Comic Vine News

684 Comments

Should The Black Panther and Storm Marriage Have Been Annulled?

We analyze what was wrong with the marriage of these two characters as well as the way it all ended.

A comic event can make drastic changes to the status-quo very quickly. We've seen this happen countless times. It's no question that writers often use events to propel their own agendas and get things to change fast, rather than having to develop a huge story to evoke those changes.

In a single issue characters can die, they can become possessed, they can switch alliances, their marriages can fall apart -- all in the blink of an eye; or in the case of Marvel's AVENGERS VS. X-MEN event, all in one issue. It's hard to believe that a marriage and relationship that took writer Reginald Hudlin years to build could all be torn down in literally one panel like the marriage of Storm and T'Challa was in AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #9. If you haven't read the issue yet then, spoiler alert, the two are no longer married thanks to the High Priest of Wakanda's (T'Challa) annulment of their marriage. In fact, we mentioned the dissolution of their marriage in a recent article, but we didn't get into a whole lot of depth, which is why we're talking about it now.

== TEASER ==

Regardless of how you felt about these two characters while they were married, you might agree that the way their marriage ended was rather bizarre. Aside from the fact that the whole scene was really disheartening and humiliating for Storm's character, it also made T'Challa look like a complete jerk; particularly since he blamed his now ex-wife for something he knew was coming (the destruction of Wakanda). But aside from the fact that both these characters looked bad, the way the creative team approached the dissolution of their marriage is a good example of the poor treatment of marriages in comic books.

Before we get into all of that, let's take a step back to analyze what really happened. Before the release of AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #9, Black Panther appeared in Jonathan Hickman's FANTASTIC Four #608. In this issue, T'Challa travels to Necropolis with Reed Richards and is met by a spirit of the Panther God, the same entity that bestowed the duties and responsibilities of the Black Panther onto T'Challa and then later, to his sister Shuri. There is a scene about halfway through the issue where we see the Panther God touch T'Challa's head; as though he is enlightening him and showing him a vision. In this vision, (which is illustrated on the following page in the issue) T'Challa sees a "great fire in the sky," (the Phoenix Force) and is told that "that fire will bring a great flood [to Wakanda]." T'Challa witnessed the coming destruction of Wakanda brought on by the Phoenix Force -- so when it actually happens in AVENGERS VS. X-MEN, why did it come as such a surprise to him? And why didn't T'Challa tell Storm about the vision? I feel like a flood is something that the Goddess of Weather could do something to help control -- even stop. Rather than approaching his wife, T'Challa dissolves their marriage acting as if it never happened: embarrassing her and treating it as though she is to blame for Wakanda's destruction. Now, that's not exactly the way two married people act, even in a crisis; and it's a poor reflection of married couples in comic books. When two married people disagree, they normally have enough respect for one another to talk things through. You can't just up and divorce someone because you feel like it. The scene in AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #9 was a great disservice to both characters. It made T'Challa appear too arrogant for his own good, and it made Storm look weak and unimportant. T'Challa essentially placed the blame on Ororo for the destruction of Wakanda when he knew it was coming all along (refer to the vision in FANTASTIC FOUR #608). This entire scene didn't really make sense considering T'Challa knew the destruction was coming, and Storm did not. Also, he really took the time to dissolve their marriage after Wakanda had been completely leveled? Why was that even a priority under those circumstances?

Yet, some would say the annullment of Storm and T'Challa's marriage is something they saw coming. Prior to the AVENGERS VS X-MEN event, Storm and T'Challa have been living relatively separate lives. While he took over as the "Black Panther: Man Without Fear" in Hells Kitchen (while Daredevil trekked 'cross country to try to figure things out), Storm was playing on Utopia with the X-Men, solving mutant and X-Men problems. The two would occasionally "Skype" as we witnessed on panel, but for the most part, T'Challa would ask that Ororo stay away. He often acted like he did not want her around, at least that's the way it's been in the last year or so of his appearances. Yet, it wasn't always this way. There was a time where these two would work together; when they had a respectful relationship.

