The previous book in the XIII series, Thirteen to One, provided a neat epilogue to what had gone before and set up a series of further adventures.
It ended with a stonking final page that promised much, but of course, this being from the unpredictable pen of Jean Van Hamme, none of what was set up in the finale of the last book is addressed here!
Instead, we find our not-so-amnesiac-anymore-or-is-he? hero in South America with the bafflingly loyal Major Jones. I say bafflingly because despite being a feisty independent woman who can look after herself, she does tag along after XIII quite a bit. And during this particular volume she accepts a pretty major revelation about his past with barely a ‘meh’.
Anyway, that aside, this is very much business as usual for XIII as he goes up against yet another sinister group of bad guys.
And when I say ‘business as usual’, you’ll know that this is not a bad thing. Because business as usual for XIII always involves plenty of action, convoluted and surprising plotting and lots of good old fashioned adventuring.
As always, the art is brilliant, but Hamme’s plotting really stands out here.
He really is a great writer and the way he effortlessly weaves in plot elements for volumes near the beginning of the series and at the same time lays the groundwork for further ones is a joy to behold.
This is the first volume in a new cycle for XIII, and has one of those ending that leaves you not just wanting the next episode, but needing it.
XIII: For Maria is published by Cinebook.