By Leroy Douresseaux
December 3, 2008 - 20:17
Rated “M” for “Mature”
The Black Lagoon is a modified, 80-foot, Elco PT boat (a World War II torpedo boat), and its crew of mercenaries prowl the waters off the coast of Southeast Asia. Dutch the Boss, a Vietnam veteran, is the boss. Benny the Mechanic handles the boat’s complicated high tech. Revy Two Hand is the ultra-lethal, almost-super-powered gunslinger. Rock is the former corporate crony who ended up part of the crew. Through Dutch’s company, Lagoon Traders, the crew of the Black Lagoon operates a maritime courier service, but the big money comes from their side jobs – a little piracy on the side.
Black Lagoon, Vol. 3 picks up the “Bloodsport Fairy Tale” storyline, which finds the Black Lagoon’s crew caught in a gang war involving the Russian criminal gang, Hotel Moscow, the local branch of the Hong Kong Triads, and twin juvenile Romanian assassins, Hansel & Gretel, sent by the Italian mafia to eliminate Balalaika, the boss of the Thai branch of Hotel Moscow.
Next, in “Goat, Jihad, Rock ’n’ Roll,” the crew accepts a job that has them running from an Islamic terrorist group and into the arms of the CIA.
THE LOWDOWN: What wild read! Black Lagoon – the shootout that reads like a manga – hits its stride again. “Bloodsport Fairy Tale” is simply vile storytelling, but it’s like a bizarrely, lovely, car wreck, of which you just can’t take your eyes off. “Goat, Jihad, Rock ’n’ Roll” is a ballet of violence with exquisite choreography. Creator Rei Hiroe and his staff (if he uses one) obviously love drawing this, and it shows in every line of art and in the crazy, cinematic angles of the panels’ compositions.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Those who would like a John Woo film in a manga have it in the fantastic Black Lagoon.