Image: Marvel Comics

Erik Killmonger set a new standard for compelling superhero movie villains in last year’s Black Panther, inspiring Marvel to give more attention to the comic-book character in his own miniseries. Written by Bryan Edward Hill with art by Juan E. Ferreyra and letters by Joe Sabino, Killmonger retells the story of how Erik made his way back to Wakanda after being taken away as a child. Sexy and violent with a sharp political edge, the book is a multidimensional character study that reinforces the titular anti-hero’s place in the Marvel Universe by bringing in familiar faces like the Kingpin, Bullseye, and Black Widow, taking advantage of established mythology to deepen Erik’s own personal narrative. Hill has a talent for juggling character development with exciting action and larger social commentary, and he’s paired with an artist that matches all the depth and complexity of the script in his lush, expressive painted artwork.

This exclusive preview of next week’s Killmonger #4 showcases Hill and Ferreyra’s skill with character interactions, and while the series has had some spectacular action sequences, giving ample attention to the emotional lives of the cast gives it more substance. Erik’s relationships with the criminals he’s allied with have gotten increasingly tense, and now that they’ve made an enemy of Wilson Fisk, they’re divided on their next moves. This excerpt gives Ferreyra the chance to show how well he uses camera angles and spatial relationships to inform different character dynamics, and even though these pages are mostly talking heads, Ferreyra adds visual splendor with striking shots of the surrounding environment. Erik is currently dead in the Marvel Universe, but he’s survived by a son who is on a similar path of vengeance. Given the popularity of the Killmonger name and the strength of this creative team, it would be great to see Hill and Ferreyra reunite to explore how Erik’s legacy lives on in the present.

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