Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

All the posts I never made about Black Panther and Storm rolled into one:

It's occurred to me that I've never managed to post about Black Panther and Storm's marriage. This is odd. As it's an important topic, one I do have, and have had, many opinions about. It seems as though I should have made a number of blog posts about this topic, but never ended up doing so.

To compensate for this, please allow me to walk you through my entire thought processes about this couple from beginning to end:

-->Black Panther and Storm are getting married? That seems a little arbitrary doesn't it? I mean, didn't they date once like decades ago or something?

-->As cool as Panther is, I'm not sure he's worthy of my favorite female Marvel character. She's like the most formidable female X-Man. I'm such a Storm fangirl. If they're marrying her off to someone, couldn't they make it someone more important fandom wise? Like Wolverine? I hate Wolverine, but he's very popular and it could make for a neat story. They have lots of chemistry too and it'd pull her more into the spotlight AS SHE DESERVES. :-)

-->She's not going to be in X-Men anymore? She's going to be supporting in his book? Damnit. They could at least give her shared billing. Probably increase sales/importance even more that way.

-->Okay, all griping aside, this could be cool. This could be awesome. This man is a king. He's a good guy, but he's got a king's ego. He's used to being the supreme number one person. He could have his pick of many beautiful women all over the world, more than willing to let him have his way and take charge. But he picks Storm. Co-leader of the X-Men, a prideful, arrogant, forceful and powerful woman. He wants an equal mate, which is great. And hot.

But he's a king, so he'll be unconsciously still expecting subservience at least at first. And he's married a woman once worshipped as a goddess. They are going to clash. And it's going to be messy. And he'll be forced to realize what he's accustomed to does not apply to his wife, so they're going to have to write new rules from now on.

This could be really neat!

-->Hey, and Storm's own storyline could be really interesting too. Sure she's African, but not all of Africa is the same. Wakanda will be very different from Egypt or Kenya. And Storm's spent a long time in America, leading a very American team. She'll have been Americanized. And now she's Queen of this foreign country.

Being a Queen won't be anything like being a child street thief, a nature goddess (goddesses don't have to worry about diplomacy) or a leader of a mutant strike force. This is going to be a brand new experience for her.

She'll need to study, work with elders who'll have unreasonable expectations of her, she'll have to tour the country, the weapons facilities, meet the people in person, learn diplomacy.

And heck, her background could end up an interesting source of friction too. Not that I think T'Challa is classist. But he's a prince, son of a king. Now, I could be wrong, there's a lot of his comics that I've never read, but I'm going to make the assumption that T'Challa probably has never been a cold, hungry, frightened child homeless on the streets of a dangerous city. And Storm has never been a prince, raised from birth with all of this pressure and responsibility and ingrained duty, with all the family issues and intrigue that even reading about second hand makes my head spin. That makes for so many possibilities!

Okay, this could be fantastic.

-->I still think the comic should be renamed "Black Panther and Storm".

-->Hmm. I'm glad Storm is getting her own miniseries but could they please make it not suck.

-->Oh god. Someone's going to use this as why "Comics shouldn't market toward women." Which is dumb. Because this is NOT what we want.

-->Damn, a Storm comic could have been SO COOL.

-->Wedding. Hmm. Okay. I wish it could have been more about them and less about the cease fire. But okay. I also wish we could have more than just some pretty speeches about Storm's feelings on all this. I mean. T'Challa doesn't need to make speeches. We know how he feels. One could wish for the same with her.

Art's pretty. Ragnell sees symbolism. Fortunately I'm not visually/pictorially inclined. I need to be whacked with the symbolism bat three times before seeing anything.



*looks around* Hmm. Okay. DENIAL! :-) At least it's pretty!

-->Later: disappointing. Terribly disappointing.

-->BP 19. *throws against wall*

So there you go. All the blog posts I didn't make about the topic. I'm disappointed, upset and a little angry. I wanted to believe my initial trepidation was me being oversensitive. There was so much potential for this partnership, even if it wasn't taken in the same direction as I fantasized. But this...

