Comic Book / XIII

XIII (Thirteen in Roman numerals) is a successful long-running Franco-Belgian Comics series written and drawn by Belgians Jean Van Hamme and William Vance. The series was initially serialised in 1984 in Spirou and became instantly a hit. It was later published by Dargaud.

The series begins with a man found on a shore in Peacock Bay in the East Coast of the United States, suffering from amnesia due to a bullet wound to the head, and just the tattoo "XIII" on his collarbone to link him to his past. Volumes one through five deal with XIII searching for his identity and his past, only to find himself confronting the "Conspiracy of the XX" which aims to a coup d'état in order to overthrow democracy in the USA.

The rest of the series shows him dealing with the remnants of his past, stopping the number I of the Conspiracy once and for all, and facing more and more enemies afterwards, as a public reveal of his past would have very unpleasant consequences for some very powerful men ...

Does this remind you of anything? Yes, it was heavily inspired by Robert Ludlum's Bourne Series.

A Spin-Off comic book series titled XIII Mystery explores the backstory of various characters of the initial series. Each album features a different art style by a different creative team, under the supervision of Jean Van Hamme.

The comic book series was adapted in 2003 as a First-Person Shooter by Ubisoft, and in 2008 as a two-part miniseries on NBC starring Stephen Dorff and Val Kilmer. A two season-long Franco-Canadian TV series was also produced, from 2011 to 2012.

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    XIII Albums 

Original series by Jean Van Hamme and William Vance:

  • 1 - The Day of The Black Sun, 1984 (Le jour du soleil noir)
  • 2 - Where the Indian Goes, 1985 (Là où va l'Indien)
  • 3 - All the Tears of Hell, 1986 (Toutes les Larmes de l'Enfer)
  • 4 - S.P.A.D.S, 1987
  • 5 - Full Red, 1988 (Rouge Total)
  • 6 - The Jason Fly File, 1989 (Le Dossier Jason Fly)
  • 7 - The Night of August 3rd, 1990 (La Nuit du 3 Août)
  • 8 - Thirteen to One, 1991 (Treize Contre Un)
  • 9 - For Maria, 1992 (Pour Maria)
  • 10 - El Cascador, 1994
  • 11 - Three Silver Watches, 1995 (Trois Montres d'Argent)
  • 12 - The Trial, 1997 (Le Jugement)
  • 13 - The XIII Mystery: The Investigation, 1999 (XIII Mystery : L'Enquête)note 
  • 14 - Danger to the State, 2000 (Secret Défense)
  • 15 - Unleash the Hounds!, 2002 (Lâchez les Chiens !)
  • 16 - Operation Montechristo, 2004 (Opération Montechristo)
  • 17 - Maximilian's Gold, 2005 (L'or de Maximilien)
  • 18 - The Irish Version, 2007 (La Version Irlandaise), drawn by Jean Giraud, to accompany The Last Round
  • 19 - The Last Round, 2007 (Le Dernier Round)

Continuation series by Youri Jigounov and Yves Sente:

  • 20 - The Day of the Mayflower, 2011 (Le Jour du Mayflower)
  • 21 - The Bait, 2012 (L'Appât)
  • 22 - Return to Green Falls, 2013 (Retour à Greenfalls)
  • 23 - The Martyr's Message, 2014 (Le Message du Martyr)
  • 24 - The Legacy of Jason Mac Lane, 2016 (L'Héritage de Jason Mac Lane)

    XIII Mystery Albums 

  • 1 - The Mongoose, Xavier Dorison and Ralph Meyer (2008)
  • 2 - Irina, Éric Corbeyran and Philippe Berthet (2009)
  • 3 - Little Jones, Yann le Pennetier and Éric Henninot (2010)
  • 4 - Colonel Amos, Alcante and François Boucq (2011)
  • 5 - Steve Rowland, Fabien Nury and Richard Guérineau (2012)
  • 6 - Billy Stockton, Laurent-Frédéric Bollée and Steve Cuzor (2013)
  • 7 - Betty Barnowsky, Joël Callède and Sylvain Vallée (2014)
  • 8 - Martha Shoebridge, Frank Giroud and Colin Wilson (2015)
  • 9 - Felicity Brown, Matz and Rossi (2015)
  • 10 - Calvin Wax, Fred Duval and Corentin Rouge (2016)
  • 11 - Jonathan Fly, Luc Brunschwig and TaDuc (2017)
  • 12 - Alan Smith, Philippe Buchet and Daniel Pecqueur (2018)
  • 13 - Judith and Jessica, Olivier Grenson and Jean Van Hamme (2018)

XIII provides examples of:

  • Second Episode Introduction: Major Jones and General Benjamin Carrington are both introduced in the second book Where the Indian Goes.
  • Series Fauxnale: Three times!
    • Full Red: XIII found out his identity. The last living members of the Conspiracy of the XX are arrested number One.
    • The Trial: The Moongose and Number One die. But on the last page XIII is jailed by Frank Giordino.
    • The Last Round: The last villains die and XIII moves in the house of the old couple who took care of him in The Day of The Black Sun. It was the end of the series until Yves Sente renewed it.
  • Training from Hell: The S.P.A.D.S. training, very much so. The weakest soldiers have a chance to die.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Felicity Brown disapears halfway the The Last Round. As far as we know she's still alive and free despite her numerous crimes.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Moongoose loves this trope. Felicity also killed her lover and accomplice after they killed Steve Rowland's father.