Cinebook ltd. 2008
By Ralph Meyer & Xavier Dorison
Coloured by Caroline Delabie & Ralph Meyer
Lettered by Design Amorandi
Translated by Jerome Saincantin
Overseen by Jean Van Hamme
He was XIII’s most dogged enemy from the start, but who really was the Mongoose, that mysterious assassin-for-hire who nearly killed the amnesiac hero so many times? During an encounter between him and Kim Rowland - an event that took place just before the start of the XIII series - the merciless hitman tells the story of his childhood and how he became a contract killer. ‘Anyone would have in my circumstances’, he claims. But would they? You be the judge.
This is a spin-off from the main series and focuses on the villains and other characters that have crossed paths with XIII. I love that too because to get a more indepth look into those that have come and gone through those pages is something that we don’t really see. I mean Solo Avengers tried it and so did Teen Titans Spotlight On but they didn’t do those the right way so those were missed opportunities in my opinion. This, this is some absolutely stellar storytelling and yes it’s 64 pages but that’s a bonus because it just means we get so much more out of it.
I am a huge fan of the way that this is being told. The story & plot development is amazing and how we see this through the sequence of events unfolding as well as how the reader learns information is laid out expertly. This has one of the greatest story within a story where the villain's monologuing is absolutely one of the most well written things I have read. The character development is amazing to me. So while we learn the life story of the Mongoose, which by the way is one amazing alias to be known by, We get to see one of the most incredible in depth look at who he is. The pacing is superb and as it takes you through the pages revealing the twists and turns along the way it showcases not only how well this book is structured but how it all works together to create the ebb & flow for the story.
The interiors here are fantastic! The linework that we see is so expertly laid down and how the varying weights and techniques we see do wonders in bringing out the attention to detail for us. That we see backgrounds being utilised as we do not only enhances the moment but it really does bring us some beautiful depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the book. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a masterful eye for storytelling. The colour work that we see is really divine. How it’s utilised to create even more detail through how we see the hues and tones within the colours is gorgeous! The way we see the shading, highlights and shadow work all of which utilised various techniques shows an incredibly talented colourist who really understands how colour works, which is not always how we think it does.
Sometimes you find a sequel or spin-off that is in every way equal to that of the source material it comes from. This is one of those rare instances. I love comics that don’t always fit into the stereotype of what we consider mainstream. This is about a man who trained, made himself into the man he wanted to be and how it went from there. This is very intelligently written with some really nice layers to the story that make reading this feel like a regular sized book and not an oversized one. I cannot recommend Cinebook enough and their catalogue is full of amazing books. Expand your reading horizons today.