SPOILER: Black Panther’s Decision in Avengers Vs X-Men #9

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By Steve Morris

Spoilers imminent!

Jungleaction23 SPOILER: Black Panther’s Decision in Avengers Vs X Men #9

Avengers Vs X-Men #9 was released today, and confirmed a plot point many people have been expecting for months now: the marriage between Black Panther and Storm is over. Perhaps the most prominent marriage between two black characters to ever appear in the industry, this was a relationship which lasted for years and was designed to bring together the Avengers and the X-Men, Marvel’s two biggest franchises.

In theory, this was a move which honoured the X-Men’s ideal of integration and brought attention to Marvel’s most prominent – although still not very prominent if you look at the sales of his book – African character. The subsequent annulment of the marriage amongst the wreckage of AvX marks a bold move for Marvel. But is it a disappointing one? No. And here’s why.

black panther 18 SPOILER: Black Panther’s Decision in Avengers Vs X Men #9

The idea to marry the two characters ostensibly came from Reginald Hudlin, the writer for the Black Panther title at the time and President of the BET channel. Marvel’s goal was to push the character enough in the comics to make his proposed cartoon series for BET a viable option, and one of the ideas floated as a marketing move was to put him in a high-profile marriage.

Now, Black Panther had not had a particularly vibrant sex life by this point – he was suggested to have a Harem, sure, but he’d never been invested in a relationship with any ‘name’ characters. Monica Rambeau, Photon, was perhaps the one character fans could see him dating. But once the decision to marry him to  more prominent character was made, Marvel released this as a teaser image:

Black+Panther+14 SPOILER: Black Panther’s Decision in Avengers Vs X Men #9

Ugh! Right? Although having said that, just imagine if he’d married Rogue. Marvel’s office would’ve been stormed by angry Gambit fans and razed to the ground. Once it was decided that Storm would be the lucky bride, the task fell upon Marvel to make this feel less like an editorial push and more like an organic story. Chris Claremont, who at the time was handling Storm first in his X-Treme X-Men series and currently on Uncanny X-Men, was asked to write her out. Getting an annual to cement a past relationship between Ororo and T’challa, he did his best to push her history in Africa (although she’s American), and created a fairly sweet tale of young romance.

Eric Jerome Dickey, a consulting writer for the marriage storyline along with Reginald Hudlin, was also given a ‘Storm’ miniseries to further bring the characters together. Looking through back-issues, Dickey found a forgotten issue which had seen the two characters briefly interact in the past, as a young Storm saved T’Challa from an attacker. Dickey decided to change this so Storm was rescued by T’Challa. Instead of using a story which already existed, Dickey decided to have Storm be the helpless victim who needed to be saved. You can make your own conclusions regarding that decision.

Then, he depicted the two underage characters having sex in the wilderness. This was literally a thing which Marvel allowed to happen in one of their comics. Read the story, if you don’t believe me.

8472891 1 SPOILER: Black Panther’s Decision in Avengers Vs X Men #9

Of course, you can argue that this is statutory rape. But instead it became the foundation for marriage. After a few modern-day brushes with Black Panther during a crossover called ‘Wild Kingdom’, it was time for the wedding. Joe Quesada, one of the main advocates for the marriage, said at the time that this was the X-Men’s version of ‘Lady Diana and Prince Charles’. Which, if you’ll recall, was also a marriage which seemed massively inappropriate for both parties, and left everybody with a stained reputation.

As a result of Storm marrying Black Panther, she moved from the X-Men office to the Avengers office, where T’Challa is managed. This meant she had to be removed from Uncanny X-Men, annoying Claremont (who also lost Kitty Pryde at around the same time, and is rumoured to be the main point of contention between him and the company). It also allegedly meant that Ed Brubaker’s plans to use her in his Uncanny X-Men run had to be initially quelled, as the focus had to be on establishing her as a supporting cast member to the Black Panther book. The wedding issue saw massive sales, and tied in to Civil War.

