The previous issue of Die from Image Comics showed readers the aftermath of the first story arc. The party has been separated and issue #6 caught readers up with Ash, Angela, and Matt. Issue #7 follows up with Chuck and Isabelle. Much like their friends, they are trying to cope with their actions at Glass Town. They also carry the additional burden of the survivors of the once great city. This issue furthers the plot while continuing to explore the characters.
Writer Kieron Gillen has done an excellent job of fleshing out his characters. Even the more action-packed issues have given a peek into the minds of the party. The seventh issue of Die puts a bigger spotlight on Chuck than readers have ever been given. Chuck has played an important role throughout the series, but his character class is “Fool.” He is a bruiser who never makes the right decision while always saying the wrong thing.
The seventh issue of Die shows that Chuck is more than just an archetypal tank. For the first time, the title gives a deep look into the character of Chuck. On the surface, he is a philanderer who cares all about the material things in life, which is not far from the truth. However, he is more than a selfish person who only cares for himself. He was able to achieve success, but became disenchanted by it. He has become a broken person who shields himself in a nonchalant attitude and possessions. It is a somewhat typical story, but it adds a new layer to the character.
Die tells a strong story along with adding to Chuck’s character. Gillen has done a wonderful a job of adding deep conflict with each issue of the series. At the heart of the comic are people trying to escape a world they are trapped in. These are normal people trying to survive a high-stress situation, so it’s not surprising there is constant infighting between the party. This leads to drastic decisions being made by people who are not always in the right frame of mind. These rash decisions add a surprising element of realism to Die.
Artist Stephanie Hans continues to do a wonderful job on the book. The watercolor painted look is perfect for the comic, and Hans established long ago she has a feel for the characters. The art is as emotional as it is beautiful, and she takes it to the next level in Die #7 with the introduction of Mistress Woe. These moments have the dual effect of taking place in the background while also being the center of the action. There is also a beautiful scene in which a being known as a Titan is seen. Die looks like it is from the fantasy world in which it takes place.
There are so many good things in the comic book that some things get overlooked. One of the best things about this issue is the work of letterer Clayton Cowles. Before the story unfolds or readers have a chance to appreciate the art, the lettering pops out. Much like Hans, Cowles does a great job of making his work fit the story. Whether it’s Isabelle writing in her diary, Woe speaking, or characters having a conversation, the lettering is perfect. Cowles does a great of making words stand out without it ever being noticeable.
Die continues to tell its magnificent story. Even though it is set in a role playing world, it tells a very realistic story. The party may be somewhat of a trope, but everything else defies expectations. This is a character study more than a tale of sword and sorcery. Die is not about being a chosen one who has to save the world — it’s about being another person who wants to leave it.