Read The Day of the Black Sun by Jean Van Hamme Free Online
Book Title: The Day of the Black Sun|
The size of the: 746 KB
Date of issue: February 14th 2007
ISBN 13: 9780785126539
The author of the book: Jean Van Hamme
Format files: PDF
Read full description of the books The Day of the Black Sun:I just finished Robert Ludlum's excellent thriller "The Bourne Identity" and was stunned by how similar the opening sequences were to what I remembered from the first volume in the iconic series XIII by William Vance and Jean Van Hamme. So I re-read "Le Jour du Soleil Noir" and must say I am surprised that there has never been a lawsuit for plagiarism.
But I checked, and there never was! I looked through the internet and could not find even a trace of anybody mentioning the similarity of the plots. Also, both were published around the same time, Robert Ludlum's thriller in 1980 and, as far as I know, XIII vol 1 in 1984.
Both plots have an amnesiac as a central character, both protagonists slowly uncover what just might be their real names, both are physically well-trained and possess military-style fighting skills. Both speak foreign languages, and both are good-looking dudes.
Fair enough - so far the similarities may have been generic. But the opening sequences of "Soleil Noir" show XIII washed up on the shore of a North American small fishing village (identical in "Bourne"). XIII is then gradually nursed back to life by the local doctor (identical), who is an ex-surgeon (identical) and a drunk (identical). Later in the plot, XIII learns that he is an assassin (identical) only to find out at some point that he is not (identical).
Still, there are sufficient details in the plot that are not identical to break this theme of similarities, and in the later volumes of the series the similarities come to an end. Still, how uncannily similar at least the opening sequences of the two plots!
And what did I think of it? Well, I have not just read the first volume but read through the first eight, until "Treize Contre Un". And I must say, I am a bit underwhelmed. For a series that enjoys such standing amongst BD, and is created by arguably one of the best writer/artist duos in the genre, I thought the plot was oddly inconsequential, and the artwork a bit sloppy, certainly in the first volumes.
What I disliked in particular was that the twists and turns in the search for XIII's identity were mostly just given to the reader. Hardly ever did XIII actually do any work to uncover clues, or force characters into revealing some of the backstory. Usually, the sort of stuff that happens is this: XIII offs two killers who are after him and finds a photograph on one of them. The photo shows himself with a young woman, and on the back of it is printed the address of the photoshop which developed it (remember this is 1984, digital cameras did not exist yet). He takes himself to the town in the address, and starts looking for traces of himself in the local registrar office. He does not find anything but - wait for it - sees an open folder on the desk of the municipal clerk handling the registers, and in this folder is - patience, yes, you guessed it - the photo and the address of the woman on the photo!
Heureka! Great detective work. One clue leads to the next, like in Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, and finally he is subjected to hours of explanation of who he might be by another character in the story. And unfortunately, as the series progresses, this form of presentation gets worse. So far, it has found its tedious climax in "La Nuit de 3 Aout", in which one character actually reads him part of his backstory from a journal!
Not only is this dull and boring, it also misses completely the point of BD. If i want to read a novel, I go and read a novel. It is clear enough that Van Hamme is not a very good writer, and I am not surprised in the slightest that his brief venture into novel-writing in the 70s did not meet with success. So why do I have to sit through pages and pages of badly written verbiage, when what I would like is a well-crafted BD? Also, while XIII is being read all this, he is basically immobile, sitting in a chair, or on a bench. Vance does not render these sequences masterfully with what could have been atmospheric drawings - so the effect really is tedium, I am afraid.
And finally, a word on XIII himself. For a highly-trained military-style fighter he allows himself to be overpowered by just about anybody, and also all the time! In many scenes, he does not extricate himself from the predicament in question by his own skill, but relies on others to rescue him.
So, I am afraid to say, what remains, after eight volumes of XIII, is mostly disappointment. XIII remains rather passive, and is being driven through his adventures by chance happenings, the help of his fellow-characters, and the tendency of his creators to serve his story to the reader on a silver platter.
Read information about the authorJean Van Hamme, is a Belgian novelist and comic book writer. He has written scripts for a number of Belgian/French comic series, including Histoire sans héros, Thorgal, XIII, Blake and Mortimer, Lady S and Largo Winch.
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