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Once she moved across to the Black Panther solo book, there was immediate discomfort with Hudlin’s stories – which seemed to have awkward political agendas shoehorned in. To top things off, Hudlin’s dialogue for Storm bore little resemblance to her previous formal style, as she became what was essentially a cheerleader for her husband’s feats. At one point she sentenced somebody to death, when Storm has always been aspired to use non-violence as an answer.

There was respite from the iffy Black Panther title when Dwayne McDuffie decided to use the characters in his Fantastic Four run, brilliantly using them as replacements for Reed Richards and Sue Storm. There was suddenly a dynamic between the couple, which seemed realistic for perhaps the first time. Their repartee was funny, they seemed to like each other, and the series was favoured by critics. But this was only a short-term move, and eventually the character returned to Black Panther, which was rapidly losing sales. A series of relaunches followed, none of them lasting for a long period of time despite a number of different sales tactics.

Editorial started to feel that they had a lame duck on their hands, solidified when writers like Warren Ellis brought Storm back to the X-Men and gave her more to do as a guest than Hudlin allowed her in the book she was meant to be a central part of. The marriage became an open joke among fans, who watched as Storm’s status in the X-Men’s world dwindle, to the point where Chris Yost’s 2008 Storm miniseries ‘World’s Apart’ was entirely focused on the difficulty she’d have in living her split life.

X Men Worlds Apart Vol 1 2 SPOILER: Black Panther’s Decision in Avengers Vs X Men #9

Hudlin failed to get the Black Panther cartoon a run on BET, instead having to settle for a direct-to-DVD release. At the same time, he left the comic book and was replaced by Jonathan Maberry, who couldn’t reverse the sales decline. The book was cancelled. Incredibly, Marvel’s most famous female character was now unused. X-Men writers started to bring her back into their world, with Matt Fraction setting her up in the X-Men’s Utopia location for a scattered bunch of guest-appearances. Black Panther, meanwhile, was nowhere to be seen. Having previously been promoted by a number of X-Men titles, the character was now seemingly ignored and viewed as a drag on Storm’s personality.

A last-gasp attempt to save Black Panther, in the form of David Liss’ 2011 series ‘Black Panther: The Man Without Fear’. While Daredevil was put into limbo for a year, Black Panther took over his series for his own, and lived in Hell’s Kitchen. Crucially, Storm barely appeared in this run whatsoever. And when she did, the couple bickered and showed few signs of romantic compatibility. The run ended after a year, and Black Panther was trapped in limbo, unused because Marvel simply couldn’t get people to read his books.

Meanwhile Storm was starting to thrive again. Kieron Gillen started using her in his Uncanny X-Men run, and other X-Men writers like Mike Carey and Christos Gage brought her into their books for extended cameos. Clearly, X-Men fans still wanted to read about her – but just not with Black Panther. The marriage had become hated by most X-Men fans, and the cross-promotion Quesada had hoped for between Avengers and X-Men readerships didn’t happen. X-men fans simply shunned the marriage entirely, while Avengers fans had never cared for Black Panther as a solo character.

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By the time Avengers Vs X-Men started, people were actively expecting it to dissemble the marriage and let the characters return to their own worlds. Jonathan Hickman restored Black Panther’s power in Fantastic Four/FF, while Fraction gave him some cameo appearances in Defenders. Meanwhile Storm was flourishing in Uncanny X-Men and Brian Wood’s new run on adjectiveless X-Men. Together, they’d been an interesting image with no depth to it, and an alarming streak of misogyny running through the pages. Apart, they were regaining their strength and dignity.

Which is why, today, the marriage was ended. And while there are some who will mourn what was a good idea that never worked, the reaction online – from what I’ve seen – had been overwhelmingly positive. Storm fans are pleased, because she never seemed suited for marriage. Black Panther fans are glad to finally have what they see as the ‘albatross’ of the X-Office finally removed from T’Challa’s neck.

This also means that plans for a Black Panther movie are now more viable. Storm belongs to Fox, who make the X-Men movies. Black Panther belongs to Marvel Studios. For as long as she was the ‘hook’ for interest in T’Challa, the movie would never have worked. It may seem regressive to take the first black marriage and divorce (or annul) them, but actually…. this works out better for both parties.

