As I read the DIE #4 by Kieron Gillen I find myself thinking that, as much as I am enjoying it, I can’t possibly be having as much fun reading it as he was having when he wrote it. Not that there has been any dip in quality since the first issue because the series is still outstanding. But you can feel the joy that he puts into each issue to make this a passion project that clearly stands tall among its peers.
The story picks up after the brutal third issue. The five adventuring party members have finally reached the fabled City of Glass and not a moment too soon. Battered, beaten, and exhausted, they need a rest. Fortunately, their reputations precede them as “Paragons” and they are invited into the city. With the perils of surviving out in the wilds put on the backburner, this issue is able to focus more on the stories, personalities, and lives of its protagonists.
Isabelle heads to a local church in hopes that she can have her grisly wounds healed by her pet gods. Meanwhile, Angela, Matt, Chuck, and Ash find a tavern and take to drinking their troubles away. Soon enough everyone is baring their souls to the local “NPC’s” of Glass Town and, by extension, to each other. The characters finally sit and talk, which leads to aired grievances and some reconciliations.
In a lesser series, this would be a flaw and could lead to this being considered a “down-issue”. However, thanks to Gillen’s script, we are instead treated to several heartbreaking stories shown as vignettes shared by the protagonists and NPC’s alike. Were these characters less likable or fleshed out this may not have worked, but at this point, there’s a lot to love about each of them and hearing their personal tragedies gives this issue’s script a strong emotional foundation.
Hans’ art is as beautiful as ever. As with the script, you can see the fun she is having permeating each and every page. Never is this clearer than with the clear fantasy references that frequently spread throughout the book. Each panel drips with action and emotion, even when the characters themselves are at rest. Similarly, Cowles’ lettering serves to emphasize the action and drama and is clear as ever.
If it isn’t clear by this point, you should be reading DIE. Gillen, Hans, and the rest of the creative team have managed a series that is packed with action, and heart. It’s clear that they don’t have any intention of slowing down until the final panel of the final book. I cannot speak highly enough of this series and based on the last few pages of this issue, I can’t wait to see how it ends.
Die #4 is available everywhere March 6, 2019.