Storm 6-issue series

Prior to their marriage issue, you might recall seeing a six-issue miniseries titled STORM that focused on the first meeting and the relationship between Black Panther and Storm. It was the story of how these two met and fell in love as children, and it outlined a very young, timid Ororo who was unsure of herself, and a somewhat overconfident T'Challa who had embarked on his "walkabout," and was traveling throughout Africa. It was as much a story about T'Challa's journey to become a warrior and Ororo's understanding of her own power as it was about the two of these characters falling in love. There were some great moments in this limited series, as well as some scenes that foretold of the way T'Challa would speak to Ororo in AVX #9 (his constantly putting her in her place). And while this series may have been well intentioned, it wasn't the best example of a solid foundation for their relationship.

Fantastic Four #547

A better example of their interactions and the way they could work well together was seen when the two appeared in FANTASTIC FOUR alongside the Thing and Johnny Storm. The run where these two characters take over for Sue and Reed while they go on their "second honeymoon" is a fantastic example of how it is possible to write these two characters well and depict them working together. Late writer Dwayne McDuffie stressed mutual respect between these two characters in his series; and it was obvious. He proved that while these two are very different, they can still be written in a way that demonstrates that they have respect for one another.

What is frustrating isn't just the way their marriage ended (which was pretty cold, mind you), but also the events that led up to the end of the only black marriage in Marvel comics. These two could have had a great marriage. They could have worked together (as we saw in FANTASTIC FOUR) and this event could have been used as a hurtle they would overcome together in order to build a stronger relationship as well as a stronger Wakanda. It's enough that there aren't a whole lot of black heroes in comics -- there aren't very many marriages in comics period. This marriage had the potential to succeed and to be strong. It had the potential to flourish and be interesting. It could have been a great example, but in the end it all fell flat. The real slap in the face is in the way it ended. As though the last six years never even happened. Now, it's not that I was a huge fan of these two together, I'm just saying I could have been if their marriage and their characters were treated differently. Instead, it feels like Marvel just didn't know what to do with Black Panther and Storm. What do you think?

684 Comments
Posted by thespideyguy

nono on marriage

Posted by crazyflashfan11

@thespideyguy said:

nono on marriage

what he said

Edited by feargalr

I only think the marriage would have worked if Storm had moved to Wakanda full time and left the X-men, and that just won't happen. Plus there might be some good stories out of their relationship yet to come.

Posted by ARMIV2

And another marriage in comics is shot down.

Anybody in comics still married?

Posted by The Sadhu

The treatment of BP and Storms marriage in comics reflects the unfortunate view of marriage in the world today! It's viewed as something that can be just thrown away... no respect for marriage as a whole! Sucks!

Posted by fodigg

No. They should have done something with it. As is I don't even care that much because they never really explored the relationship in any meaningful way. At least, not that I saw.

Posted by Man of Lengend

I hate that there are like 3 good marriges in comics.... Like if people are supposed to looks up to these characters , like why is divorce always the answer

Edited by Quintus_Knightfall

@The Sadhu said:

The treatment of BP and Storms marriage in comics reflects the unfortunate view of marriage in the world today! It's viewed as something that can be just thrown away... no respect for marriage as a whole! Sucks!

Exactly. And if I wanted to watch someone toss a marriage away like it was nothing I'd go next door, or read the tabloids. Cant marriage at least mean something in comics? Sum buuuuuullsh!t lol

Moderator Online
Posted by Overlander

Did they consummate? If the answer is "yes" then an annulment is not an option...but I guess T'Challa is the high priest of the clan...so he could have the authority to change wedding policy on a whim.

Personally, I am quite saddened by the inability of characters to have decent, long-lasting relationships. Writers use love triangles and the threat of separation to generate conflict, where monogamy and fidelity are anchors to help people weather life's greatest challenges. In short: this is lazy storytelling.

imo: this should have been the time to recommit to their marriage and focus on being together.

Posted by ApatheticAvenger

I really don't care, their marriage was nothing more than publicity stunt to begin with.

Posted by Vance Astro

It needed to happen because of what was being done with it but I would rather them be together. When Cage comes off as a better husband than you, you effed up.

Moderator
Posted by Quintus_Knightfall

@Vance Astro said:

When Cage comes off as a better husband than you, you effed up.

hahaha

Moderator Online
Posted by papad1992

@ARMIV2 said:

And another marriage in comics is shot down.