While there are going to be complaints about Marvel’s decision, this really was a marriage which worked once, when Dwayne McDuffie turned his effortless talent to them. But aside from that, they’ve struggled from the start to be anything other than a symbolic ideal, which collapsed whenever anyone put any weight on them.

Comments

  1. Priest could have made it work. Man, I miss that guy.

    I’m still not so sure we’ve heard the last of it, inasmuch as the entire point of this mini is to set up an ongoing book where the Avengers and X-Men form a single team.

  2. Chadlee says:

    Thanks for this fun and engaging article. I really like when the curtain is pulled back and we’re shown the business rationale for plot developments that often seem irrational otherwise. Stories like this are an excellent way for the Beat to address the usually mundane plot developments in the Big Two universes. Hope we see more stories like this in the future.

  3. Wait – I haven’t read the story, but if Storm & T’Challa were both underage, how can you argue it was statutory rape?

  4. Yogaflame says:

    Storm was 12, T’Challa was 16 or so. They did not need to be having sex.

  5. He’s playing up how explicit the scene was with “This was literally a thing which Marvel allowed to happen in one of their comics.” and then linking statutory rape to their marriage the way Morris does above is pretty gross and inaccurate. Panther’s “harem” was also strictly celibate (a position that Priest explored), his biggest love interest was probably Monica Lynne, and IIRC Storm at one point took a vow of no killing when she was a child, but has definitely shown herself to be willing to kill people before. Pragmatic, rather than blood thirsty.

    I liked Hudlin’s run on Panther. It was one of the precious few times that Storm actually felt like a black character, instead of a fetish object with blue eyes and perfectly straight hair. I liked the marriage, too.

    But I guess it’s cool when Colossus is hooking up Kitty Pryde at 14?

  6. Maverickman874 says:

    This was a great article Steve. I am glad that the marriage is dissolved. Let’s just forget it as a bad dream. The marriage was dragging down both characters.

  7. Johnny Memeonic says:

    This article needed a little more research into Storm’s backstory. She was born in the US, but grew up in Africa. Any writer portraying her as having been raised in America is doing it wrong.

  8. Go Ororo! Good riddance to a bad husband!

  9. What’s the divorce rate in the Marvel universe? I give Northstar and Kyle a year before we get the divorce mini series. Who wants to start a betting pool?

  10. “…if Storm & T’Challa were both underage, how can you argue it was statutory rape?”

    Laws vary from state to state (and country to country). Many criminalize sex between minors if there is an age difference between them, and in some cases even if there is not.

  11. Charles Knight says:

    “Then, he depicted the two underage characters having sex in the wilderness. This was literally a thing which Marvel allowed to happen in one of their comics. Read the story, if you don’t believe me.”

    under-aged? You know the age-limit in fictional African kingdoms?

    “Of course, you can argue that this is statutory rape.”

    If we can find a lawyer to practice law in a fictional African kingdom.

    I guess you *could* argue it was statutory rape if you were a little bit hysterical about a comic and a little bit over the top but otherwise no.

  12. I remember seeing 15 year olds Iceman and Rogue having sex in Ultimate X-Men a few years back. I made a “really?!” comment on Newsarama and got met with hostility.

    It’s pretty weird, guys. Imagine seeing the second Harry Potter movie, and those kids had a fade to curtains scene.

  13. 2nd year Harry Potter characters were 12. A significant difference—in our modern culture anyway—from 15.

  14. The Hudlin and McDuffie stories were high points… historic or not, they were just solid character stories.

  15. James says:

    @david brothers
    You can try to deflect all you want, but what Peter and Kitty did, doesnt make Storm & T’Challa any less gross.

    @Charles Knight
    “under-aged? You know the age-limit in fictional African kingdoms?”

    whatever it may be, i would hope it wouldnt allow people to have sex with preteens.

