DIE #7 is published by Image Comics. It comes from the creative team of writer Kieron Gillen, artist Stephanie Hans, and letterer Clayton Cowles.
DIE #7 focuses on the two main characters not present in issue 6, Izzy and Chuck. After being overcome with disgust at Ash’s actions and being unwilling to leave the game, Izzy and Chuck fled Glass Town. Now the two are stranded, alongside the residents of Glass Town, on the opposite side of the world. Izzy has taken to using her Godbinder powers to place herself further in debt to feed and shelter the people. Meanwhile, Chuck has retreated further into his persona of an all-around jackass. After finally going one step too far, Izzy uses her powers once more to place a curse on Chuck.
After spending all night drinking with a pair of dwarves, he awakens to the worst hangover he’s had in years. With water supplies dwindling it seems all may be lost until Chuck spots an oasis. At first, Izzy doesn’t trust it and accuses the goddess Mistress Woe of treachery. She claims innocence and the group fills their stores and sets up camp. But despite the lack of machinations by Mistress Woe, all is still not entirely safe. Soon the group learns that there are big problems, both within their ranks, as well as from the world of DIE itself.
Once again Gillen’s work on the script and story is thoroughly impressive. But this issue is unique, as all the others have been, because of the character who serves as the plot’s subject. The bulk of this issue focuses on Chuck, who finally gets the backstory he desperately needed. The reader is finally introduced to his thoughts and feelings in first person. Despite being, easily, the most successful member of the original six players of DIE, Chuck is clearly unhappy. This look into his psyche also seems to serve as an allegory for being a successful writer. His point of view explores success and the shallow pleasures that are derived from it. As a result this issue feels like easily one of the most cynical of the bunch.
The art from Stephanie Hans retains it’s excellence, though the setting makes it difficult to see as much beauty as in previous issues. Without the city and it’s buildings as a backdrop, some of the backgrounds can be a little barren at times. This is not to say that the artwork isn’t beautiful. Once the group finds the oasis Hans produces some of her best and most breathtaking work. Worth additional note is Mistress Woe and the brilliant ethereal nature with which she is painted. While some of the panels leave a little to be desired, others are so well done that this ended up being a particularly visually striking issue. The letters from Clayton Cowles remain well done, both in clarity and characterization. The voices of the gods being done with a black text bubble and white lettering is a personal favorite of mine.
To be perfectly honest DIE #7 wasn’t my favorite issue of the series so far. It wasn’t bad by any means, but it didn’t have the same fun to it that others have. The story is still fascinating and Gillen continues to twist when I expect him to play something straight. In addition, I think this issue has more events of actual consequence than many of the past. It feels like the series is building to a serious confrontation between both groups and that will be a sight to behold. And behold it everyone should, because this is still my favorite fantasy series on shelves every month.
DIE #7 is in comic stores everywhere right now.
Rating: 4.5/5 Debts to the gods.