issue was something of a historical character study. Delving deep into the lives of the Bronte siblings, their Juvenilia and the effect that work had, on the creation of the world of DIE. This issue goes in a very different direction.
Once again, the focus of the issue returns to everyone's favourite Dictator, and her attempts to solidify her control over the ever-shifting rulership of the city state of Angria.
I won't go into detail, to avoid spoilers, but I will say this; her plan is as ingenious as it is immoral, and the execution features one of the bloodiest and most creative fight scenes I've seen, outside of fellow Image series Invincible. After reading it, I was left with a newfound respect and a deep, deep fear of the powers of a creative Dictator.
All the plotting and gore leads up to one HELL of a cliffhanger, which makes the ending of the first arc, "Fantasy Heartbreaker", look positively tame in comparison.
As we've come to expect from DIE, the writing this issue is spot on. You KNOW that Ash is in the wrong, but somehow, you can't bring yourself to hate her. Even if you wish she could find some other way, to achieve her goals, and can all too easily see the tragedy, in her future.
And it goes without saying that Stephanie Hans' art is more than equal to the story. There are a few panels I'd love to include here, just so I can scream and point and hug them, they're so perfect. Sadly, as perfect as they are, they're also huge freakin' spoilers. So I'll have to leave them be, safe in the knowledge that you'll all see them, and love them soon enough.
So, that about wraps up my review for this issue, and indeed, for "Split The Party", the second arc of DIE!
It's at this point, I must sadly be the bearer of bad news. It's customary for Image books to take a 3 month break, after an arc ends, and DIE is no different.
But for those of you that don't read the author's notes at the end of each issue... if I were a betting man, I'd wager the number reading Gillen's hilarious and interesting postscripts is probably higher than the number that read my reviews, but for the four people remaining that haven't read them yet...
Stephanie Hans, artisté extraordinaire on DIE had a nasty accident recently, and wound up with a broken leg. Surgery and Recovery time added up, and it looks like DIE Arc Three, tentatively titled "The Great Game" will be arriving a little late.
So, if you're reading this Stephanie: I love you! And from everyone here at POP, hope your recovery goes well.
I'll see you all in a few months!
DIE #10 from Image Comics is available Wednesday, December 4, 2019.