    “I guess you *could* argue it was statutory rape if you were a little bit hysterical about a comic and a little bit over the top but otherwise no.”

    The writer of the article is not the one coming across as hysterical and over the top. As you’re so fond of reminding people its a fictional world, you would do well to take your own advice, and remember that BP is a fictional character.

  16. DublDownDrew says:

    Didn’t care for the idea of the two characters getting married (seemingly to me) out of nowhere so I didn’t read any of it but that is a SWEET Jungle Action cover. As opposed to some of the more “photo-realistic” or “cheesecake” covers later in the post, that Jungle Action cover makes me want to actually BUY the comic. Off to the comic shop back issue bins!!!

  17. Spike-X says:

    “…this was a relationship which lasted for years and was designed to bring together the Avengers and the X-Men, Marvel’s two biggest franchises.”

    So this was a marriage forced on both parties by outsiders in order to cement a political/economic union? It’s good to see Marvel depicting a traditional marriage!

  18. And Marvel went through all the trouble of breaking up Peter’s marriage to Mary Jane with that awful OMD storyline. I think that the problem with Storm and BP is the fact they were on two separate teams. In order for the marriage to work it might have been best for them not to get married right away. Just let the relationship take its time.

  19. Diamond Princess says:

    Of course, you can argue that this is statutory rape.

    Sure, if you’re an idiot. I’m pretty sure the Sahara falls under Tanzanian territory, where the age of consent is 18.

  20. Fernald says:

    Found a forgotten issue? Gee as a young black kid, I loved that story, and most of my friends of the same age remember it fondly too. So ‘forgotten’? Perhaps to you.
    To other people? Not so much.

  21. The Dude says:

    Well thats the thing , unless you have the issue , did it take place in the Sahara ? Because as the writer claims it was in the wilderness . And according to this the Sahara isn’t in Tanzanian Territory…
    And your point that the age of consent is 16 according to this.

    http://www.ageofconsent.com/tanzania.htm

  22. I sure as hell miss McDuffie. That man could write.

  23. Pink Apocalypse says:

    Wow. Convey the idea that, maybe, depicting 12 year olds having sex isn’t the best thing to do, and people get hostile.

    That’s not…creepy, or weird, at all…

  24. Diamond Princess says:

    The Dude: you beat me to it. I was just about to come here to correct myself on both counts.

    *places the idiot crown on my own head*

    As for the where, Storm walked through the Sahara to “find herself,” but I remember a long time ago that somebody trekked that route (from Egypt to Mt. Kilimanjaro), and found it to be a bit suspect. I think she would’ve had to cross through a country to come right back into one. Then again, NOTHING in Storm/BP’s original origin story matches up with that abomination Dickhead – I mean Dickey wrote. Marriage fans and marriage haters tend to agree on nothing at all, but we seem to be unanimous in the mindset that that miniseries needs to be burned. Now? Even more so. Ages of consent aside, what the HELL was Marvel thinking?

  25. RolandJP says:

    Nice TMZ piece.

    Oh praise McDuffie because he is dead, and throw everything else in the toilet.

    The sales were not low for the wedding or subsequent issues. And as someone else pointed out your silence at the Rogue/Iceman sex in Ultimate’s condemns your argument to Biased Purgatory.

    This Post is a dressed up OP ED..pretending to be commentary.

    I noticed you did not mention the constant UNDERMINING of the marriage throughout the X-books. And the lack of an attempt at even acknowledging the marriage in 6 years.

    T’challa appeared in an x-book maybe 3 times.
    Even when Hudlin was removed from writing BP which was the case for 2 to 3 years. X-editors took the opportunity to mock and malign the wedding every chance they got.

    Not to mention After declaring how storm could not have a relationship while in the X-pages..they then proceeded to have her Pair off with NAMOR.
    THOR.
    and Gambit.

    In Succession. Not bad for Ororo would be too busy helping Cyclops hold Utopia together. But of course mentioning that would show FAIR and BALANCED reporting.

    So Steve Moore..enjoy your statutory RAPE of what happened. But Leave McDuffie’s Name out of it.

