Review: James Bond – Black Box #1

Originally posted on Irish Comic News (24/Mar/2017)

James Bond 007 – Black Box

Written by Benjamin Percy.
Line art by Rapha Lobosco.
Colour art Chris O’Halloran.
Letters by Simon Bowland.

James Bond is a character that I’ve been a fan of for almost as long as I’ve enjoyed comics, but this is actually my first James Bond comic to read.

But as much as I like Mr Bond, it was the contributions from Rapha Lobosco and Chris O’Halloran that really sold this title for me. If anyone has read ‘Dreamweaver’ drawn by Lobosco (and written by Hugo Boylan) from the Black, White and Grey collection then they probably had the same reaction as myself when Lobosco announced he would be providing the line art for this comic. For any of you wondering, I thought it was a perfect fit. ‘Dreamweaver’ looked just like what I imagined a Bond comic would look like.

Black Box is a strong opening issue that wastes no time setting the mood and tone of the story. The opening scene written by Benjamin Percy is the type of scene that would be quite familiar to Bond movie fans. In a very short time the scene is full of the action and excitement that we come to expect from a Bond story. The story does a great job of giving you just enough that you want to see what the issue will reveal.

This issue is Lobosco’s debut with an American publisher and it couldn’t have been a better title to make it with. His previous work showed he could draw the type of characters needed for a Bond comic. Because this is a Bond comic, the action sequences can run for panels (or even pages) without dialogue or captions. This means that the artist has to move the story along through visuals entirely. No small task for any artist. Lobosco gets the job done in style (much like Mr Bond!). There’s some nice use of different camera angles in the chase sequence to give it a good sense of speed and danger.

Joining Lobosco on this title is another familiar name to many of you, Chris O’Halloran. To my recollection, this is the first time I’ve seen O’Halloran colour Loboscos artwork. Not that you’d guess that with how well the line and colour art work together. There are three locations in the issue, the alpine region of the opening scene, MI6 headquarters and Tokyo. Each of the locations look quite distinct from the other in terms of colour. In the alpine sequence, I really liked the use of orange filling the background of a panel to amplify the action in it. It really draws the eye and makes those panels stand out from the others on the page. I have to say I loved the colours in the Tokyo pages. The colour choices instantly made me think of Tokyo before reading any text on the page. Strong colours that gave a sense of being bombarded by neon-signs.

I thorougly enjoyed this comic, both as a Bond fan and as someone checking out artwork by two artists from the Irish comic scene. I can’t wait to see how this story develops. I’m also quite excited to see how the art by Lobosco and O’Halloran evolves over the course of the series.

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