Saturday, July 9, 2016


                                           XIII Vol.1: THE DAY OF THE BLACK SUN 
Written by J. Van Hamme and drawn by William Vance. Published in English by CineBook.

Comics (and bandes dessinées) have always mined other mediums for ideas (and vise-versa). Sometimes that fact is quite obvious as in J. Van Hamme and William Vance's XIII. One could believe that the protagonist, named Alan in this first story, lives on a parallel plane of existence with Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne character.

Obviously, the man in question here is either military or spook. But since he lost his memory, not even he can be sure. All we know is that a whole bunch of people are after him and that he might have committed a murder worthy of national ramifications.

Old pro J. Van Hamme delivers a script that is just top notch. The plot is solid, the pace tense and the dialogues effective.

Another veteran, William Vance, handles the art chores and just like vintage cars, his style never goes out of fashion. One could almost compare him to a Belgian version of the late-great John Buscema. An accomplished draftsman and graphic storyteller, his art is direct, without bells and whistles and is concerned in telling the story in a clear manner.

Originally published in French in 1984, the book is available in English from CineBook and is the first of many albums in the series. Get it here:

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