XIII Mystery Martha Shoebridge – Comic Book Review
Follow Genre: Drama, Adventure
Written by: Frank Giroud
Illustrations: Colin Wilson
Coloring: Bérengère Marquebreucq
Publisher: Dargaud

XIII Mystery Martha Shoebridge – Comic Book Review

Site Score
Good: lots of unexpected plot twists
Bad: timegaps might sometimes be too big
User Score
(5 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 6.2/10 (5 votes cast)

If you’re looking for a comic book for adults, full of intrigue, adultery and a load of whisky, search no more. XIII Mystery – Martha Shoebridge is the story of a promising gynecologist who, by meeting the wrong people and making the wrong choices, falls deeper and deeper into a bottomless pit. Brace yourself, we’re in for an emotional rollercoaster.


XIII is a series of Belgian comic books, originally published in French and created by Jean Van Hamme and William Vance in 1984. It tells the story of a man who runs ashore, not knowing who or where he is. The only noticeable characteristic he has, is a tattoo that reads ‘XIII’. After nineteen albums, Yves Sente and Youri Jigounov took over, be it with an entirely new scenario. In 2008, Dargaud, XIII’s publisher, started a spinoff of this series, named XIII Mystery. In this new series, every album is written and drawn by a different duo, but still directed by Jean Van Hamme, and revolves around one of the characters of the original series. This time, it’s Frank Giroud and Colin Wilson who get the chance to tell Martha Shoebridge’s story.

One day in the 1970s Marhta, a beautiful, young gynecologist, gets invited to a chic upper class party. There she meets congressman William Sheridan, and immediately falls for his charms. The two start dating, and all seems fine. They have a wonderful few weeks, but unfortunately their love story doesn’t last. Martha finds out that William is cheating on her with his secretary Cordula. She is heartbroken, but life goes on. Martha keeps on working at the hospital, and William keeps on seeing Cordula and gets elected senator. But neither of them seem to find happiness again. Martha starts drinking, even while on duty. William’s relationship with Cordula cools, and they decide to give each other some space. After two years of silence, he contacts Martha again, hoping they could just be friends. But things only get worse, and could even become both Martha’s and William’s downfall.


The life of Martha Shoebridge doesn’t seem to be a happy one at all. She never really got over William Sheridan, and that’s very noticeable throughout the story. Her emotions are very well portrayed in her eyes, as well as the fact that she gets fatter, doesn’t come out of the house as much anymore, and is often seen drinking whiskey. All this leads to Martha being the way we initially met her in the first album of the original XIII series, Black Friday. It’s definitely an addition that will be much appreciated by the fans.

Drawings aren’t specifically detailed, however facial expressions are very nicely displayed. The color scheme also adds greatly to set the right mood. Faces covered in shadows are often used to add to the mystery.

Sometimes there are a few images without text following each other, acting as a transition between two periods of time. Although this is a nice way of fast forwarding the story, at the same time it might feel a bit too hasty now and then.



Martha Shoebridge’s life is one of these stories that keeps you hooked from beginning to end. Add in some very accurate facial expressions and the right mood setting color schemes, and you end up with this wonderful new release. Fans will definitely love it, as it helps to understand the life of the woman who saved XIII, but even without ever having read a single album of the series, you’ll definitely be able to see its worth.

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Rating: 6.2/10 (5 votes cast)
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XIII Mystery Martha Shoebridge - Comic Book Review, 6.2 out of 10 based on 5 ratings

1 Comment

  1. […] having solved the mystery behind Martha Shoebridge’s character in the previous issue of XIII Mystery, it’s time to dig a little deeper into […]

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