What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Die #11! Unlike other books which we’ve come back to over the course of the past three months, Die is one of those which ends up being a breath of fresh air. Before all this craziness with the pandemic hit, the last issue of Die was the end of the story arc. As the end of the story arc for ‘Split The Party’ Die #10 changed the game in a dramatic way moving forward. Where I once said getting back home was going to be easier said than done? Never before did that feel like more of an understatement after the true split that this party took on.
On one hand you have Ash and Izzy who both have decided they aren’t ready to go home till they know they have left the world in better shape than they did before. On the other hand you have Angela and Matt who are still deadset on prioritizing going home. Then you have Chuck who is simply doing what he wants because he is living on borrowed time, given the revelation of how severe his case of cancer is. On top of that, you don’t even know what other factors could further influence some of these choices throughout their adventure. Now how the issue began felt just right considering the most important question dealt with what is going through the mind of Ash. So far this has been the most dramatic turn this story has taken. Just when you think you have her figured out, she hits you with the realization that maybe you don’t actually know what she wants. And how could you? Much of this story is her trying to figure that out for herself. The steps she takes in this issue particularly made that statement loud and clear.
For Izzy, things were more straightforward. Not only did she want to leave the world in better shape than they did before, she has a list of things she needed to do in order to repay her debt to the gods she asked favors from. What I appreciated about her writing in this issue was the effort put into helping us better understand things from her perspective. Of course there is still some struggle with the decision she had made to accomplish this task, but can you blame someone who takes to heart the reality that their actions in this world do matter?
As for the others, it was definitely a dangerous game they were playing. Once more on the run so that they could piece together a plan for getting back home. This time around facing more danger than they did before considering the resources both Ash and Izzy had to hunt them down. With that said, the emotions were more raw putting together Matt and Angela like this. They have a family to get back to. The stakes for them are real, as well as the view they take towards the things they see and do. As a game which preys on your emotions, they are both at the greatest disadvantage. That twist at the end of the issue hit hard because of it.
One thing I enjoyed getting back to was the interior work for this book. This is one of the most unique art styles you could ask for from a fantasy series on shelves. Off the bat you had to admire the creativity that goes into this world. It was one thing to get a glimpse of Ash’s new look on the cover, yet another thing to see the whole attire in scene. It was a stunning view which matched her role as a Dictator. That aside, there was much more focus on the character moments in this issue than anything action-packed or out of the ordinary. Not a problem to me because Hans does amazing work creating visual engagement from these characters. The way they react to certain situations, the way they react to each other, the focus that she places on those moments of expression. It puts you right into the scene to experience what they are going through, and a good portion of this issue was a strong reminder of what all of them are now going through. Beyond this, the lettering as usual was both distinguishing and succeeding in carrying active voices.
With the conclusion of Die #11, they have marked the start of a new game. Where one side is trying to actually play the game again, while the other has no interest in giving any more of their time to it. Things will indeed eventually get messy when every minute in the realm of Die is another minute where the game could put them through the same hell that it did in the past.