  26. RolandJP says:

    AND YOU WERE WRONG He was 16. It is established that T;challa took the throne at 13. In the Storm mini he is still a Prince.

    Shall I spell it out for you..he couldnt have been 16 because he would have been KING and not PRince.

    FACT CHECK NEXT TIME!!

  27. Africa says:

    I think the real reason Marvel fans hate the marriage of Black Panther and Storm is simply because Storm is seen as the property of white people (The X-Men) and the Black Panther stole and took by force what simply belongs to the white man. Storm has long straight white hair, blue eyes, and is light-skinned. She is closer to a white woman than she is a black woman. Storm was essentially the sexualized and fetishized black woman on the X-Men for white males. The exotic black woman with no African traits, who only dates white males. So when a black African takes and marries the white man’s property, fans get hysterical. Why would anybody get upset about two black Africans, from the continent of Africa getting married unless one character was not seen as African in the first place, but instead something else, something foreign and exotic, but nothing like a black African. Now everyone can dismiss this post as racial or whatever, but there has been very strong racial overtones by Marvel fans and especially X-Men fans about their hatred of Black Panther. If this post is over white’s people head, I’ll put it bluntly, fans are mad that a black man was sexing Storm which was considered their property. Would Marvel fans be mad if other black superheroes were sexing, probably not, but then again, Storm was never black African to begin with. Just a white man’s fantasy of an African woman.

  28. Africa says:

    Over the years Marvel has done questionable things regarding their Black/African characters. Marvel fans have been vocal over the net in regards to certain characters getting air time in their all white comics, such as Luke Cage in the Avengers, Black Panther and Storm marriage, and Black Panther and Storm in the Fantastic Four comics. When people deny the racial undertones of the Black Panther and Storm marriage, I can’t really look to white people to understand. After all we come from two different worlds and live two different experiences. Marvel Comics is an all white male comics franchise for white males. To expect anything more than crumbs from the table would be foolish.

  29. Well said! It was a horrible idea from the start. Their so-called retconned romance was very poorly done and most Storm fans I am friends with hated the idea. I found it to be extremely cliche.

    Finally we can have Ororo back in the X-books and not window dressing for a B-list character.

    I’m really getting sick of these stupid marketing ploys Marvel! Just tell a good story and you’ll sell more books.

  30. What’s funny to me isn’t how high the divorce rate is- it’s how high the annulment rate is. Black Panther/Storm, Parker/MJ (I mean, that’s a cosmic annulment, right?)…and was Johnny Storm’s marriage really a marriage if the person he married committed intergalactic fraud?

  31. Storm is and will always be the definitive leader of the X-men IMHO, and a character whose strength and power of command genuinely inspired me.

    Seeing her, well, emasculated, to become a bimbo for BP was insulting.

    Just another example of Marvel Editors tearind down the X-men to make the stupid Avengers look cool.

    At least one wrong got righted today.

  32. This could be a potentially better step up for X-men / Avengers with them still having feelings but liking and hating each other at the time. Relationships are more fun to read when they are screwed up.

  33. I was never a fan of Hudlin’s run. He took a character that had become one of my favorites, thanks to Priest, and ground him into worthless sludge. It was painful to watch. I remember reading Priest say in an interview that he wanted Panther and Storm to marry during his run, but that Marvel didn’t approve at the time.

  34. So Quesada screwed up another marriage-related situation at Marvel. Shocker.

  35. I’m hoping this is the prelude to something bigger.

    Personally, I’m hoping Ororo is pregnant.

    And I’d prefer Storm as a queen than for her to go back to being the X-Men’s resident Magical Negress and having Wolverine, Gambit, Nightcrawler, Forge and Yukio pass her around like a joint.

  36. King Umbra says:

    Ummm, nothing was resolved in this issue. How come you left out where Storm says they will talk later? T’challa made a statement, other then his statement there is no indication of what the final out come will be! Especially with AvX #5 and Nick Lowe’s “Big Surprise”.

