Marvel’s Wakanda #3 pays homage to a key villainous bond in the MCU, and this revised backstory improves upon the cinematic pairing.
The following contains major spoilers for Wakanda #3, available now from Marvel Comics.
Marvel’s Wakanda comic has presented deep insight into the African nation, acting as a much-needed repository of information for fans looking for more intel with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in theaters. This series serves as a refresher in terms of history, informing how the film altered the comics for characters such as King T’Challa, Shuri, Queen Ramonda, and even M’Baku.
Now in Wakanda #3 (from Ho Che Anderson, Sean Hill, Le Beau, Keith Champagne, Walden Wong, and Andrew Dalhouse), Wakanda dissects the past of Killmonger, aka N’Jadaka, a bit more. As the title switches back to the villainous side of the coin, it showcases the trials and tribulations he endured with Ulysses Klaw back in the day. In the process, readers get a nuanced spin on the prince’s murderous origin story, which actually paints a better picture than the partnership he’d eke out with the same villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The MCU’s Killmonger Had a Rushed Relationship with Klaue
Andy Serkis’ Klaue came to the fore in Avengers: Age of Ultron, losing his hand to the killer robot. Black Panther then brought Klaue back with his mechanical arm, working with Michael B. Jordan’s N’Jadaka to steal vibranium and Wakandan relics for the black market. The prince ran jobs for the likes of the CIA, getting his name as Killmonger there. Many fans waited to see how Klaue would be fleshed out as a father and a mentor, seemingly corrupting the soldier.
The stage was perfectly set for this, as Killmonger lost his dad to T’Challa’s father in a family feud when he was a boy. Yet, it’s a wasted arc. Killmonger quickly turned on Klaue, killing him and then taking the body back home, so Wakanda would let him in. From there, he used the corpse to win over soldiers, engineer a royal coup, and then try to make Wakanda a terrorist nation. Now, had there been more insight into how Klaue found him, nurtured his talent, and placed faith in N’Jdaka as the great hope, it’d have resonated more and really made the traitorous act sting.
Wakanda’s Killmonger Has a Better Bond With Klaw
In Wakanda, Klaw assigns N’Jadaka a task with other mercenaries to scale a mountain in the Jabari Lands and bring back a mystical fruit. As they ascend, a mysterious killer starts cutting cords and taking out the pack. This causes N’Jadaka and his crush, Xolani, to realize there’s a traitor in the midst. They’re jostling for power, which eventually leads to N’Jadaka killing everyone, including Xolani, who he thought would never betray him first.
It’s in stark contrast to the MCU’s N’Jdaka who’d kill lover, friend, and enemy the same way. Instead, Xolani trying to murder him first humanizes this comic version a lot more. There’s more compassion and sympathy for him, as he eventually slays everyone, giving into the darkness. In that sense, Klaw feels more like Emperor Palpatine in relation to Darth Vader, pushing N’Jadaka to work for the Killmonger title. Ultimately, this sadistic, punishing relationship is why, when N’Jadaka delivers the prize and becomes Killmonger, it’s more earned and has a personal, intimate feel. This was something that the MCU version lacked — informing why Killmonger would eventually break out on his own later on.