Words by Nick Slay

Any comic book aficionado will tell you Heath Ledger (RIP) stepped up to the massive clown shoes laid out by Jack Nicholson. Now the question is “Did Michael B. Jordan take the proverbial baton and stretch the villain role that much further?”

Blerds online (black nerds) are unanimously applauding Jordan’s “Killmonger” interpretation as the best villain in the Marvel Comic Universe. Like Ledger’s Joker figure, he is a polarizing character, that asks us deep questions that we have been ignoring for years. While Ledger’s Joker made us confront the evils in society, Jordan’s Killmonger makes us weigh Wakanda’s place in the African Diaspora. They are bad guys that tho evil in their intent, we understand their motives and in the end find their movies somewhat justifiable.

Spoilers ahead…

We have to admit that Erik Killmonger, was wronged. When King T’Chaka killed his father for allowing Wakanda to be robbed and terrorized to pay for Vibranium to fund his missions against white supremacy, it was messed up. He left that kid without a father in Compton, California…enough said. We can even argue that Killmonger’s father Prince N’Jobu (brother of T’Chaka) was also a Black Panther for using militant actions to fight white supremacy in America, arguing that Wakanda is responsible for not giving their African brethren the means to fight their oppressors. Yet N’ Jadaka (Erik’s royal Wakandan name) still rose up from the ghetto to graduate from military high school, gains access to MIT, and become a black ops badass.

He had a mission, right the wrongs done to him, “by any means necessary.” We understand his angst and inner turmoil when he turned to Angela Bassett’s queen mother character and shouted, “Hey Auntie.” As we watched Heath Ledger slice through Bruce Wayne’s Gotham like a precision knife, we got what he was doing, proving that anyone could have, “one bad day.” That humans as a society were flawed. Let’s not forget it took “Deebo” from the Friday Movies to have the strength of character even as prison inmate not to blow up the other boat.

Black Twitter is confirming Jordan’s legendary 3peat status to A list actor. (We all admit that Fantastic Four wasn’t his fault so we are just going to pretend it didn’t happen). But he’s a special kind of Villain, the one that we root for. For any black that has been called a “nigger” we all wonder what it would have been like if we had a vibranium suit and some hi-tech panther claws in our back pockets. For African-Americans, we stand in awe of MLK Jr.’s and Malcolm X’s bravery, to stand in the spotlight, at the forefront of the offensive, no bulletproof vest (sorry 50 Cent) and say, “We shall NOT be moved.” We all shook in our seats when Killmonger uttered,

“Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, cause they knew death was better than bondage.”

Prince N’Jadaka, was cunning, ruthless, totally jacked T’Challa up in ritual combat, not to mention was manically driven yet unstoppable in pursuing his goals. Plus every guy secretly heard girls sigh with joy when when Jordan ripped off his shirt to reveal muscles and ritual kill tattoos. Step for step he was a match for the Black Panther, his dialogue with T’Challa mirrored the scene where Christian Bale’s Batman went head to Ledger as The Joker. The famous interrogation scene, that even when all seemed to be lost for the villain, he could not be broken, his focus blurred, his mind changed. Their banter forever burned into the cinema of the mind. When it comes time for best supporting actor next Oscar season, Michael B. Jordan, better NOT be left off the ballot.