twofacedjoker's Black Panther: The Client #1 - Black Panther: The Client review

Confused Yet?

Many sources online state that this is perhaps the best of the Black Panther reading material out there. I find that hard to believe, as this book left me more confused than almost any other comic I've read. While the story has some interesting ideas to bring across, it does so in a haphazard way that left me out of the loop often enough that reading it became more of a chore than a pleasure.

Black Panther comes from Wakanda to investigate the death of a girl who was mascot of a charity Black Panther had started up himself with a few allies in tow. However, it often feels like the main character can become a young escort who's been tasked to follow Black Panther around, and, incidentally, becomes the narrator. And, while this is a fine technique to use, I really didn't care for him much; it felt like he was often just getting in the way of the stuff I wanted to see, namely Black Panther.

It's also because of this character that we experience the story as one would if a five-year old was narrating; that is to say, it's a jumbled mess and frequently out of order. The narrator is constantly making mention of things that hasn't happened yet for maybe a panel or two, before the person who he's telling the story to, his boss, tells him that he needs to give some background on that, acting as a non-subtle extension of the audience. Something else that confused me about this guy is how he is frequently getting naked in front of and acting childish around his boss, who doesn't seemed fazed by this, but becomes annoyed nonetheless, rather than angry or surprised, making it very unclear if they are a couple but also boss and subordinate or if they are waaaaaaay too comfortable with each other.

Meanwhile, Black Panther, while getting some good moments of backstory and action that do a great job of fleshing out his character, doesn't seem to get enough dialogue or time to himself to expand much. Instead, it is always feeling like Wakanda is more of a main character than he is, as almost all of his past involves the Wakandian politics and history. Coming out of this, I know very little about Black Panther that I didn't know before, which, to me, is kind of a problem with the book.

And, to top it off, the villains are pretty lame, as it never feels like there's ever one solid villain that we can point at and say is the adversary. They also feel rather flat, as I, again, know very little about them. And one of the later villains, one who has come up in the past in various other lores, is very poorly represented here is brutish and bordering on mindless rather than the calm and sophisticated being he tends to be.

The art is also pretty weak, in my opinion; this may just be the time period, this being written in 1998, but it really does nothing for me to make me want to read it, sometimes discouraging me a little.

The story is hard to get into, we aren't given enough of Black Panther to latch on to, and the organization is a mess. I'd recommend looking to the most recent New Avengers series for a more enjoyable representation of Black Panther.

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