Writer: Robert Kirkman & Scott M. Gimple
Artist: Chris Burnham
Die!Die!Die! was meant to be an airdrop comic that no one knew was coming. Kirkman stated he wanted this to happen to keep the element of surprise that he had as a kid walking into a comic shop. The feeling of not knowing what was coming or what the covers would look like. He succeeded in his plan and here we are reviewing this secret comic without knowing anything about it. So let’s delve in together.
Die!Die!Die! is the bubblegum action flick from the ‘80s that you loved despite too cheesy dialog and over-the-top action scenes that physics just don’t apply to. This is definitely a first issue. So much so that we only meet the characters and get a semblance of a plot before the final panel. Basically, we have a dirty senator and a couple of mercenaries about to carry out a mission to rescue another mercenary from the senator’s payroll. We got some political stories brewing up and it has that Lucky Number Slevin feel to it at certain times (any points for a movie reference in a comic review?). We are left knowing the next issue will bring more carnage and one-liners and maybe more to review than just some meet and greets and an opening action scene.
Kirkman is a wizard at dialogue, so if he is sharing the writing credits with Gimple (former showrunner for AMC’s The Walking Dead), then it should be easy to spot whose writing is where. There are some panels here that are well written and some that feel borrowed from a Chuck Norris movie. The action movie influence is obvious. The dialogue in the lone action scene is cringe-worthy, to say the least. However, after finishing the issue, I am leaning more towards that lousy dialogue being intentional. The characters we have met so far are hard to pull for, so I am hoping for either more characters or some character arcs we care to follow. In the end, it doesn’t feel like a Kirkman book, but the story is still intriguing.
Chris Burnham (Nameless) is putting in some good work here with some bold linework. I won’t spoil the scene, but there is a rather gruesome panel or two that will beg you to look away and it’s…awesome. Nathan Fairbairn is dousing these pages with color and I have to give him credit as well. The blood and brains we do get to see are fun and are a good balance of gross and comical. Knowing that there is a ton of bloodshed to come, I am very happy that these two guys are on board.
There was a lot of set up in this issue, but it is a #1, so we can’t pout about it. It does end with the hint that there is plenty to come and Kirkman has stated that this will be monthly and the covers will not be revealed until they hit the comic shops. We have to hand it to the guy for doing something new in a world where some much is spoiled and advertised to death before it’s release that you can accidentally ruin a comic before getting out of the comic shop with said comic. Kirkman understands that you need to shake things up every now and then and not only does he try, but he succeeds.
It might be cheesy and it might be bloody, and that might be your thing. Die!Die!Die! #1 has potential, but we just won't know until the next issue where the story actually begins.