    Why are you posting and jacking a scan from Bleeding Cool.com?

    This is one big piece of hot garbage “journalism”. Shoddy at best with tons of misinformation on situations that have occured with the characters.

  37. @some commenters, like “Africa”:

    Since when was Forge white?

  38. @RolandJP
    “The sales were not low for the wedding or subsequent issues”

    From the article and i quote, “The wedding issue saw massive sales” reading comprehension fail.

    “And as someone else pointed out your silence at the Rogue/Iceman sex in Ultimate’s condemns your argument to Biased Purgatory.”

    Poor strawman, we are discussing BP/STORM not (insert any couple here) in vain hope of drawing attention away from the issue,besides ultimates is alternate universe and not 616 cannon.

    “I noticed you did not mention the constant UNDERMINING of the marriage throughout the X-books. And the lack of an attempt at even acknowledging the marriage in 6 years.”

    You contradict yourself as usual, how can they constantly undermine it, if they are ignoring it. if they took the time to undermine it wouldnt that mean they are allso acknowledging it, just not in the way you would like.

    “T’challa appeared in an x-book maybe 3 times.
    Even when Hudlin was removed from writing BP which was the case for 2 to 3 years. X-editors took the opportunity to mock and malign the wedding every chance they got.”

    The X-books are under no obligation to feature BP.
    I would like to see EVIDENCE of this mocking and maligning from the X-books, SO PROOF PLEASE,from my recollection it was mostly ignored untill recently.

    “Not to mention After declaring how storm could not have a relationship while in the X-pages..they then proceeded to have her Pair off with NAMOR.
    THOR.
    and Gambit.”

    If there was any pairing off it was in an ALTERNATE UNIVERSE so again not 616 cannon, which you seem to have a lot of trouble with understanding

    “FACT CHECK NEXT TIME”

    The irony of this statement

  39. RolandJP says:

    LOl. How can they undermine something by ignoring it.

    really?

  40. James says:

    You can ignore something without undermining it.
    Imo they neither helped nor hindered the marriage
    In any case it was not the X-books job to develop the marriage, that was te BP books job, so why not place the blame where it belongs

  41. Shawn Kane says:

    “But I guess it’s cool when Colossus is hooking up Kitty Pryde at 14?”

    I’d like to know when people thought Colossus and Kitty hooked up. I’ve read this kind of comment before and nothing of the sort ever happened. Kitty offered herself to him when they were in space fighting the Brood and they thought that they were going to die and in a tender moment, Peter turned her down (#165 after she said that she wished she were older and Colossus says “You are NOT older”). By the time Colossus acknowledges his age (“nearly twenty” #183) Kitty had aged closer to sixteen. Sorry for the geeky references to issues that I read when I was between 9 and 12 years old but Colossus is a favorite character and the “pervert” references annoy me. Not to mention how out of character he’s been written since he returned from the dead.

  42. andrew brown says:

    I’m sure glad us white people got storm back from the Blacks. Oh no, wait a minute, that’s the stupidest thing i’ve ever heard

  43. Jim Sheridan says:

    If Black Panther can’t sell a comic book, why would they make a Black Panther movie?

  44. Africa says:

    @Andrew- Did I ever say Forge was white? Regardless what race Forge is he’s not black. Every non-European is not under the same banner.

    I’m tired white people using the terms diversity, minorities, and people of color to describe all non-Europeans as if their a singular group, all on the same team out to destroy the white man. Give me a break with that crap.

    @Andrew Brown- Storm was passed around by the X-Men. She dated them all but never anything serious. No uproar from X-Men fans or Marvel fans in general. But as soon as she MARRIES the Black Panther and is whisked away from the X-Men (White America) to Wakanda (Black African Kingdom) fans go hysterical. X-Men fans consistently talk about how Storm has lost her exoticness, her goddess aurora, and that her overall character has been lowered ever since she became married to the Black Panther. Not even a supervillian can to all that to a character, but apparently marriage to an African can. If you can’t see the racial tones from all the outrage from this marriage, that’s your problem. What’s next, theirs no sexism in Marvel Comics either?

