The Spotlight Shines Brightly On N’Jadaka In Killmonger #1
by Josh Davison
[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
We return to the infamous day when Erik Killmonger threw the Black Panther over the waterfall in Wakanda. Then, we join N’Jadaka in a meeting with his advisor at MIT, where she tries to coax young Erik into joining one of the numerous companies that want to hire him on. Erik wants to stay in New York and handle his business. As a child, his father was killed during one of Ulysses’ Klaue’s raids in Wakanda, and N’Jadaka wants to see Klaue die. He works to see that made into reality. However, other powerful forces in New York want to see the Klaw left untouched, and they catch onto N’Jadaka’s plans.
Killmonger #1 seeks to put a spotlight on the history and character of N’Jadaka, aka Erik Killmonger, the longtime foe of the Black Panther. It was also almost certainly inspired by the fascination with Michael B. Jordan’s excellent turn as Erik Killmonger in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther movie from the beginning of the year.
Writer Bryan Hill and artist Juan Ferreyra team up for this project, and they go a long way to both capturing what made Jordan’s turn so compelling while staying true to the character’s roots. Surprisingly, they didn’t retcon N’Jadaka into being the cousin of T’Challa, though there is still time in this series to do that.
Regardless, Killmonger is, appropriately, a compelling lead in this story which finds him seeking the same vengeance as T’Challa, both men having lost their fathers to the Klaw.
There are many quiet moments and scenes of intense violence that show the kind of man N’Jadaka truly is. He’s in pain, but he’s also more determined than anyone else. A good villain shows how a rogue can be the hero of their own story, and Killmonger #1 accomplishes it with ease.
Juan Ferreyra’s artwork is absolutely gorgeous. His work in Green Arrow was what won me back over to the title shortly after beginning of DC: Rebirth. Like then, Ferreyra shows aptitude in wordless scenes and constructing wide splash pages full of evocative detailing and expressive characters. His color art is deep and dynamic as well, blending colors and making the book all the more immersive.
Killmonger #1 is an excellent opening salvo from Bryan Hill and Juan Ferreyra. The story is interesting, Erik is as compelling as ever, and the artwork is fantastic. This one earns a strong recommendation. Give it a read.
Killmonger #1 comes to us from writer Bryan Hill, artist and cover artist Juan Ferreyra, letterer VC’s Joe Sabino, and variant cover artists Jason Pearson, Larry Stroman, and Mark Morales with Jason Keith.