I’m sure that if you are not familiar with the comic, you will at least be aware for the name of this series through the video game and television mini-series.
Briefly- our hero is an amnesiac with a tattoo reading XIII- and that’s pretty much all he knows. He soon finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy, as people in fiction in this situation almost always do.
Anyway, we’re picking up in volume six, which is a good place for new readers to begin, as it begins a new story arc, one where XIII is starting to pick up the threads of his past life- threads that bring him, in this episode, to the snowbound town of Green Falls.
As this is the first in a new arc, a lot of what is going on is set-up, with a new conspiracy being hinted at in the town and a whole new cast of characters being introduced. Of course the writing, by Jean Van Hamme, is brilliant, and we flash between the present and the past- without captions to tell the reader we’re doing so- with consummate ease.
As for the art… what can I say? I lost count of how many times I slowed down, or even stopped reading the dialogue altogether just so I could drink in the splendour of William Vance’s art.
My only complaint, if this could even be called a complaint, is that the book ends on a great cliff-hanger that leaves the reader desperate for more.
XIII is published in the UK by Cinebook.