Klaw Stands Supreme Part 1
Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Artist: Leonard Kirk & Marc Deering
Colors: Laura Martin
Published: October 25, 2017
The development at the end of the previous issue of Black Panther (#18), where T’Challa discovers that the monsters that have been coming through portals around Wakanda are beings created from hard sound, probably clued more knowledgable Black Panther fans into the fact that Klaw was coming back. If you didn’t pick up on that (I didn’t) then this issue made that explicit and explained what Klaw’s been doing and (maybe) what his motivation is. It appears that Klaw is behind most everything that has been causing T’Challa problems since the Nation Under Our Feet Arc ended. He has been using manufactured reverbium to enhance his sonic powers and cause upheaval around Wakanda. It also appears that he brought Zeke Stane, Sasha Hammer, Dr Faustus, and Zenzi together against T’Challa, but they are simply pawns in his game. Klaw sees himself as a god like figure. A god seeking vengeance for wrongs done to him and his sister, who he is trying to restore/bring back to life. This issue focuses entirely on Kalw and set up a very interesting narrative when considered where T’Challa is right now. Klaw is trying to position himself as a god figure, and will be opposed by T’Challa who has spent most of this current run trying to distance himself from a position of omnipotence. T’challa understands that he isn’t a God and that he cannot position himself far above the people he is trying to protect/guide. This creates really interesting possibilities for where this book can/will go and as this arc continues, but there’s no reason to doubt that Mr. Coates doesn’t still have a very strong handle on this story.
The art and colors in this issue continued to be excellent with a new team of Leonard Kirk and Laura Martin taking over (for this arc at least). The art is perhaps a little bit less realistic with some harder edges and bolder shading than has been used by Chris Spouse and Wilfredo Torres. There weren’t any particularly dynamic action scenes, or even very much black panther, in this issue so their opportunity to do something interesting and different from what has come before lies in upcoming issues. Klaw’s depiction is pretty standard where he doesn’t look entirely human, but rather sentinel like and robotic. This is inline wth his ascendant aims to move above/beyond humanity. There is something monstrous and fear inducing about his appearance which seems in line with the type of god he is trying to become.
Overall though, this book (thankfully) doesn’t seem too affected by the Legacy reshuffle and this story line about the what has become of the old gods in a new Wakanda just got really interesting.
(Subjective) Score out of 10: 6
Cover art by Brian Stelfreeze