They Need Sharpening – Klaws of the Panther

Shuri, as the Black Panther, is quite the angry person as Wakanda has lost all of its vibranium on her watch.  Not the greatest thing to happen, especially as none of the previous Panthers have failed so greatly.  Because of her failure, Wakanda is on the brink of economic collapse and there is nothing she can do except to somehow return her country to its former greatness no matter how, no matter the cost.  And so the book takes Shuri to the Savage Land and then to the Big Apple with the help of some of Marvel’s finest heroes to seek out some vibranium supplies that might help get her country back on the map.

The story by Jonathan Maberry was all right, but nothing spectacular and could have been much better.  Shuri is a complex and fascinating character and he seems to understand her, but because the story was a little weak, especially towards the end, it did not feel like it did her justice.  Anything with the Black Panther, whether Shuri or T’Challa is bound to be good as they come from a mysterious land with a legacy attached to them that is incredibly appealing.  Combined with the visual look of the characters, and you cannot help but be drawn in.  It was disappointing then to find out that this book could not capitalize on those aspects.

There were some good things and bad things which added to the book never reaching the plateau of being exceptional, one being the inclusion of too many guest stars.  Having Kazar and Shanna made sense, and one could argue that the inclusion of Spider-man, Wolverine and the Black Widow did as well, but it felt like the latter three were shoehorned in to give the book more visibility and mass appeal, which is more than likely.  The best part of the book was the Savage Land tale which was far stronger than the last half of the book and turned out to be quite fun and exciting.  The New York adventure and then with the excursion into space ended the tale by being a little tedious and even a little boring.

It did not help that the artwork was inconsistent as there were two different artists working on the book.  The first half which was drawn by Gianluca Gugliotta looked great with a fresh and kinetic style which really helped to move the story along.  The last two chapters were drawn by Pepe Larraz and looked like a pale imitation of the first two chapters, was uneven and looked extremely rushed in some places.  Perhaps the book had fallen off schedule, but better to delay for a bit and have it look half decent than what we ended up with.

Having Klaw was pretty much a given as he is one of the Panther’s main villains and while it is good to see Shuri go up against him, we have seen this too many times.  The premise was intriguing and it was promising, it was just a shame that the book went down too many familiar roads and was saddled with an uneven art team to execute it.

2.5 out of 5


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