DIE #8 is published by Image Comics. It comes from the creative team of writer Kieron Gillen, artist Stephanie Hans, and letterer Clayton Cowles. DIE #8 shifts the story away from the seemingly doomed desert trek of Chuck and Isabelle back to the others. It opens with Angela and Matt sitting together next to a lake discussing their next move. After fleeing Glass Town and meeting up with Ash’s son August in issue 6, they have hit a standstill. Angela is planning to infiltrate Glass Town and Ash has been interrogating the undead Sol. This leaves Matt with little to do except talk to his sentient sword, whose only goal is to make him as sad as possible.
As Ash’s attempts to gain information from Sol repeatedly fail, she passes the time speaking with Matt. They discuss Ash’s son and the strange circumstances of his birth and upbringing. They also touch on their lives outside of the game and Matt’s desire to return. But soon new players arrive, and the situation quickly begins to spiral out of their control.
By this point, the scripts from Gillen can fall into one of two categories; one being a more action-oriented issue and the other focusing on the increasingly complex characters. This issue falls heavily into the latter, though it does dip into the former at times with the primary point-of-view character being Matt. His sadness plays a major part in this story. More specifically, the characters spend quite a bit of time picking at or reopening old wounds. Between Ash’s reconciliation attempts with her son and Matt’s necessarily cruel sword, this issue is a bitter pill. But a necessary one nonetheless. The party has done terrible things in the world of DIE, and the bill for those deeds is increasingly coming due.
The art from Hans remains beautiful and is touched with the same thoughtfulness that is present within previous issues. From the opening page and its beautiful lakeside vista to the abstract nature of Matt wielding his grief-blade, it’s all gorgeous. Of particular note are the pages featuring flashbacks. There has always been a lighter and more ethereal nature to the characters’ memories. However, in this most recent issue, the flashbacks are much less defined. This gives the impression that the characters’ memories are becoming flawed or it is becoming difficult for them to recall. Likewise, the letters from Cowles are great. Dialogue is never a struggle to follow and small details like the grief-blade’s red outline help keep everything clear.
While I thoroughly enjoyed DIE #8 I have to admit that it started off fairly slow. The divergent stories of the split party have made it somewhat difficult to keep track of the events of the story. That being said, the story is still worth following. With every passing issue, these characters have more life breathed into them. It is becoming increasingly unlikely that they will have a happy ending and the more we learn of them the more tragic that becomes.
DIE #8 is available in comic stores everywhere right now
Rating: 4.5/5 Uncomfortable Truths