Black Panther #166
Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art by Leonard Kirk
Inks by Leonard Kirk and Marc Deering
Colors by Laura Martin
A man goes to visit his sister in an asylum and grieves at her near catatonic state. In the present, an energy field pierces a secret A.I.M. base killing many, including the ones who start to worship it. The energy begins to coalesce into the form of a man before the entire base explodes. From the ashes emerges Klaw.
Klaw has been working with the nation of Azania, enemies of Wakanda on a method to enhance his sonic powers. He has also brought in allies to help him including Zeke Stane, Sasha Hammer and Dr. Faustus among others. His quest for the Vibranium at the heart of Wakanda continues as it now is the only substance that can stabilize his new powers. As rebel forces, subsidized by Wakanda attempt to breach the base, Klaw unleashes his powers on them.
Intercut between the moments with Klaw facing off against the forces allied against him, there are scenes from the villains past that show that Klaw’s quest has never been about money or power, but something deeper and more personal.
The lack of T’Challa’s presence in this issue actually makes it work. This issue is about the rise of a villain with access to new powers and abilities. His focus and motivations are the crux of the story and it is a good thing that the writer has decided to build on the confrontation between Black Panther and Klaw by giving the reader a look into the mind and motivations of the villain. The only drawback is the lack of time spent on his compatriots motives as well. I would like to know why Iron Man villains like Stane and Hammer have allied themselves with Klaw. Hopefully, that will be fleshed out in the future.
The artwork is great and the transition between the past and the present are subtle, but starkly different. I like the color scheme and camera angles used in those moments in the past. They seem more intimate. If the story continues to build the way it is with this issue, the final confrontation between Klaw and T’Challa might be one of the best we’ve seen so far.