Review by: Eduardo Zacarias
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Rei Hiroe
Genre: Graphic Novel (VIZ Signature)
MSRP: $12.99 US
Rating: M (Mature)
Release Date: Now Available
The blood, bullets and heartbreak tango.
One thing that could be said about Rei Hiroe we can all agree on and that is when he writes a new story arc he sticks to it to the very end no matter how many chapters or volumes it takes to tell said story. The Roberta story arc is one of those lengthy ones but, like some amusement park attractions, this is a thrill ride we really don’t mind lasting a little longer. The story doesn’t end in Volume 8 of Black Lagoon but it certainly is getting a lot better.
As Rock and Revy help Garcia Lovelace and his overprotective young maid, Fabiola, reach Roberta who is on a warpath, Mister Chang finds himself in a position as Roanapur’s protector. He has no doubt that the ex-militant member of FARC (a major Colombian terrorist cell) and now loving housemaid to the Lovelace boy is about to make the city explode in a sea of violence that could destroy the underworld’s business but also place them in danger thanks to the fact that one of the major players happens to be a U.S. covert operative group hidden in the city. If you’ve been following the series this long you already know that the United States has an insider and it’s none other than a very familiar gun-toting nun who feels that American lives in danger could spell disaster for Roanapur.
Meanwhile, the young master discovers a painful secret about his beloved Roberta that complicates the matter even further. It’s clear that the aid of Revy and Rock just isn’t enough seeing as the Colombians are dead set on stopping Roberta as well so Revy calls Shenhua and hires here and the Goth girl Sawyer and pretty boy Lotton. Unfortunately, now with skilled killers on their side, the Colombians – joined by hired guns from the FARC itself – manage to reach Roberta first.
What occurs next is one of the more bloodier and most impressive action sequences the series has seen in quite some time. With Rock waiting in the car, the others fight their way to a hotel where Roberta – slinging a Barrett M82A1 anti-material rifle – is quite literally shooting holes through her enemies. The Americans have no choice but to pull back and try to spring a trap for her in another position.
It’s clear from when she was first introduced that Roberta is highly skilled at what she does but thanks to her condition and her need to avenge her dead master that she has become even more vicious. As Revy and the others try to reach her, it is Garcia who manages to find Roberta as he watches in horror as she slaughters a group of FARC soldiers then attempts to seduce the leader of the FARC troops who she knows well. As Garcia listens with a broken heart, Roberta springs her own trap only to find herself face-to-face with the young master … a scene that is both tender, sad and horrifying all at the same time.
In the meantime, the firefight continues and the Americans finally catch up to Roberta but with the boy in the way they make Garcia Lovelace a top priority to protect from the madness and bloodshed all around them. Things are about to get brutal and even more that Balalaika is on the case. The situation is just getting more frantic and complex and how this will end is anybody’s guess.
On a side note, it turns out that Mister Chang and Balalaika had a most interesting past that we hope will be explained further later on at some point in the series. We get a brief glimpse of one encounter but the real mystery is Mister Chang who finds Rock’s insistence on doing the right thing just a cheap excuse to make what he thinks is yet another Roanapur scumbag try to find some justice in what he does. Could it be that Rock’s intentions to help Garcia Lovelace not as noble as he makes it seem?
As Roanapur turns into a battlefield and in danger of being the target of a very ugly international incident between powerful factions that include the United States, Volume 8 of Black Lagoon is an exciting and over-the-top violent action junkie’s treat. The story arc is getting too long but who cares when things are just this interesting that you just can’t wait to see how this blood affair will end. Thank you Hiroe-sensei, you have given Black Lagoon fans another addictive volume.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
The search for Roberta continues as Rock and Revy request the help of three very unlikely sources to help them track down the maid hell-bent on killing those responsible for her master’s death. Meanwhile, Roanapur’s underworld prepares for the worst as two very powerful opposing forces clash with Roberta as the others finally catch up to her.
This is by far one of the more bloodier and gruesome volume’s in this series and also one filled with great fight sequences. Roberta might be psychotic but she looks damn good in action.
Roanapur explodes in a massive wave of violence that turns the dangerous city into a battleground between various factions as Rock and the others try to reach Roberta in Volume 8 of Black Lagoon. It’s a long story arc but that’s not to say that this story overstayed its welcome because it’s been a wildly entertaining ride and it’s not over yet.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media