[Comic Book Review] Image Comics’ DIE #3

Written by Adrian Care

PopCultHQ received an advanced review copy of DIE #3 from Image Comics. Available February 6th, 2019, the creative team for this series features writing from Kieron Gillen, art from Stephanie Hans, and lettering from Clayton Cowles.

Here’s PopCultHQ’s Spoiler-Free Review of…

DIE #3

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Stephanie Hans
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

“FANTASY HEARTBREAKER,” Part Three

One of the saddest comics in Kieron’s career. One of Stephanie’s prettiest. Clayton’s lettering, of course, remains impeccable.


PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
DIE #3

Drop this book from your pull list.

Do it immediately because this issue will break your heart. This issue will drag you down to the depths along with Ash, Chuck, Matt, Angela, and Isabelle. Our ‘heroes’ who have been transported away from their angst ridden, strained lives and sucked back into the game of DIE and now navigate through the Dungeons & Dragons inspired worlds within. A barren wasteland. A fiery death-pit. A warzone.

Writing:

Through his collaborations with Jamie McKelvie on Phonogram, Young Avengers, and The Wicked + The Divine, Keiron Gillen has shown a proven gift for keeping up with the times and vocalizing (pitch perfectly) the thoughts and feelings of his audience. On Darth Vader, Journey into Mystery, Star Wars, and Über, he has shown an intricate knack for fantasy and war. DIE infuses all of this, as well as character and genuine emotional rollercoasters, into a story that is fast-paced but never feels like it’s rushing the reader. A perfectly-paced, small tale that still furthers the story and gives strong emotional moments, while still being set against an epic, action-packed backdrop with scope and scale.

This shouldn’t have been my type of book. I was never much for the fantasy genres, I didn’t know tabletop gaming beyond Stranger Things, The Big Bang Theory, and Weezer’s “In the Garage.” But Gillen has sucked me right in with the core cast. When was the last time you read a new series that was only at its third issue and felt a lump in your throat and genuine sorrow? That is testament to Gillen’s mastery over his work and how he continues to develop his writing craft despite his status as one of today’s best creators.

Die #3 preview page 1
Die #3 preview page 1

Art/Colors: 

Take nothing from the fact that Stephanie Hans’ style isn’t my cup of tea. That’s my problem and art, as we know, is subjective. Hans has collaborated with Gillen in the past with Journey into Mystery and Angela: Asgard’s Assassin. As well as doing fine work on Suicide Risk, Aliens: Defiance, and Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love. Her painterly style evokes the fantasy artwork of the genre the story is about. Her rapport with Gillen’s writing is evident and some scenes would not pack their emotional punch, nor instill the reader with deep sorrow, if it weren’t for her talent. I just find it too dark in parts. A painted book can sometimes show the benefits of working with color separation, and if there is anything to nitpick at in this book at all, it falls on the color palette causing a minor loss in clarity. To be fair, there are flashback scenes in this issue were Hans also shows she can excel in staying diverse within the story and transporting the reader, artistically, right into the setting as well.

Letters:

Speaking of diversity, Clayton Cowles (most recently of Age of X-Man: Alpha) maintains his presence amongst the best working letterers today. Each character’s voice is distinct. You can genuinely get a feel for who is saying what without even looking at the art (but still look at the art). You can almost hear the way some of the creatures or some of the more fantasy-based elements of the story sound, and that is a rare talent to bring to a book where so much happens. He brings authenticity to a handwritten letter in the book, while still presenting the words legibly and, like Stephanie Hans, plays an instrumental part in evoking the story’s strong, emotional moments. It’s a genuine shame that we don’t get to see what Cowles could do with sound effects in this issue, but the story and artistic style doesn’t call for it.

Die #3 preview page 2
Die #3 preview page 2

PopCultHQ’s Overall Assessment:

I couldn’t believe this was only issue three; midway through the story, I felt so familiar with the characters and their journey, I thought I’d been reading this title for a long time. It’s a very easy, entertaining read that will tug at the heartstrings and extract a range of emotions from the reader. Although the art was distracting for me, I’m sure I was in the minority and it never does a disservice to the story being told. I can’t wait to check in next issue and see where the adventure has taken us next and I’m intrigued to know more about the salacious new crumbs this issue feeds along the way. Forget what I said in this review’s opener. If you’re not reading DIE yet, get up and add it to your pull list now!

PopCultHQ’s Rating:
4 out of 5 Stars

PopCultHQ Rating - 4 Stars
PopCultHQ Rating – 4 Stars

DIE #3 can be pre-ordered on ComiXology
and available at your local comic shop and
online retailers Wednesday, February 6th!

Comixology button

Buy Direct from Image Comics!


Be sure to follow the creative team!

Writer – Kieron Gillen

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Artist – Stephanie Hans

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Letterer – Clayton Cowles

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Publisher – Image Comics

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