The players head into the dungeon to find the center of Die. But will they find answers or more strife between the party? Find out in Die #18 by Image Comics!
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Stephanie Hans
Colorist: Stephanie Hans
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Chrissy Williams
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 14th, 2021
Previously in DIE: Six teenagers entered into a role-playing game but left their grandmaster behind. Now they return back and must travel to the centre of the planet to save Earth. Recently, the group has met H.P. Lovecraft who was killed by Isabella. On top of Sol being undead and Ash losing the trust of her party, the group is barely sticking together.
THE TRUE SECRET
Die #18 begins with a truth from Ash’s inner monologue. When they left Die the first time, she hesitated going home and in that hesitation Sol died. The rest of the party was forced to leave him behind. Through magic, none of her crew was able to talk about the incident and therefore she could never admit her mistake. As they arrive in the dungeon, they didn’t find hordes of monsters to fight through but a maze. As they explored, they found a tomb that held Sol’s diary and memory. Suddenly he remembers all the emotions and feelings about being abandoned by his friends. On top of his suddenly loneliness, he also became undead. Ash admits that she left him behind because she hesitated, but she cannot continue to admit more. They decide to gag her voice and continue down to the center and Ash recognizes how she can keep the party in the world of Die instead of returning home.
THE TRUTH OF SOL
I really enjoyed how Die #18 approached Sol’s journey. Sol died and he dealt with that trauma alone. That emotion and resentment is something that he kept in his heart for 25 years. As I was reading Die #18, I realized how often Sol was portrayed as an unknowing villain. He accidently brought people to the world of Die that trapped his friends. But the real villain in this issue seems to Ash because of her selfish decisions. Then I realized why I liked this series so much. I like my team books (and my tabletop games for that matter) to be about personal goals and backstories. Be it Chuck’s struggle with his health or Matt’s anger and grief; these party dynamics make a solid story. Add on an in-depth narrative arc and we have ourselves a really strong comic.
With that complexity of characters and narrative, it does have a draw back. Die #18 felt a little slow. The content that we are getting is engaging and interesting to read, but it caused the plot to move at a snail’s pace. This issue definitely felt like an information dump without a lot of action and that may be a turn off to some readers. But overall, the writing is amazing, and the art is so engaging that it is hard to put the story down despite the information overload you are receiving. Great work by both Kieron and Stephanie. They seem to be a solid writer and artist team.
BOTTOM LINE: MUST PICK UP
I think Die is a must read series but I understand that it may be too slow for people to read as an individual issue. If you are that kind of person, perhaps wait until the trade paperback comes out before reading the series. This way, you will get the full picture instead of single issues with a lot of information all at once. Die #18 is a 4.5 out of 5 for my tastes and I am excited to see how the series ends.
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Die #18 is ramping up for a thrilling conclusion but still manages to add complexity and character development for its protagonists.