Review of XIII books 6-7 The Jason Fly Case and The Night Of August Third
Writer: Jean Van Hamme.
Art: William Vance.
Published by Cinebook.
Review by Stewart Loud.
This week I’m doing the write-up for the latest couple of books publishers, Cinebook, have kindly sent over for me to review.
Jumping straight in at books 6 and 7, the back story is quickly recapped and we’re introduced to Jason Fly, a man who, after waking with terrible amnesia and injuries with no memory of his past or who he is whatsoever, has so far discovered that he used to work as some sort of American government super operative after taking part in a top secret, black ops training program and was subsequently injured (in the brains) causing his total memory loss. Now he wonders the land looking for information and people that might help him piece together his life and help him regain some memory of who he used to be, all the while being hunted by shadowy government agencies and assassins who want him dead because of what he might discover.
Now published in English by Cinebook, the story was originally published in French in 1990.
Suddenly the adventures of movie action hero, Jason Bourne, (Bourne Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum) don’t seem as original as they used to.
This is the second story I’ve read by Jean Van Hamme, (the first was Largo Winch) and again he treats us to good, believable, solid story telling and characters. No mutants, vampires or aliens anywhere to be seen. The 2 books tell one complete chapter in the XIII story as Jason, returns to the town where he believes he lived as a child. The quiet mountain town of Green Falls, unfortunately and perhaps unsurprisingly turns out not to be as peaceful as appearances would suggest. Assisted by his plucky accomplice and possible love interest female US army officer Jones, (who is shockingly good at throwing big guys through windows despite her slim feminine appearance) have to deal with Ku Klux Clan members, dim witted red neck rapists and remorseless assassins hell bent on blowing up whatever buildings necessary to take out Jason before he uncovers the truth about what happened to his Father 20 years ago.
These 2 books didn’t grip me as much as the Largo Winch titles I reviewed a while back but they’re still worth a look for anyone who likes conspiracy stories like the Bourne films. I did get the feeling that what had come before this point in the story had perhaps been a little more action packed with Jones recovering from a horrific abdominal injury received during a previous story.
The story is complimented with nice straight forward artwork by William Vance. Well put together interior and exterior scenes are populated with realistic and individual looking characters. Another thing that continues to impress me about the art in French comics I’ve read recently is how technically good all the scenery and vehicles look. Again this isn’t quite as good an example as Largo Winch, but it’s still a skilfully illustrated couple of books.