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
.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. More recently in 2011 a new adaptation has started in Canada.
Albums list :
- 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)
- 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)
Youri Jigounov and Yves Sente reprised the series in 2011:
- 20 - Mayflower Day, 2011 (Le Jour du Mayflower)
- 21 - The Lure, 2012 (L'Appât)
series titled XIII Mystery : l'enquête
(XIII Mystery : the Investigation
) explores the backstory of some minor or important characters of the initial series. Each album features a different art style by a different creative team, under the supervision of Jean Van Hamme:
- 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 (scheduled for 2013)
- 7 - Betty Barnowsky, Joël Callède and Sylvain Vallée (scheduled for 2013)
XIII provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual: The backstories of most characters are revealed in The XIII Mystery: The Investigation.
- Banana Republic: The Costa Verde under the dictature of General Ortiz.
- Book Ends: The Last Round ends with the hero standing on the same beach he was found in the first album.
- Comic-Book Time: The series started as an uchronia in the 80's with many nods to the Kennedy era, The Vietnam War, CIA operations in South America and the Watergate scandal. In the Mayflower Day, it's suddenly set in modern day (the characters use Facebook, president Obama is refered,...) but the characters haven't aged.
- Conspiracy Thriller: From The Day of The Black Sun to Full Red.
- Deep South: The setting of The Jason Fly File and The Night of August 3rd.
- Fictional Country: The Costa Verde.
- Freudian Excuse/Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The spinn-off give tragic backstories to The Mongoose, Irina and Billy Stockton.
- Girl of the Week: XIII meets and has fun with quite a few but Jones always comes back.
- Government Conspiracy: Oh boy...
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Long Runner Tech Marches On: The first book came out in 1984. Cell phones didn't exist and PCs looked very different. Last books have USB flash drives among other things.
- A MacGuffin Full of Money: Maximilian's Gold.
- Never Forgotten Skill: The story starts with a man with amnesia. Just like Jason Bourne, his combat skills are not at all affected by the memory loss.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Lee Marvin, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein and many others.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: The Big Bad of Betty Barnowski claims that he and his band of Sociopathic Soldiers will turn the country back to what it should have been before it was given to "fags and niggers". He also sends his soldiers to rob hallucinogens from local tribes at gunpoint and executes his men for failing him.
- Prison Episode: All the Tears of Hell.
- Series Fauxnale: Three times!
- Full Red: XIII found out his identity. The last living members of the Conspiracy of the XX are arrested ...save 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.