Thursday, August 8, 2019

DIE: The Series to Date

As I've been pretty under the weather and useless in terms of getting out of the house and doing anything, I've been catching up on my reading. Gotta make the best of a boring situation. Actually that's not entirely true, I'm never bored. Anyway, this means I've caught up on a lot of comic book series. I'm always reading but right now I'm literally plowing through a sea of series. many of which I meant to read in the last 6 months. There's seriously just so much coming out that sometimes a busy comic book promoter just can't keep up.

Yesterday I got caught up on DIE. Vol # 1 which came out back in June. Yes I know how awful you I think I am for not taking the time to read this until now. Well I'm going to be honest, I've never been a real big fan of Kieron Gillen (unlike the rest of the comic book world). My dislike started back when I first read Phonogram. That entire book left a really awful flavor in my mouth because well, it felt so dishonest. It wasn't anything like my experience as a female musician in the music industry. Yes I know, let's throw the magic stuff out of the equation but the idea that women have ANY power in music was just ridiculous to me. And so I guess you know that I didn't stick with reading The Wicked + The Divine either.

Yet this article isn't about those books and I am choosing to look at DIE without involving all my feelings of prior stories Gillen has written. I'm even willing to bet that I'm the ONLY person who took those stories that way. Sidenote: I've written articles on them and I believe they've been published on my website as well as elsewhere but I can't recall for certain anymore.

So what did I think of DIE? I.....*drumroll* .... didn't hate it. I actually found it pretty fun. As someone who played an awful lot of pencil and paper RPG games without all the fancy figurines (and just desperately always wanted to be the Glitterboy character in every game of RIFTS, to the ire of every DM), the story brought me back to fun games with friends. Of course in this story, the friends are sucked into another dimension where a game master literally controls the world and the lives of everyone in it INCLUDING the players. My RPG games never went that way, much to my great sadness.

So all the main characters go over to their friend Solomon's house for a game and he presents them with these special dice (sorry die) and they all get sucked into this world. They're gone for 2 years. Only 5 of the group return while their friend Solomon remains trapped in the world. They don't know much about the world in terms of whether it's real, if all the people who populate it are also people stolen from Earth or if it's some fantasy realm that has no real impact on anyone besides them. They do have crazy awesome powers and new bodies.

Our storyteller and main character Ash is actually a dude on Earth. This awesome blonde, viking-metal-looking fellow created a bombshell female character which is who he gets to be when he's plunged unknowingly into this other realm. Trapped for all time. Well as I said, they do get out after 2 years. The details of that harrowing story are slipped to you through Vol 1. Of course the 5 are plunged back into the realm against their will once again. I guess a story based solely on what happens after the adventure, isn't much of an adventure (although I would read that story...hmmm maybe I already have).

There is some fun playing around with Ash. I mean as a character who's gender changes (not exactly at will of course), the possibilities are endless and I'm having flashbacks to Ranma 1/2. Of course this story is NOTHING like Ranma. There is a lot of drama that can't be settled with creative dueling and the characters actually get mortally wounded... or die.

So here we are 6 issues in. I'm starting to get a decent idea of who these characters are and there's a lot of drama and action happening at the same time. I mean this is what one needs in their escapism isn't it? I'm interested in how these guys are gonna get themselves out of the realm this time, I do want to know more about the realm itself. Is it a distant planet, universe, or an actual Jumanji board? Well what is it? That kind of curiosity is what kept me watching LOST long after I should have given up. So I can only hope that Gillen intends to slip us the good stuff we want and not merely use the smoke monster to entice us into 6 seasons of story without a satisfying explanation.

There is a real good catch of course to explain why the band of 5 cannot simply leave the realm the same way they had last time. The trouble is, they all have to agree to leave and that, they don't. In fact a couple actually prefer the weird DIE universe and why not? Super powers, dragons, beautiful elves, magic and as heroes they have hotties constantly throwing themselves at them, not to mention an endless supply of beer. I mean, I'm down for all that. So how do they get out of this one? And how much time will pass in the real world? You'll have to read to find out.

DIE is an ongoing series according to Image and with the success of Gillen's past series, I think we can except to be in this one for the long haul. If you're looking for a new on-going series and just can't take the heartbreak of another cancelled Image supposed ongoing, I think you've got a safe bet with DIE. Add it to your pull list and expect things to get... a little dark I wager.

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