XIII – Comic Review

Writer: Jean Van Hamme

Artist: William Vance

Publisher: Cinebook

XII is perhaps one of the better known Franco-Belgian comic titles in the UK and America.  My first exposure to the title was through the XBOX game based on the comic, back in 2003.  But the comic series is much older than that, having begun in 1984.

If you’ve read The Bourne Identity, or seen the films, you’ll be familiar with the way the story begins.  XIII is inspired by Robert Ludlum’s spy fiction thriller, and this first volume similarly introduces us to an amnesiac who washes ashore with little evidence as to his identity.  In the case of the comic, a key, a bullet wound and a tattoo of the number XIII are the paltry clues from which he must attempt to rebuild his life.

The Day of the Black Sun starts a little slowly, but the pace soon builds and plenty of action follows as the first few threads of information are uncovered.  The book has been well translated and there are none of those confusing mistakes so often present in translations.  The art is naturally a little dated given the age of the book, but if anything this gives it a pleasantly retro feel.

The Day of the Black Sun is only the first chapter of XIII’s story, and with its introductions and slow building pace it feels very much like a first act.  But it is a promising start to what looks likely to be a gripping series.  Cinebook will be publishing XIII, which stretches to 19 volumes, in English from May 2010.

GS Reviewer: Gareth Webb

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4 comments

  1. Oh, XIII. Have you ever played (or heard of) the video game? I don’t think it did so well…

    • geeksyndicate /

      I don’t how well the game did finicially but I really enjoyed it. I thought they had some neat ideas in the way the game was handled.

  2. Not sure I ever finished the game but it was great fun. It looked really nice as well (for the time), I think it was one of the first cell-shaded/comic effect games I had seen. May still be upstairs somewhere with my dusty XBOX, very tempted to have another look.

  3. jarno /

    x111 the game is awesome i played the game like 8 times and it stay’s cool

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