Monday, 16 July 2012

XIII Three Silver Watches review

For many volumes now, Jean Van Hamme has been drip feeding us information about the mysterious past of his amnesiac spy XIII.
Well, thanks to a character we have recently met, this book goes a long way towards filling us in on a lot of information. Only… it doesn’t really.
Yes, there is an enormous amount of information imparted here, however it is not about XIII, but rather about his grandparents.
Because of this, there is a real danger that this book could just be two men sitting about talking to each other for the duration, and for the first few pages I thought that this would be the case and that the dynamic cover image was going to turn out to be a big fat lie. I need not have worried though. For while a lot of the book is indeed two men talking, they are talking on the way to foil an invasion or between fights, as Van Hamme breaks his backstory up with an action filled main narrative. A narrative that does indeed include fighter jets doing what fighter jets do best: blowing things up.
And it’s one of these scenes that gives us our most ludicrous and over the top set piece yet. It’s insane and brilliant all at the same time, and wouldn’t look out of place at the climax of a James Bond movie.
This is not the best XIII book, and it is certainly not one for a new reader to start with – they would be lost from the first page. And while it is text heavy and at times heavy going, if you are a fan of the series, it is utterly essential.
Oh, and that’s before I even get to the ending, which left me thankful that I have the next volume sitting on the too-be-read pile already!

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