Review: Number 13 TPB
Number 13, a young cybernetic amnesiac, wanders a postapocalyptic wasteland searching for a father he can’t remember. He possesses powers coveted by irrational, feuding factions of the future, and he quickly becomes entangled in their deadly struggle for world dominance! A sci-fi adventure about one’s search for identity in a grim, violent world! Collects Number 13 #0–#3.
Issues 0-3 of Dark Horse’s post-apocalyptic story featuring an amnesiac android is collected into a trade paperback this week. The story is from Robert Love and David Walker, with Walker providing scripts. Love handles pencils with Dana Shukartsi lending a hand with inks. Heather Breckel, Michelle Davies, Diego Simone, and Brennan Wagner handle colors. Love, Thomas Mauer, and David Walker all tackle lettering. So if you missed it when it first came out, is Number 13 something you can count on for a good read?
The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where two factions are warring with each other. Long ago a plague hit the earth that changed everything. Those that were affected were mutated into monstrosities aptly called Fecteds. The few humans that remained immune to the changes were called Munes. A doctor tried to save the world by finding a solution to the Fecteds. He created special androids called Servators who would combat the threat. There was one special little boy who possibly held the key the doctor was looking for. Of course the little boy doesn’t know any of this. When we first meet him, he is wandering the wastelands looking for answers as to who he is and where he came from. With no identifying marks save for the number 13 on the side of his head, those he meets call him 13. As the boy runs across other survivors and people start to learn his identity as a lost Servator, he quickly finds himself thrown into the middle of a gigantic war. Can 13 find the answers he so desperately seeks? Will the oncoming battle take his new little family? Who are really the good guys and who is out to hurt 13?
Love and Walker craft a great story. There isn’t an overload of information and setup. We learn what happened and we see the end results. The world is built, but it doesn’t have the tedious history of the incidents that caused it other post-apocalyptic stories have. Love and Walker get down to business pretty quick and get to work on making you care about the characters. There is definitely room for more stories and the history of the particular world, but they get it done in the miniseries. The art and colors are bright, brilliant, and cartoony. They stand in stark contrast to the dark and often macabre story that is presented. The contrast helps add another layer and some depth to the story. It’s an odd, but wise choice. With the majority of the main characters being children, there is a lot of innocence and naivety to the characters. The various Fected and other Servators are beautifully presented.
Bottom Line: Number 13 is a great story that gets down to basics quickly. We get the outline of what happened to make the world we’re seeing, but what we’re reading is more about the characters and how they’re surviving in the vast wasteland. With great art and an intriguing story, this is one miniseries that I’d like to see more of. 4/5