James Bond: Black Box #2
Released by: IDW Publishing
Released on: April 5th, 2017.
Written by: Benjamin Percy
Illustrated by: Rapha Lobosco
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Picking up where the first issue let off, we arrive on the streets of Tokyo in the Shinjuku District. Bond heads into what looks like an average noodle house, but he knows better. Soon enough he’s lead behind the curtain into the backroom, before he’s frisked and sent down a hidden elevator. Once he reaches the lowest level he exists into an underground Yakuza owned casino – the high stakes tables are over in the left corner.
But Bond isn’t just here for fun. A massive data breach has targeted a lot of high ranking British officials and all signs point to a Yakuza-affiliated tech expert named Saga Genji. He just so happens to live in this area. There are a lot of questions though – they don’t know if he even did it and if he did, what he intends to do with the data. So Bond is in town basically to snoop, to try and sort this out – but what he does know is that Genji is a Friday night regular at this place. He tries his luck, and a little later, he wins. The mysterious Genji, clad in a white suit and some strange glasses, sits down at the poker table next to him. There are no limits.
The men talk, while in the aquarium tanks around them, sharks circle and then close in on their prey. A fitting metaphor. Bond asks about the glasses, the visor, and Genji explains that they were developed for VR gaming but became more practical when he started losing his eye sight. He’s come up with a system to wire them into a port on the back of his head, creating a unique blend of organic and digital sight. When Bond wins the hand, things get less friendly. Genji asks him why he’s really here. Bond’s response? “Information, the compromising kind.” Genji’s interest is piqued, and he takes Bond to a backroom where he’s forced to fight – and then addressed by Genji as “Agent 007.”
Both men seem unaware that they’re being watched by a redheaded woman, but once she forces her way into the casino, they both figure it out pretty quickly.
Sharks! Redheads! Gambling! Stabbing! A bad guy with Terminator style sight! Punching! It’s all here and more and it ends on a pretty wicked cliffhanger too. Benjamin Percy’s script throws in everything but the kitchen sink but it definitely makes for an entertaining read. There’s no shortage of either action or intrigue here, there’s a LOT going on and all of it makes you want to come back for more. If this isn’t quite as dark or as cerebral as some of the other Bond comics that Dynamite has been publishing over the last year or two, but it doesn’t matter, this one goes full throttle. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here, there are a few different directions it could head in – we’ll find out soon enough. Rapha Lobosco’s artwork is really solid, if a little cartoony in spots (though never to the point of exaggeration). Nice, clean line work and a good sense of movement make up for the fact that the backgrounds are a little sparse. The coloring work from Chris O’Halloran is really solid, however, and the action scenes have a nice flow to them. This is fun stuff.