Review - Dies Irae #1 (@MonumentousMatt)

Silence is golden, but it's also a powerful storytelling device. In Dies Irae #1, the silence of a lonely world provides plenty of opportunity to save it. The issue is written and illustrated by Matthew Rucker.

In an arctic post-rapture apocalypse, where the last remaining humans can do nothing but hide to survive, one person discovers the key to fighting back against the denizens of heaven and hell.

Rucker doesn't use any dialogue at all in the comic, instead relying on the action to carry the story. There's a quiet elegance in how Rucker portrays the lead character: a mysterious masked woman with a penchant for seeing parts of the universe via a third eye. A lot of the issue is really up for interpretation on the part of the reader and the issue is rife with religious undertones. The sword that the hero brandishes strongly resembles a cross and it's implied that she uses it in her quest against an army of demons. Rucker doesn't really explain much else about the world, such as a small group of survivors the main character stumbles across; for example who they are, are there others, etc. Rucker doesn't necessarily need to focus on the the entire world as there's a lot of density in the overarching tale, although the panel does seem like something of a throwaway panel.

The issue excels in portraying the action to the reader, courtesy of Rucker's clean illustrations. The main character is rendered to almost look like a robot of sorts and it's a surprising twist when her true identity is revealed later in the issue. The enemies the protagonist squares off against are illustrated with a nod to various religious symbols and icons known throughout history. It was smart of Rucker to keep the panels clean and conformed to a standard grid as it keeps the action flowing. The colors are predominantly stark white, which fits in nicely with the arctic landscape being described as well as a symbol of purity of good.

Dies Irae #1 manages to cram a lot expository in a book with only illustrations. The main character is on what's clearly an important mission in the grand scheme of things as the opponents crossing paths with them vary in terms of their appearance and abilities. Rucker's tale is quick-moving and emphasizes persistence. Rucker's illustrations are very straightforward and clean, effectively showing the reader the entirety of the world and its adversaries. Dies Irae #1 is a solid read that offers the loneliness of a post-apocalyptic world through its lack of dialogue.

Dies Irae #1 is available via comixology now.