You may remember that in the previous volume, The Jason Fly Case, we left our titular hero XIII in a bit of a sticky situation.
Well, this volume does not give the reader much time to gather their wits- after a brief recap page, we’re thrown straight into the thick of things. And what a lot of things there are too!
At the risk of sounding like I’m trying to be cleverer than you (well, I am, but never mind!), as a writer I can really appreciate the incredible job that Jean Van Hamme does with this series. He is juggling a hell of a lot of balls between the long story and character arcs and the shorter, but no less ambitious or complex, arcs of this particular adventure. It is a masterful display of how to write comics.
And talking of this adventure. Van Hamme set a lot of wheels rolling in the previous volume, and they (mostly) come to a neat halt at the end of this book, with the bittersweet conclusion of the story where the reader comes away knowing a lot more about the identity of XIII, and yet somehow has even more mysteries to contemplate.
And the art. Well, you don’t need me to tell you, do you? I was going to say something clichéd like "William Vance brings his ‘A’ game to this book," but I suspect that ‘A’ is the only game he has. There are many artistic highlights to this volume, but the standout sections are the flashback sequences- these are presented as plain black and white line art, so there is a wonderful chance to wallow in the utter beauty of the artist’s exquisite penmanship.
I’m beginning to sound like a broken record when it comes to these Cinebook releases, but you really need to buy this.