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July 6, 2012

Bento Bako Bonus: Jormungand volume 9

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Jormungand
Author: Keitaro Takahashi
Publisher: Viz Media
Volume: Volume 9 (of 11), $12.99
Vintage: June 2012 by Viz Media
Genre: Action, adventure

[Volume 8 review.]

Expert demolitions man Wiley gets the chance to shine in this volume. The story flashes back to the Gulf War, where Wiley is recruited by Lehm (then known as Captain Lehmbrick, of the 1st SFOD-D) for a special mission. All the team has to go on is a satellite image of the building they want to destroy. Fortunately, Wiley majored in Architecture, though that’s only one reason he was specifically sought out for the job. The mild-mannered Wiley is a little taken aback by the laid back antics of Lehm’s squad, but he quickly discovers that they’re ruthless and efficient in battle. Wiley is a surprise, as well, almost eerily focused on his job, and blowing the building with expert precision, even without the proper amount of explosives. After the war, he met back up with Lehm, and joined Koko’s team. He’s only gotten better at his job since, surpassing even top-rate bombers, and is now considered just as dangerous as Koko herself. In present day Iraq, Koko’s team is driving a caravan of HCLI trucks through the desert, escorted by a British PMC (Private Military Company, I think) called Excalibur. Unfortunately, Excalibur is a group of trigger happy, violent loving soldiers, so Koko is far from thrilled to have them along. After they open fire on a random vehicle, Koko pulls the convoy over and immediately fires them. They are still left with the interpreter, however, a suspicious guy named Nazal. And a nagging feelings that Excalibur won’t let the incident slide. Fortunately, they’ve got Wiley, who has a sixth sense about things like bombs and ambushes. And he thinks he’s found one. Koko stops the convoy, the crew sets up, and Wiley heads off to sniff out his bomb. Her team of experts easily dispatches Excalibur, each member fulfilling their role with precision and absolute glee (yup, glee). With that job successfully completed, Koko heads to South Africa to visit Dr. Minami Amada, who is celebrating the opening of a new factory, funded fully by Koko herself. The CIA is getting nervous about Koko’s erratic traveling plans and meetings with people like Minami and Torohovsky. They probably have a right to be, as Minami and Koko have been cooking up a massive secret plan for years now, without anyone’s knowledge. Koko wants to build a new world, and Minami is going to help her do it. What that “new world” will be is unclear, but judging by the way she completely ignores her brother’s big important announcement about his new logistics command communications package, it must be something huge and truly world changing. What Kasper is doing is world changing already, but it’s not clear (or maybe I’m just not clear) whether Koko is working alongside her brother, or has an entirely different plot in motion. Whatever the case, the business of selling weapons and making war is about to change dramatically.

Not a lot to really discuss about this volume. It’s a good, entertaining read, as usual. Watching Wiley in action was particularly a treat. The guy just looks so unassuming and timid, but he’s as ruthless as all the others, and the way he plays around with bombs, like it’s this incredibly fun game, is kind of terrifying. Even Jonah is intimidated. But Koko’s team is filled with people like that, who thoroughly love the violence and destruction that comes with the job. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be there. The only one who doesn’t enjoy that sort of thing is Jonah, but he’s fiercely loyal to Koko, so he’ll do what he needs to in order to protect her. There’s a bit of background on Koko in this volume, too. Mostly snippets of the beginning of her arms dealing career. I’m not sure how old she was, but it looked like she was in high school (I can’t recall her age being specifically mentioned, though it may have been in another volume; she was probably around 14 or so). Even at such a young age, she was a force to be reckoned with. She wouldn’t have been able to gather people like Lehm, Wiley, and Valmet around her otherwise. Or convince someone like Minami that her dream is worth pursuing. There’s a reason she’s constantly being watched by the CIA (Schokolade and Scarecrow are on her trail this entire volume), especially since she’s good at throwing them off her trail or surprising them with unscheduled rendezvous with other dangerous partners. Koko wants to change the world, though I’m not sure what that means just yet. There are only two volumes left of the series, though, so I imagine everything will be revealed soon. As usual, the dynamic relationships of the characters is one of the main reasons to keep coming back to Jormungand. The constant editing issues, however, are not. Every volume is plagued with them, I’m sorry to say. There’s not a lot of dialog, nor is it very complicated, so I’m not sure why there are always so many problems scattered through the pages. Still, it’s a good series to tie you over while you wait for the next volume of Black Lagoon.




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