DIE #9 is published by Image comics. It comes from the creative team of writer Kieron Gillen, artist Stephanie Hans, guest colorist Elvire De Cock, and letterer Clayton Cowles.
At the end of Issue 8, Izzy had reunited with Ash, Angela, Matt, and the fallen Sol. However, her arrival was not a friendly one as she told the nobility of the party’s hand in the fall of Glass Town. Issue 9 opens with all of them in prison. Ash is gagged so she is unable to use her power of persuasion. Izzy takes this opportunity to ask questions of Sol. Particularly, she asks how it is possible for the fallen to be people who died in Die. Sol states, bluntly, that he doesn’t know, at which point a mysterious voice claims they can be of help.
The group is shocked to discover that this voice appears to belong to the long-dead author Charlotte Brontë. As the party makes this realization, Brontë begins to explain Die. She speaks at length about her life and the lives of her siblings. She also explains the hand that she and her siblings had in the creation of Die. As she speaks the party learns much about the world they inhabit, but new mysteries and questions arise.
DIE #9 is the second issue in the series that includes a literary figure who speaks at length. The first of these is J.R.R Tolkien in issue #3. Kieron Gillen uses Charlotte Brontë’s and her siblings’ literary creations to further the lore of Die. Where before the reader had been told to accept Sol as the creator, now we have Brontë. While, at first, this seems absolutely bizarre, it actually works. At this point DIE as a series as embraced anachronism, mystery, and impossibility within the story. As a result, this most recent twist and those that follow in this issue are much easier to accept.
Gillen’s writing in this issue continues to be excellent. Despite being a massive exposition-dump the pacing is solid. There isn’t much by way of action, but that doesn’t really work to its detriment. The process of enlightenment in this story is enough fun to keep the pages turning.
The art of Stephanie Hans remains fantastic. However, this issue also features a guest colorist in Elvire De Cock. The pages colored by De Cock are the sepia-toned panels that appear during Bronte’s story. De Cock’s colors lend a “classical” feel to the art but don’t feel overwrought or out of place. Combined with Hans’ artwork these segments really stand out and are a joy to look at. The lettering from Cowles is as good as ever. Particularly whenever Ash gets an opportunity to use her power of persuasion.
I really enjoyed this issue. Personally I found the story beats and revelations to be particularly compelling. That being said, I could see some people finding it a little flat. With roughly 60% of the issue devoted to the fictional backstory of a literary figure, that is extremely out there. Despite that, the segment is handled with both reverence and the keen eye of an excellent storyteller. DIE #9 gets high marks from me again.
DIE #9 is available right now wherever comics are sold
…handled with both reverence and the keen eye of an excellent storyteller.