Black Lagoon Vol. #09 -

Manga Review

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translation Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 17 and Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 12.99
  • Pages: 272
  • ISBN: 978-1421536293
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Black Lagoon Vol. #09

Black Lagoon Vol. #09 Manga Review

By Kate O'Neil     November 23, 2010
Release Date: July 13, 2010

Roberta’s rampage continues, and she’s not going to stop until her or her target dies.

Creative Staff
Artist/Author: Rei Hiroe
Translation/Adaptation: Joe Yamazaki

What They Say
Roanapur explodes as Roberta's vendetta against a top secret U.S. Special Forces team brings out the city's heaviest hitters. Balalaika and the ex-Soviet military troops of Hotel Moscow face off with Major Caxton's Grey Fox unit as it tries to fight its way out of Roanapur. Meanwhile, Rock, Revy and Garcia Lovelace continue their pursuit of Roberta, hoping to catch up to her before the Killer Maid's own demons run her down. But if they do find her, Roberta's thirst for revenge may consume more than just those who wronged her…

The Review!
The long awaited conclusion to the biggest Black Lagoon story arc is here. You can feel the gravitas in the hefty weight of the oversized, 272 page book.

Everything picks back up in the middle of the action from the last volume. Revy and her team of lovable, psychotic, bounty hunting misfits are trying to stay alive. Roberta can’t even be slowed down by Revy and her group, she looks right through Fabiola as if she were an illusion. Garcia is taken in by Major Caxton and his men during the chaos, and he’s forced to confront the reality of having his father’s killer right before him.

With all the groups in Roanapur in on the action, Rock sits in the shadows and tries to put his knowledge of all the players in perspective. He comes up with a wild gambit that has very low odds for success, but is able to convince both Dutch and Chang to take the bet. Up until now Rock has show brief moments of nearly suicidal brilliance, taking some extreme risks to stay afloat in his new life. He pushes that luck to the limit in this story.

Roberta falls further into insanity and bloodlust after her fight. Lead in circles by the Roanapur groups, they finally lure her away from the city in pursuit of the Special Forces. It gives Garcia and Fabiola a moment to reflect and regroup, readying themselves for one last final effort to try to get Roberta back to her sense and back to them.

Fabiola has a nice long talk with Revy on the way to their location. Revy bestows some of her unique brand of pessimism on Fabiola, and Fabiola calls Revy out on it. Rock lays the last details of his plan out to Fabiola, and we get a good luck at just how much Roanapur has changed Rock, and maybe not for the better.

So much goes wrong during the last firefight and confrontation, it’s difficult to see how any of it went right. A firefight in a dark jungle is the scene of the final confrontation between the Special Forces and an insane Roberta. As the soldiers fall, one by one, Garcia is left to take a huge chance, putting his life on the line to pull Roberta out from the nightmare of revenge she has fallen into. Several impossibly lucky breaks later and you can see why Rock was giddy that his plan worked. You can also see why Fabiola is so angry with him and his arrogant righteousness.

As an extra for this volume, there’s a translated interview with the author Rei Hiroe and his Japanese editor to go along with the usual extra gag comic.

In Summary
Yeah, Rock has turned into a brilliant weasel by the conclusion of this arc. It’s pretty clear that Rock is becoming Chang, and there’s really no turning back for him now. A couple of throwaway lines alluding to Dutch not coming clean about his past provides a set up for a future story arc. For now we have a somewhat overly convenient ending to another absolutely insane arc. It’s not exactly a happy ending, and I’m not happy at Rock, but it was a fun ride while it lasted. I’m looking forward to the next volume.


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Njr Scrawl 11/25/2010 2:48:35 PM

Comparing Rock to the nerdy honourable baggage that accompanied Revy in the submarine arc, he is now clearly contaminated by his association with Roanapur's underworld. Whether he will become Chang though is arguable. Chang is a psycho as much as the rest. Rock is more a scheming Benny to me, riding the waves of fortune, dipping his feet in the dirt, but not becoming too covered.

The change came from his "stand down 2 men" confrontation with Revy, then Yukio's influence, & face-off with Balalaika.

The anime to this manga arc has more flashbacks & tie-ins, than the manga.



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