My initial misgivings were justified. And I hate that. Because it could have been SO COOL. I guess it still could be, but there's so many missed-opportunities that I can't be optimistic. Maybe with a new writer...

Hey, anyone seen Christopher Priest?

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  • At September 28, 2006 7:15 AM, Blogger Sinspired said…

    I was pretty sure her parents were from Boston, for all that she was raised in Cairo. Depending on where she was born, she either had dual citizenship or she was just a US Citizen.
    Of course, she spent ALL of her formative years in Africa.

  • At September 28, 2006 8:37 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    You know, I'd completely forgotten that!

    I'm a bad fangirl! :-)

  • At September 28, 2006 9:10 AM, Anonymous green means wheelpower said…

    Ksl you & I've been over this So except for Logan, whom I kike, I'll just add AMEN! and thank you.

    Feel free to rant whenever necessary, to say the least I find then interesting!:)

  • At September 28, 2006 10:44 AM, Blogger Elayne said…

    Yeah, I'd love to see Jim (Priest) tackling this marriage.

    He hasn't blogged in awhile, so my guess is he's busy with church matters and such.

    I thought #19 had noble ambitions in terms of setting up potential conflicts, but the setup was kind of awkwardly shoehorned, wasn't it? Oh, he wants to court and marry an equal but oh, suddenly she can't be TOO equal like having opinions of her own based on her years of experience as an X-"Man". There's a way to make that work, but I'm not sure Hudlin's the writer to do it.

  • At September 28, 2006 12:17 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    I agree, there is so much potential...and it's just being frittered away. You think #19 was bad? Read the latest one where they visit the Inhumans, and for reasons that I can't really understand a fight breaks out and they run for it. It makes absolutely NO SENSE at all!

  • At September 28, 2006 1:44 PM, Anonymous Willow said…

    is whomever is writing that story a proponent of The Surrendered Wife? Or books by Shaunti Feldhahn and her husband?

    Do they think that Storm needs to give T'Challa unconditional respect and trust - even when he's getting his ass handed to him?

    Because I can't see that playing well for modern comic audiences and who they feel Storm is and should be. And I have to wonder when Marvel's going to deal with the divorce.

  • At September 28, 2006 7:58 PM, Anonymous Loren said…

    I would love to see a mutant series that didn't involve the X-Men all the time and Storm would be the character to pull it off.

    If Hudlin wants to make this relationship remotely interesting, he should play off the fact that T'Challa is a king that has never had for naught and that Storm was once considered a goddess who has grown into her own as a leader and how that conflict could impact their relationship. Storm is being way to lovey dovey and taking it literally from the Man. It just drives me crazy and, frankly, is so out of character that I almost don't recognize her anymore.

    She's basically been reduced to Black Panther's "wife." A Storm series would definitely help in restoring her to her former glory. X-Men could make guest appearances, but I'd love to see her interacting with villains of her own.

    Honestly, I really had high hopes for the Wedding of the Century after I read a couple of issues. But, the infamous issue 19 just makes me really sad about the future of Storm.

  • At September 29, 2006 11:43 AM, Anonymous david brothers said…

    Read the latest one where they visit the Inhumans, and for reasons that I can't really understand a fight breaks out and they run for it. It makes absolutely NO SENSE at all!

    The fight broke out because T'Challa asked Bolt a question that Karnak and Gorgon weren't prepared to answer, in part because that answer was "We ignored our king's commands and did what we wanted to do, anyway, because we thought it was right."

    Bolt flies off to check, leaving everyone angry, then the two of them go for broke to get at the guy who just ruined their gig.

    Storm's black, as she was born in America, and American, since Kenya doesn't allow dual citizenship.