  45. Africa says:

    Last comment and I’m done.

    Let’s not pretend that race is not a factor. Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in the Marvel Universe movies, Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin in Daredevil, and the lastest outrage, Idris Elba as Heimdall in Thor, has provoked Marvel fans to expose their racial garbage towards people of African descent. There has been vast racial outrage over years at Marvel regarding certain characters race change. I don’t need white people to see the racial undertones/overtones happening in comics. The evidence is in clear view. Whether or not you chose to see it or acknowledge it is your problem. If you think that certain races or women for that matter are to remain silent, when clearly at times the embarrassing portrayals of race and women are out in the open, is a fool’s errand.

  46. andrew browne with the e says:

    I am totally glad she is no longer married to black panther.All of you who keep talking that crap about storm being white mans property where are the post that justify the way the black man treat his (queen).Stupidness all the time.

  47. Ben Trigg says:

    @Africa
    “Did I ever say Forge was white?”

    “The exotic black woman with no African traits, who only dates white males.”

    That may not be what you meant, but it is what you said.

    Personally, I loved the idea of Ororo and T’Challa together. I just wish it hadn’t been forced, and that it could have been done in a way that didn’t take her away from the X-Men. Also, would have been really nice if the backstory wasn’t changed to make the boy save the girl instead of the girl saving the boy.

  48. Citizen Alan says:

    It is a serious misrepresentation of Ororo’s history to say that she has been “passed around by all the white characters.” She was never seriously involved with any male characters AT ALL between her introduction and that of Forge. The flashback story with T’Challa was ten pages and wasn’t picked up on again for two decades. And I refuse to count the half-dozen occasions in which she rejects the Villain of the Month (Dr. Doom, Loki, Khan, Dracula, among others) who wanted to make her “his queen,” a hideous cliche that speaks more to the writers’ sexism than their racism.

    In fact, my recollection is that throughout the 80’s there was serious speculation that she was actually a lesbian (which really took off when she met Yukio) and a lot of readers saw lesbian subtext in her relationship with Kitty at the time.

    When she did hook up with Forge, I, for one, was actually annoyed that the writers felt the need to introduce such a cliched token minority character to be her love interest. The racism, IMO, wasn’t that she was treated as the possession of white men, but that the writers didn’t have the guts to put her into a serious relationship with any of the white characters with whom she interacted. Even today, I don’t think she’s ever been seriously involved with a white character other than her brief flirtation with Slipstream, one of Claremont’s crappy “X-Treme X-Men” creations.

    And then, Marvel decides to marry her off to Black Panther as a cynical marketing ploy when the characters have barely appeared in the same book in over 30 years! That’s the racism, as far as I’m concerned: the suggestion that if you have a strong black female character and a strong black male character, of course they’re going to get married to each other. Who else would want them?

    The really tragic thing is that you can go back and reread the Claremont short story today and they really do have chemistry. If Marvel had had any sense, they’d have put T’Challa in UXM back in the 80’s as a supporting character back when he wasn’t doing anything in mainstream comics. Let their relationship grow organically over time so that marriage seems plausible, instead of what we got — T’Challa shows up out of the blue one day and say “I’m a black male superhero, you’re a black female superhero, let’s get married.”

  49. Shawn Kane says:

    “Storm was passed around by the X-Men. She dated them all but never anything serious.”

    I geeked out and named the issue numbers to prove my point. Pretty sure that’s an incorrect statement.

  50. The funny thing is that he actually nailed this piece perfectly. There was no historical revisionism here. Claremont was told to give her up and it annoyed him… I don’t understand why people don’t get this.

    What’s shoddy about this? Seriously, what’s wrong with this, he nailed it. Great job Steve.

    o

  51. As an X-Men reader but by no means a completist, I was shocked–even “flabbergasted” when I heard that Storm was said to have married Black Panther. To my knowledge, I know that Storm has hung out with Luke Cage once or twice (solvin’ crimes) but two characters who I wasn’t aware had even met? I looked at it poorly.

