• James Bond: Black Box #3

    James Bond: Black Box #3
    Released by: IDW Publishing
    Released on: May 3rd, 2017.
    Written by: Benjamin Percy
    Illustrated by: Rapha Lobosco
    Purchase From Amazon

    The third issue of Benjamin Percy’s Black Box storyline starts off in the Shinjuku District of Tokyo where Bond and his new ‘friend’ Selah Sax, former British Special Services and Group 13 operative, runs with him out of the casino where it all just hit the fan. They take shelter in one of Japan’s infamous ‘love’ hotels – Bond figures this is his lucky night, even if he doesn’t know why she’s helping him or why his dossier lists her as deceased – that is, until she cuffs him to that cross on the wall at gun point, tells him his mission is compromised, and leaves him there. She also tells him that since he’s dishonored Saga Genji in public that he’ll ‘erase’ him as soon as possible. Bond knows she’s right.

    Outside Tokyo, Genji meets with a man he refers to as No Name. They have tea together and admire No Name’s collection of Death Masks. There’s room for one more – Bond. Genji fills him in on his target while No Name suits up.

    Boothroyd, none too happy to have rescued Bond from a ‘sex dungeon,’ scolds 007 for letting Sax get away – until Bond lets him in on a secret: he was able to use Boothroyd’s technology to clone her phone. As they work to decrypt it Bond theorizes that Sax has gone rogue, now working as an assassin that kills other assassins. Boothroyd then sends Bond back into the field – Genji is sponsoring a Sumo Wrestling tournament tonight and Bond needs to be there.

    Cut to the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo, where the Sumo match is about to begin. Bond skulks about, thinking about his opponent, Saga, until he’s interrupted by none other than Felix Leiter. Felix makes small talk with Bond and his friend Tommy, and then he gets a tracker on 007 and splits. Bond is focused on his target, hoping he can get close enough to capture the signal emitted and received by Saga’s glasses. Saga, however, is more concerned with entertaining a certain diplomat he’s made sure has a front row seat to the match. As the wrestling ensues, things take a dark and twisted turn, leaving Bond a little off guard when No Name, clad in a death mask, shows up with a knife in his hand…

    This is a really strong issue, one that ties in the threads from the first two installments and builds off of them in all the right ways. As such, we get a nice mix of action, intrigue and suspense and it’s all done in the grand Bond tradition. That means we get snappy dialogue, neat gadgets, a suave hero and plenty of attitude. Percy writes the story well, controlling the pacing nicely and keeping us interested in what’s going on. We’ve got two main plot lines at this point – the issue with Genji and the issue with Sax – they’re sure to collide again before the run ends, but as to how it’ll all play out, well that clearly remains to be seen. It’ll be a fun ride getting there though! Rapha Lobosco’s artwork, aided by Chris O’Halloran’s coloring work, suits the story nicely. There’s good detail here and some interesting ‘camera angles’ that make this visually appealing. There’s good use of shadows here, to keep that atmosphere appropriately suspenseful, and some unorthodox but entirely appealing layouts as well.

    All in all, the strongest issue of the series yet – we’ll be back for #4 next month.