    I've had pretty much the polar opposite of your reaction to the storyline here, but hey, that's comics, I figure. I think that his outburst in the much-maligned #19 was showing that, hey, T'Challa isn't perfect, and can be a jerk, but Storm still has his number and isn't afraid to punch his ticket (to horribly mix a couple metaphors). Everyone I know said that that was a stupid reaction on his part, and I can't see Hudlin not writing that as intentionally ignorant. I dunno.

  • At September 29, 2006 3:47 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    david: Does Egypt allow it? I know she lived there initially.

    Anyway, my problem isn't T'Challa's presumption. Honestly, I expected and looked forward to something like that.

    My problem is with how Storm dealt with it. That woman in that comic book was NOT Storm. Storm would have explained very clearly that she is a former leader of the X-Men and that marriage is an EQUAL partnership. She would have explained that sometimes pride has to be sacrificed when there are more important things at stake and that there is no shame in having one's partner there and ready to back you up.

    I'm not saying T'Challa needs to accept this right away, it's a hard adjustment. But the fact that STORM is accepting THIS situation completely irks me.

  • At September 29, 2006 4:52 PM, Anonymous david brothers said…

    I don't know if she ever had any legal standing in Egypt. Her dad was American and her mom was a Kenyan expatriate/princess who moved to Egypt when she was less than a year old. She was born in Manhattan, though! I'm curious to see a What If where she stayed, and her powers ended up appearing in her mid-teens as usual for mutants.

    The idea of Storm in Lee patches, Polo, and Kangols is too awesome to pass up.

    Google seems to suggest that dual citizenship is given to the children of Egyptian men born out of the country, but I can't find any info on grownups. At any rate, I thin it'd be pretty hard for a orphan/thief to find time to register. In fact,she'd probably be legally dead, depending on who rescued her from the rubble of her former home.

    I guess I read that scene different. T'Challa was quiet because he knew that he'd just said something hilariously stupid. A man who's been written as the most competent guy this side of Batman/Captain America is definitely going to realize when he inadvertantly insults his wife over something stupid, I think :)

    Storm hit him with a joke because yelling at him about something that he already knows and respects, being equals, would've done nothing at all. She isn't stupid, either, so maybe defusion was a better choice than probably-deserved soapboxing here? Either way, she gets across the point that he's being stupid about something. It's kind of like something I read or movie I saw a while back. Someone asks something to the effect of "Why do black people do (thing)?" and another person responds, "I dunno, but I'll bring it up at the next Black Meeting and get back to you." Quick joke that gets across a point.

    I dunno. I've found this Storm to be happier and more down-to-earth than the usual X-Men portrayal of Storm. Even then, in the latest issue, Medusa pulls T'Challa off to the side to discuss something.

    Later, Storm goes, "Okay, THAT was weird. After we fight her whole family-- and it turns out the Inhumans still genetically bred slaves-- Medusa seductively pulls you into a private room while I sit ther with her husband."
    "Yes, it WAS weird, wasn't it?"
    "So that's ALL you have to say about it?"
    "You want to hear more?"
    "Don't play with me. I'll make you walk home."

    Again, a gentle joke with "You're being stupid" as a subtext.

    I dunno. I feel like the Official BP Apologist over here, but I'm not trying to nickel and dime you, or go "No, it isn't awful because of X! You don't get it!" I totally see your side of things, too.

    I think (hope?) that the marriage relationship story arc you're looking for is going to be a slow burn subplot, rather than front and center. A few lines each issue, otherwise, they're in good standing.

  • At September 30, 2006 6:00 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    david: I do like your spin on it. That's probably what Hudlin intends. For me though, it doesn't come across that way.

    It might just his style and my tastes are just incompatible. :-) Happens sometimes.

    The nice thing is, if your interpretation's right, it means they'll be building up to more satisfying resolutions as well. So maybe it'll change my mind.

    ...they should still be sharing top billing as the series title though. :-P

  • At September 30, 2006 8:37 PM, Anonymous Cove West said…

    Great post, Kal. You enscapulated all the problems I've had with the whole debacle and even convinced me that Ororo/T'Challa could have worked.

