Killmonger #1 Review
By Any Means: One of Five
Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Variant Cover Artists: Jason Pearson; Larry Stroman, Mark Morales, & Jason Keith
What you need to know
Off the heels of the success of the Marvel Blockbuster film, Black Panther, a whole host of mini-series have been developed with its cast of characters. Books about the T’Challa’s origin (Rise of Black Panther), the Dora Milaje (Wakanda Forever), Shuri, and Erik Killmonger is the latest such character. The comic version of the character is not the Oakland-born cousin of T’Challa but instead, a kidnapped son of Wakanda orphaned at an early age and taken to the United States. Bryan Hill, series writer, says Killmonger’s story is ultimately a tragedy, because revenge stories are always tragic. Hill also equates his anger to a fear. Fear of forever losing everything he is. A screaming primal energy hoping to return to its source in Wakanda. Hill says, “Fear is a confident pilot, but a poor one. It tends to crash the plane.” We know the ending, unfortunately, N’Jadaka will ultimately not succeed against T’Challa. This is the compelling story of his life before that defeat and after the death of his family.
It’s important I lay out my bias from the beginning here. I am not from the #KillmongerWasRight camp. I believe in the global liberation of all oppressed people but I do not agree with the tactics he hoped to employ. Killmonger’s critique of Wakanda’s isolationism is agreeable until he said he was going to kill babies…yeah nah man. But the point of this mini-series is to examine the circumstances that created him. I like the story. The plot is suspenseful, emotional, and it leaves me in anticipation for more. I was initially taken aback at the way the guidance counselor part of the story. It’s a tired trope that Black men have this insatiable desire for white women, however, calling her a colonizer to reset the course. Although, I laughed at this moment; that is where the laughter ends.
N’Jadaka is on a journey to get revenge on those who severed him from his homeland. This is a serious book and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Well, actually, I laughed at the Lee Harvey Oswald line. Killmonger finds himself crossing paths with a group working for a well-known Marvel villain, Wilson Fisk, and the crossover is well-placed. I also appreciated the Moby Dick quotes, with Klaw as his Great White. The art is lively and dynamic. It makes no effort to be fantastical, only to lay bare our characters as the main focus. I am not just curious but joyously anticipating the next steps to this story. Killmonger is crazy and I want to know why. It waa s genius from a business standpoint to tell this story but with the heart of Hill and the art of Ferreyra, we are getting a treat in 5 issues.