Current Reviews



Posted: Tuesday, September 13, 2005
By: Michael Deeley

Writer: J. Van Hammes
Artist: W. Vance
Editor: Ben Avery

Publisher: Alias
Price: $2.99 USD

The mysterious XIII learns he was given a large amount of money by a criminal organization called Black Sun. Now the man with no answers is being asked questions by corrupt cops, a secret agency run by one Col. Amos, and an assassin called The Mongoose. But one thing seems certain: XIII assassinated the President of the United States!

This issue reprints the last two pages of issue #1. Only this time, there’s writing on the note! Good move Alias!

The series still has that weird double-retro vibe. It’s a 60s spy thriller set in the 80s. There’s a Silver Age quality to the generic nature to all the names. This is the America that only exists in fiction. Things aren’t simple, but they’re not complicated. We don’t know exactly who the Mongoose or Col. Amos are working for, but we know bad guys when we see them. XIII’s amnesia brings him closer to the reader. We’re both looking for answers in a world that doesn’t make sense.

I’ve concluded European comic artists place greater emphasis on detail than America artists. I can see similarities between this, Moebius’ Blueberry, and Milo Manera’s erotica. There’s a strong sense of realism. At the same time, the pacing is as quick and sudden as superhero books. The only American equivalent I can think of are the adventure comic strips of the 1930s and 40s.

XIII is shaping up to be a stylish, exciting adventure series. Even after playing the video game, I’m surprised by “new” characters and griped by the hero’s tragic circumstances. My only complaint is that it doesn’t come out more often.

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