    I think back to "Lifedeath" as what should have been Hudlin's template. There aren't many characters in comics that have had such an in-depth exploration of a natural adult relationship as Ororo had from Claremont. Granted, she wasn't exactly in a normal frame of mind in that issue, but perhaps because she wasn't makes it even harder to ignore.

    Claremont showed us that Ororo's strength was so much a part of who she was that she couldn't ignore it. Despite the plethora of "strong Claremont women," Ororo is singularly extraordinary; the typical tone of the Claremont Woman is one where She fights her progressively more devastating circumstances until She has nothing left to fight with besides Her will, where She finds Her true strength. But in "Lifedeath," Ororo is very specifically rejecting her true strength and accepting her devastating circumstance, limp in bed and without the will even to kill herself. But in the end, her strength of character proved stronger even than her will. And if you think about it, Storm doesn't do those typical "find inner reservoir of willpower and 'power-up' to defeat impossible foe" things most other heroes do: because all the strength she could ever muster is already evident within her self. Even her pivotal moments--stabbing Callisto, going punk with Yukio, losing her powers, becoming team leader, the Mutant Massacre, being stranded in the Adversary's dimension, being de-aged and thieving with Gambit--are less about the things she is capable of than about exploring the facets of who she is.

    Then it comes as no surprise that, despite her detached depression, Ororo dominates her relationship with Forge. Not "dominant" in sense that her will is precedent to his or that her personality is overshadowing, but in the sense that Ororo's "true self," in all it's various facets, is always present, to the point where she is causing Forge to discover as much about himself as she is about herself. She really can't help it. And it's not like Forge isn't trying to resist her; he spends the whole issue in some half-chivalrous, half-Eastwoodian state of repellant/disinterested manliness (after all, he's not only trying to be the courteous rehabilitator, but also trying to dissuade her from killing him). But she keeps breaking him out of it, and each time she does, he tries to build a more convincing illusion. At the end, despite the fact that she's sufficiently out of her self-pity and can care to hate her "destroyer" enough to run away or try to kill him, the illusion of disinterestedness is so strong that he can't convince her he loves her. Ororo had turned Forge from self-assured paragon to self-deluded pretzel, not by romancing him and wrapping him around her finger, but in a failed attempt to wither away and die.

    Which is why I don't buy the Panther relationship. Ororo isn't a romancer--she doesn't flirt or turn on signals or employ an adjustable range of sexiness; she's a what-you-see-is-what-you-get woman. And she doesn't respond to romance, either; you aren't going to "land" her with sweet words or a persona. The only way someone is going to marry Ororo is if they show just as much of themselves as she does and a mutual bond is formed (in a perfect scenario, they'd propose to each other, simply because the love is so apparent it'd be embarassing not to be married). Not that I think she's a perfect woman that only the perfect man can get; Logan, Kurt, Peter, Remy, Charles, and Forge are all possibilities (even Jean or Kitty, if someone wanted to be more daring). I just don't see any of that between her and T'Challa. It seems more like a forced state marriage than anything Ororo would naturally agree to (frankly, Black Bolt and Medusa act more in love). The way T'Challa treats her, I get the feeling that we're two years away from wife-beatings and "together for the greater good" storylines.

    It's a shame. T'Challa actually isn't that different than Forge (who, like the Panther, is just Tony Stark without the playboy ego and drunken orgies). Hell, had Hudlin just copied pages from "Lifedeath" & Fall of the Mutants and pasted T'Challa cut-outs over Forge's body, things'd be peachy. Instead, we get a marriage reliant upon Ororo willfully submitting herself to someone else. Not only is that demeaning in general, but in Ororo's specific case, is actually impossible. If she can't even submit herself to her own will, she ain't gonna willingly submit herself to some stunt double from The Jungle Book.

  • At October 04, 2006 4:52 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Cove: I actually do like T'Challa, and I'm optimistic that he can learn to work with his wife as equals...I like actually, that he has to learn...but I really really wish I could be sure that that's where they're going with this...


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