    In any case, I also empathize with folks who were just happy to see a BLACK couple in the comics, no matter how it was put together, metatextually.

    I don’t know. Seems that once the die was cast, it was destined to be a weird and contentious assortment of bitter feelings.

  52. Africa says:

    From Tom Brevoort, interview at Newsarama on Avengers Vs. X-Men #9:

    Newsarama: Tom, among other major developments, Avengers vs. X-Men #9 discloses the official dissolution of Black Panther and Storm’s marriage. It’s not a surprising development given the events of the series, but still seems like a significant event, as their marriage was treated as a pretty big deal back when it happened back in 2006. From Marvel’s perspective, had the marriage simply run its course, or was this just an ideal way to show the consequences of AvX beyond physical fights? Or maybe both?

    Tom Brevoort: I think it’s a little bit of everything. To be honest, I don’t know that we handled Storm and the Panther as a married couple as well as we could have on a consistent basis. This is a byproduct of the fact that they come from different corners of the MU, and it was often difficult to bridge the gap. X-readers and creators wanted Storm to be in the world of X rather than in Wakanda with the Panther, and the Panther’s trajectory was often well away from that X-world. So more often than not, we had the two of them separated, each off doing their own thing in their own sphere, and touching base with the other, but that’s about it. We never found that winning formula to put them into position in the Marvel U as a couple that would succeed long-term. Probably the closest we came was right after the wedding, when they became half of the Fantastic Four.

    Translation- White people were mad Storm married Black Panther. So we put things back to appease our core readers.

  53. Shawn Kane says:

    I translate what Brevoort said as, “We throw a bunch of stuff at the wall these days to get in Entertainment Weekly and USA Today and hope that it sticks. Since this didn’t we’ll find some other way to get headlines.”

  54. Marvel rectified it’s first mistake by marrying them in the first place. That decision reflects more fans, not just white ones but anyone that likes good storytelling and doesn’t live inside the Wakandan bubble.

  55. Maggie says:

    @ OmegaStorm

    Yes, now we can get back to seeing Storm in chains and being wallpaper again. Oh, and rehashing stories from thirty years ago. F’ Marvel if they go through with this. Anyone who cares about how Black characters are treated at DC and Marvel should say their piece with their money and quit buying their BS. If they want to pander to miserable, racist, “progressive” fans let them do so. As for me I’ll keep supporting independent and creator-owned comics who aren’t afraid to have strong, well-developed Black characters.

  56. Stephen says:

    As an American son of African parents I find many of the comments here to be false.

    When I worked at Marvel in the early 2000’s the office was VERY diverse and full of all sorts of people who were comic geeks (though the Editorial department might have been a bit light on diversity).

    For those of you who say that Black people don’t have Storm’s features, perhaps you should look at the Somalian model Iman who is from the same region, (but not country) that Storm’s mother was from.

    Somali’s generally have coarse, less curly hair and lighter skin than most than West Africans, as well as generally narrower features.

    Of course, this is a generalization based on personal experience from meeting people from all over the world growing up in NYC and having been to Africa to visit family.

    If you study Dave Cockrum’s early illustrations, Ororo was CLEARLY based on Nichelle Nichols of Start Trek. More recent illustrators have been cribbing old Naomi Campbell photo shoots when depicting Ororo.

    A White person determining what’s Black and what’s not is ludicrous since there are many unsuspecting White people with Black ancestors. (It was the common practice of many light skinned children of former slaves to pass as Jewish or Latin and marry into White families.)

    When people tell me that there is no racism in America anymore I just think back to my roommate arguing with me and saying “Vanessa Williams can’t be Black! She’s gorgeous!” I wonder how Ms. Williams would feel about that statement.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] you need more context, I think this article provides plenty, although I think the writer jumps to a few conclusions.1  In a nutshell, Marvel [...]

  2. [...] question, though, which is why Storm was designed this way at all. This comment on an article about Storm’s marriage to the Black Panther had the following to say about the character’s [...]

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