James Bond: Black Box #5
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Rapha Lobosco
Colors: Chris O’Halloran
Letters: Simon Bowland
Review by PeteR
I am huge James Bond fan and I have been having a blast with the various series Dynamite has been publishing of late.
The latest series, James Bond: Black Box has Bond in Japan trying to retrieve a stock pile of sensitive British information hacked by Saga Genji. Genji wears a set of virtual reality goggles that he modified to assist his vision due to his glaucoma. Since he is a computer guy, the googles have him completely wired into the internet (among other things) at all times. He’s kind of like Dr. No crossed with a more inventive Julian Assange.
Bond has been intercepted in his mission by Selah Sax, A member of the super-secret British black bag organization, Group 13. She was thought dead, killed in the line of duty and has since been devoting her time to assassinating persons she considers threats to the British Government.
At the beginning of James Bond: Black Box #5, Bond and Sasha Sax are in the Suicide Forest of Aokigahara, the second most popular place in the world for people to go to kill themselves. (Yes, it actually does exist and yes, it’s as creepy as it sounds). They are being chased by an assassin who wears the faces of the people he kills and who is roughly the size of a cargo van. They also learn that Saga Genji has hijacked sensitive information from all the super-powers and is planning on selling each country’s’ secret to the other. Now Bond is in a race against the Japanese Yakuza, the KGB, the CIA, the Chinese and all the other security services, none of whom are playing well with others.
So far, Dynamite has utilized the stellar writing talents of Warren Ellis, Andy Diggle and James Robinson to weave their tales of 007. I was surprised at the choice of Benjamin Percy as the author of the latest James Bond series: Black Box. He is primarily known in the comic industry for writing the Rebirth Green Arrow and Teen Titans books. It turns out he has written a number of novels, two collections of short stories and is a contributing editor at Esquire Magazine. It’s safe to say he definitely has the chops to write a James Bond story.
Percy infuses James Bond: Black Box with all the ingredients we have come to expect from a Bond story. There is a thrilling ski chase, a car chase, Sumo Wrestlers and a dangerous woman. If you had a James Bond plot device shopping list, Percy has checked off most of the important boxes without making the devices feel redundant.
Rapha Lobosco is the artist for James Bond: Black Box. His artwork is a good match for the Bond comics. Lobosco infuses aspects of both Eduardo Risso and former Bond artist, Paul Gulacy into his style. I particularly enjoyed his choreography of the fight on the train in issue #5.
I was critical of Chris O’Halloran’s coloring work in the John Carter: The End series. Not so in James Bond: Black Box. O’Halloran breaks out his entire rainbow of color options and uses them liberally to set the moods in various scenes. He creates a feeling of vibrantness in Black Box that the other Bond series did not have.
The lettering for James Bond: Black Box was crafted by Simon Bowland. Bowland has been a reliable staple for Dynamite Entertainment, having provided the lettering for titles as diverse as The Boys, The Lone Ranger and Red Sonja.
Why you should buy this book? I was worried that since Dynamite has published, at minimum, four Bond series to date, the quality would have started to wane by now. My concerns were groundless. The creative team of James Bond: Black Box continues the high degree of exhilaration and excellence of the previous Bond series while succeeding in making this a unique tale on its own. The concluding chapter in issue #6 should be terrific.
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