Back in Black.
Story/Art: Rei Hiroe
Translation/Adaptation: Joe Yamazaki
What They Say
Disavowed by the Chinese government and now hunted as a traitor, Feng Yifei has turned to Rock and Revy for help. While dodging the PRC’s hired guns from one side of Roanapur to the other, Feng presses Rock to make an important decision. Things get even more complicated when Eda shows an interest in the situation, and if she’s involved, it means the CIA isn’t far behind…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
It’s been five years since the last volume of Black Lagoon. You can be forgiven for not remembering what was happening in the plot. I sure didn’t remember where we left off, or which box in my attic I had stashed my collection of volumes in. What I did remember was that Jane and some other hacker chick were involved and that was about it.
This volume does open with something of an apology from Hiroe about the pace of release being abysmal. Black Lagoon is a series with a very loose overarching narrative. It’s broken into story arcs that do occasionally reference what came before but aren’t exactly working toward anything. Each arc is an action movie with all of the double-dealing, backstabbing, and gun fighting that criminal syndicates and smugglers get in to. Thankfully, this volume finishes the Wild Card arc which began in the previous volume. So even if we never get another volume of Black Lagoon, at least this arc has an ending.
This volume also starts with a small summary and character profiles to remind all the readers exactly what is going on. Even then I was a bit lost. A large majority of the start of this volume follows Feng continuing her psych-analysis of Rock. Rock eventually reaches a point of decision in dealing with Feng and her problems, but not before a trio of hitmen track down Rock, Revy, and Feng at the internet cafe they borrowed to do their hacking.
The trio of hitmen are your typical multicultural gang of disgusting miscreants that this series loves to make you hate. Two of whom seem to have the hots for Revy, because hey, who doesn’t? After a messy shootout, Revy and one of the hitman brothers end up in lockup while Rock and Feng flesh out their plan of attack.
From there the action ramps up in a spectacular way as there is a raid by one hitman on the police station. We get our second gunfight of the volume and it’s still ridiculously fun watching Revy run her mouth and shoot the shit. It should be noted that this volume is heavy in sexually violent language as one of the hitmen is a piece of trash, but Revy dishes it back just as good as she gets. Just a word of warning if you’re sensitive to that sort of language. Hiroe still loves drawing his silly action poses with folks leap threw the air guns blazing.
Even after the deal is done and it looks like the group is in the clear there’s still one last situation to wrap up. The back-end of this volume is backend loaded… that is to say, that’s where all the pinups are. We get Jane enjoying some alone time with Benny, and Revy in dominatrix gear to pay off a debt owed to a club. A goofy end to this arc, but one where the good guys come out on top and the bad guys get what they deserve.
As for extras, there’s a short, silly comic about all the girls with glasses chatting about… glasses.
Black Lagoon is back with the conclusion to the Wild Card arc. I’d recommend fans dig out their volume 10’s to get a refresher on what exactly is going on, but it’s not a requirement. Midway through this volume of Black Lagoon I remembered what makes this series fun. This will always be the big dumb action movie manga, and that is what makes it great. Watching Revy not take shit from anyone and make everything look effortless while sticking it to the bad guys is still just as awesome as it ever was. Watching Rock try to figure out what sort of man he wants to be while negotiating with hardened criminals still makes me want to hug him then punch him. Even though Hiroe says “see you in volume 12” I wouldn’t hold my breath. See you in another five years.
Content Grade: B +
Art Grade: A –
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: Mature
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: January 21, 2020
MSRP: $12.99 US / $17.99 CAN / £8.99 UK