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Recap / The Day of the Black Sun

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The Day of the Black Sun (in French Le Jour du Soleil noir) is the first album of the comic book series XIII. It was published in 1984.

An old angler, Abe, discovers a wounded man on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. With his wife, Sally, he brings him into their house and calls Martha, an alcoholic ex-surgeon, for help. The wounded man survives, but he is amnesiac, so he does not know who he is and how he has got wounded. He had no identity papers, so the only clues are a key and a tattoo above his clavicle: the number XIII. The mysterious man recovers slowly at Abe and Sally's for two months, then hitmen show up to kill him.


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The Day of the Black Sun provides examples of:

  • 13 Is Unlucky: The main character has XIII tattooed above the clavicle and he can't catch a break. In the end, he tells a tramp that his name is 13 and the tramp answers that such a name should bring bad luck.
  • The Alcoholic: Martha, an ex-surgeon who drinks 20 glasses of whisky per day. She becomes sober once she meets XIII, but she relapses as soon as he leaves.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Amos reveals to XIII that he is the murderer of William Sheridan. Subverted: in the next episodes, it will be revealed that he is not.
  • Amnesiac Hero: XIII is amnesiac. He does not even remember his name. He has amazing fighting skills, but no idea how he got them.
  • Amnesiac Resonance: XIII instinctively fights and defeats the hitmen who have moved into Abe and Sally's house.
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  • Assassination Attempt: William Sheridan was assassinated in his car during a parade.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: The hitmen have cornered XIII and they are going to shoot him. There is no time for prayers any more. Then, BANG! Amos's men have shot dead the two hitmen.
  • Bathroom Break-Out: XIII escapes from the bank through the window of the toilet.
  • Battle in the Rain: The final confrontation between XIII and the hitmen.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: There is one in XIII's safe at the bank.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The knife XIII took to open shells is handy when he has to neutralize two hitmen.
  • Chick Magnet: Without even trying, XIII charms Martha and the librarian.
  • Cyanide Pill: Amos's men search XIII's mouth because they are afraid he could have a cyanide pill.
  • Disease Bleach: XIII has a grey streak on his left temple where a bullet scratched him.
  • Dirty Cop: Hemmings. When he hears that XIII is in Eastown, instead of arresting him, he tries to get his hands on the money he received for the Black Sun operation.
  • Easy Amnesia: XIII was shot in the head. He recovers perfectly, except that he is amnesiac: he does not remember anything of his whole life. His other mental and physical capacities are not affected.
  • Enhance Button: Amos uses it on an amateur footage to show XIII how they identified the murderer of William Sheridan.
  • Event Title: The "Day of the Black Sun" is the name given by a journalist to the day where President William Sheridan was assassinated.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: The reveal that XIII is involved in the murder of President William Sheridan
  • Genre Savvy: XIII is genre savvy. He says he will act as as sleuth of detective novel to discover who he is. Later, he tells Hemmings that he looks like a dirty cop from a B-movie.
  • Good Samaritan: Abe, Sally and Martha help XIII when he is badly wounded.
  • Hot Librarian: Subverted: The librarian in Eastown fits the physical description (glasses, skirt), but she is not shy at all: she suggests XIII to have dinner with her.
  • Identity Amnesia: XIII does not remember who he is.
  • Implacable Man: The Mongoose. While he is leaving, he says he will find XIII back, wherever in the world he hides.
  • Inspector Javert: Amos investigates the murder of William Sheridan and he is convinced XIII is the murderer.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: XIII has forgotten all information pertaining to his identity, but he has retained all of his skills. His amnesia is only retrograde.
  • Last Kiss: XIII gives one to Martha while she is dying.
  • Linked List Clue Methodology: XIII has a key. The key opens Kim Rowland's house, where he finds a message and another key. This new key opens a safe in the bank, where there is a Briefcase Full of Money. The message tells him that Kim is where the Indian goes.
  • Name Amnesia: XIII does not remember his own name. He thinks it could be Jake Shelton, but Amos reveals that it is a fake identity.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Mongoose.
  • Never Bring a Gun to a Knife Fight: XIII kills a Professional Killer armed with a gun with a knife he used to open shells.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: William Sheridan, an American president who was killed in his car during a parade. Does not it remind you of John F. Kennedy?
  • No One Could Survive That!: XIII jumps through the window of Amos's office, which is on the 4th floor. Amos and his men assume that he is dead. A guy goes down to look for XIII's body, but he cannot find it. Of course, XIII survived and escaped.
  • Off the Wagon: Martha relapses as soon as XIII leaves.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Abe and Sally's son died during the war.
  • Police Brutality: Amos's men beat down Wayne and Hemmings to get information. When XIII tells Amos that he is Jake Shelton, a guy immediately smacks him. Then Amos tells him he will have a terrible night, so that tomorrow he will speak, but XIII escapes.
  • Professional Killer: The hitmen who are after XIII. One even boasts of being a real pro.
  • Quest for Identity: XIII does not remember who he is, so he tries to discover it.
  • Ransacked Room: Kim Rowland's house was ransacked.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Abe and Sally name XIII Alan, because it was the name of their deceased son. Martha tells XIII that the death of their son is the reason why they enjoy taking care of him.
  • The Reveal: Amos reveals to XIII that he is the murderer of President William Sheridan.
  • Roof Hopping: XIII jumps from one building to another when the hitmen try to kill him at his hotel.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Abe and Sally are killed in this first installment of the series to show that the organization that is after XIII is deadly serious.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • XIII takes off his shoes to make believe a hitman that he hides behind the corner of Abe and Sally's house.
    • Hemmings asks the librarian to show XIII Kim Rowland's file, so that he goes to her house, where he can catch him.
  • Shovel Strike: XIII uses a shovel to neutralize two hitmen during his final confrontation.
  • Skunk Stripe: XIII has a white stripe of hair, as a result of being grazed by a bullet.
  • Spy Speak: Kim Rowland's message. It mentions "the Mongoose" and "where the Indian goes".
  • Stern Chase: XIII has to flee several times because he is chased by hitmen, bank security guards and Amos.
  • Super Window Jump: In order to escape from Amos, XIII jumps through a window.
  • Taking the Bullet: Martha intervenes and receives the bullets aimed at XIII.
  • Tattoo as Character Type: The protagonist has simple tattoo above the clavicle: the number XIII (Moderate Sized). Amos reveals that this is the mark of the members of a conspiracy (Organizational Emblem) that attempted to kill the president.
  • You Wake Up on a Beach: The story starts when XIII is found unconscious on a beach by Abe.
  • Whole Plot Reference: To The Bourne Identity. A man is found in the see. He is amnesiac because of a head injury and has amazing fighting skills. The only clue to guess his identity is in his own body (here a tattoo instead of a film). The amnesiac investigates about his own identity and gets access to a large amount of money in a bank in the process. He is chased by hitmen, even in his hotel. He discovers that he is a killer involved in a conspiracy.

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