For some time now, I've been interested in reading through Christopher Priest's Black Panther as a result of the amount of praise Comic Geek Speaks' Chris Eberly heaps on the series. This desire has since become more important for me to achieve, due to Comixology offering the first volume of the complete collection in a sale.
However, my wife, ever the logical thinker, suggested that maybe I get a taste for the series before buying (either on sale or at full price), something I could actually do as I had bought 'the client' as a trade a very long time ago.
Therefore, I've pulled that trade out of my longboxes, blown away the (metaphorical) cobwebs and re-read Priest's first arc to see if his run is something I might fancy.
And thank goodness that I did because, after reading the client, I'm not. Sure that Priest's run is for me.
The Client tells of Black Panther travelling to America to investigate the murder of a child but, as he does, discovers that enemies are moving to ursurp him from the throne of Wakanda.
Now, this should sound right up my alley. A political-like thriller which, given the lead character, should be very grounded as well being free (it was a Marvel Knights book) to do whatever it wanted.
However, I struggled with this trade because, mainly, the plot seem very convoluted. Now, it wasn't that the story was completely unreadable, but it did seem to imbue a lot of traits I commonly see in a Tarantino movie and, while I have no problem with those, I do prefer my reads to be a little more linear.
That said, there were things I enjoyed doing this book and they were primarily character related. The main draw was that Priest certainly 'got' the Panther, depicting him as quite the bad ass as well as a rather fitting mimicry of Batman (although I might prefer this Panther over the Bat). Also, this arc seemed to draw so many of the Panther's supporting cast and rogues gallery into it, from the Dora Milaje and Zuri to the White Wolf and the Hatut Zeraze, that it seemed like a character history lesson in one book.
Then there was the art, which was a mixed bag as I did enjoy the very unique style which had a very supernatural kind of tone to it which looked particularly awesome for some full length panels. However, by the same token, a few panels made me think that the art looked a little hallucinating and, as such, off putting. As a result, I'm in two minds over the artwork (obviously).
So, Priest's Black Panther wasn't a bad read overall, just not as good as I hoped or was suggested. I guess that's the joy of everyone having various tastes but, for now, I think I'll pass on that complete collection.