Today’s I fall further down the Marvel Legacy rabbit hole with Black Panther #166.
With the upcoming solo film for Black Panther, aided by some awesome trailers, I figured this would be an issue that Marvel had a lot invested in for the future of the character.
Right off there is a great cover by Brian Stelfreeze. I’m a big fan of his Batman covers from the ’90’s. That lead me to wonder why he’s not painting these covers like the did those, back in the day. This technique is fine too, but I am always going to wonder how it would look if he painted it.
Inside is the standard Marvel recap and credits pages. Here, though, everything is presented in a stark black and white. These two pages are the best I have seen so far from Marvel for these intros.
Now the cover lists the title of this story as ” Klaw Stands Supreme Part 1″, but inside the story is “Avengers of the New World Part 7.” So is this part one of a new storyline or part 7 of on already in progress? Don’t kick off your jumping on point for new readers by putting them in the middle of a tale, and then confusing them even further. According to the credits here, this issue is written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and drawn by Leonard Kirk and Marc Deering.
The story starts off with some flashbacks about Klaw and his sister. In fact, that is the majority of this issue. Klaw is shown robbing an A.I.M. facility and setting up his current scheme. Interwoven are snippets of the abusive childhood that him and his sister had.
Interestingly, there is a reference to Klaw’s first appearance in the Fantastic Four title. Here the caption box informs readers to check it out on Marvel Unlimited. This is the first time I have seen that done in a book. Since I have a subscription to it, I could totally do that and get more on Klaw that way. I didn’t while I was reading this, but it is a sign of changing times that Marvel would include that in the physical issue.
There is also some setup for Klaw’s antagonistic relationship with Black Panther. However, there is no Black Panther in this issue until the last page! For a book that is supposed to be a jumping on point for new readers, and getting them interested in the title, that seems like an odd choice.
Why would I be interested in Black Panther after reading this? If this were a book starring Klaw that would be another story. This single issue does feel like it is part 7 of a larger storyline with this part focusing on Klaw, but why make that your intro issue?
I’ve heard good things about Coates writing on this series, but give me more T’Challa to read. Despite being a classic Marvel villain, Klaw is not going to be enough to get me to pick up another issue.
Following the main story, there is a 3 page origin by Robbie Thompson and Wilfredo Torres. These 3 short pages tell you more about the Black Panther than the rest of the book does. Again, it would be nice if Marvel could figure out some way to incorporate these with the intro recap/credit pages in the front. You can’t tell me that the majority of comic book readers aren’t skipping over pages of text at the beginning, especially if it’s info they already have from previous installments. Make them more interesting by combining them with these origins.
This installment of the Marvel Value Stamp here is Black Bolt. Again, no bonus digital book that you get with this one. Perhaps that incentive is over now.
Overall, this is a decent issue. However, it is seemingly one chapter in a larger story that the reader comes into in the middle. Along with the bare minimum of Black Panther in this makes this title a pass for me. If you want a good Klaw story that gives more background on him, then pick this up. That’s not enough for me to get another title though.
Check back later for my take on another Marvel Legacy title.