If you have not read the first issue of Die then you need to rectify that now. The basic premise is that six kids were sucked into a Dungeons and Dragons-esque tabletop role-playing game but they came back to the real world, to have mostly normal lives. That is until their one friend that never made it out of that realm gets them back in the game - only now they’re middle-aged. It’s a brilliant series and the first issue is a must own. So too, perhaps unsurprisingly, is this issue.
Issue 2 picks up right after the first with the misfit band of 40-somethings finally meeting with their now-insane friend face to face, trying desperately to talk some sense into him about how they have lives. This is only Chapter 2 of the tale but the true adventure begins in this issue. Finally they decide on their path and the reader is given explanations as to what their character classes are, with the Grief Knight especially being utterly heartbreaking.
Kieron Gillen is best known for his works riding the pulse of pop culture, with acclaimed works Phonogram and The Wicked + The Divine being two great examples, and that is continued here. The characters are not all best friends on a quest because they want to. They are being forced to, essentially, face the adult realities of their dreams when they were kids. A maudlin look at mid-life crises and nostalgia, or is it just taking potshots at the state of nerd culture? You decide, but it is definitely worth talking about either way.
Without any hyperbole, Stephanie Hans art is near perfection. Each and every panel is a piece of art, be it the epic battle with a demon bear, an ill-fated meeting with the past or even just a single panel of a character’s face. The colors blend with soft linework to be visually breathtaking without losing the striking weight of the tone.
It is hard for a second issue to be even better than the first but Die #2 brings all the concepts from there and ramps it up to an eleven. Unparelled art, unique and distinct characters, all wrapped around a dark reflection of the ‘80s Dungeons and Dragon cartoon. No wonder Die #2 deserves Five stars.
Learning to read from his parents' old comic book collection, ink has flowed through his blood since he was born! And now, the self-proclaimed Comic Archivist (at least on Youtube) brings his talents for comic book history and obscurity to WhatCulture! Be warned: he's a Cyclops fanboy and a Nightwing groupie!