Writer Christopher Priest takes the super hero comic and turns it on its head in his landmark BLACK PANTHER series. This volume collects the first five issues of the current monthly comic.
The Black Panther is the king of the fictional African nation, Wakanda. Wakanda's claim to fame is that it is the world's sole source of vibranium, the most rare and valuable metal on Earth due to its ability to absorb sound. Occupying the space between the proverbial rock and hard place, the Black Panther, a.k.a., T'Challa, is a crafty leader who is always 10 steps ahead of all his would-be detractors, assassins and infiltrators.
"The Client" tells the story of the Panther's arrival in New York City to investigate the murder of a little girl who was the beneficiary of a Wakandan charity. It turns out that the Panther's enemies sought to lure him away from his wealthy nation with this heinous ploy. From there the mystery unravels with the Panther as the protagonist, and the narrator, Everett Ross, a U.S. foreign affairs agent who draws the unlucky task of escorting the Panther during his stay here. Ross is plucky, sarcastic and downright funny. His narration keeps the book light even though the themes are often very dark.
Priest uses out-of-sequence storytelling to simulate Ross' narrative, much in the manner that the film, Pulp Fiction, is told. It makes sense. After all, when we tell stories, it's very rare that we tell them in a linear fashion from start to finish. Ross bounds from one snippet to another. The reader puts the story together in the process.
I highly recommend this story and consider it one of the very best comic stories of the last five years. If you enjoy it, as I think you will, look for the sequel, BLACK PANTHER: ENEMY OF THE STATE, which should be coming out in November 2001.