Anybody in comics still married?

Northstar and Kyle...

Posted by Necrotic_Lycanthrope

What's wrong with this marriage? Well, the writers in charge of it of course.

Edited by AskaniSon295

the problem was there wasn't a title with both these characters and who ever they chose to be on there team. They should have got married added some X-men and Avengers than had a book. Instead they just floated from tittle to title with writers not knowing what they could do with one character but not both. yeah it's a fail.

Edited by Rabbitearsblog

Even though I wasn't a huge fan of this marriage, I definitely agree with you about how terrible their marriage just ended. It seems like lately Marvel is shooting down any kind of past relationships and not taking the time to develop these relationships (Rogue and Gambit and Kitty and Colossus' relationships come to mind big time). It's a shame that writers cannot find interesting ways to make the characters stay together through tough times and they just believe that breaking up marriages and relationships are the only ways to make a story interesting (which it does not, it just frustrates people more).

Posted by x_29

Black panther is a dick.

Posted by firecracker22

I dunno. Sounds like either there's going to be a twist to what went down, or somebody screwed up.

Having a scene in a comic prior where he saw that vision is what makes the entire thing sound weird.

Edited by The Stegman

The marriage was destined to fail from the beginning, seemed kind of loveless if you ask me, it's like the folks at Marvel said, "Oh, they're both African, so of course they should be together!''

Online
Posted by Teerack

Yeah I think so. Black Panther keeps it real.

Edited by Inverno

I have no expectations in Marvel marriages. I am surprised this one lasted longer than I expected.

@ARMIV2 said:

And another marriage in comics is shot down.

Anybody in comics still married?

Sue Storm and Mr. Fantastic are still married I suppose.

Posted by RajaMan

Have to agree with Apathetic Avenger. The original marriage plot was rushed into, with an retconned back story little contact between the characters at all before their marriage. Priest did some stuff with them in BP, but that was ignored/dropped to return her to the X-Men. After the marriage they were in F.F., but then went their separate ways. I thought they would get to gether when she joined the Avengers, but that was dropped too.

Posted by ARMIV2

@papad1992 said:

@ARMIV2 said:

And another marriage in comics is shot down.

Anybody in comics still married?

Northstar and Kyle...

Hopefully this one can last. It'd be nice to see one marriage stick it through.

Posted by afterwatchmen

T'Challa isnt being arrogant to Storm..

His home his kingdom has been destroyed! He's pissed and taking his anger out on Storm seen as she has been siding with the x-men. I found his anger and blame very real! In a relationship you always tend to blame the one closest to you aka wife or girlfriend.

Posted by BlueLantern1995

Marvel ends all the good marriages and leave all the bad ones...go figure.

Edited by windcaster

These two are probably my top two favorite characters so it did hurt to see them end it so abruptly. I think about what the Professor said on the day of their wedding and potential it had for human and mutant relations. For Marvel to end it now of all times is just disappointing. 
At the same time if the people at Marvel can not or will figure out a way to handle the characters then it needed to happen. 

Posted by RedOwl_1

I think T'Challa was being very immature at doing so............. but man I don't care..............................that much, there's some stuff in comic I really care about, but not this :P

Edited by White Mage

@afterwatchmen said:

T'Challa isnt being arrogant to Storm..

His home his kingdom has been destroyed! He's pissed and taking his anger out on Storm seen as she has been siding with the x-men. I found his anger and blame very real! In a relationship you always tend to blame the one closest to you aka wife or girlfriend.

He was arrogant when he ran away to hell's kitchen, he was arrogant AFTER she saved him in hell's kitchen, he was arrogant when she knocked Doom down for him, and he was most definitely arrogant the moment he stepped foot on utopia looking for Hope.

He already took things out on her by not speaking to her. The annulment was a pure b*tch move.

Posted by Crimsonlord53

When continuity dose not matter anymore you get bull.... like this and event's like AvX.

Thanks Tom Brevoort.

Posted by afterwatchmen

@White Mage: I agree he was arrogant then but I was talking about what happened on Wakanda..

Look at it from his point of view his whole home has been destroyed and he possibly could have stopped it.

Storm allied with the x-men and in his mind he is thinking that his wife should have sided with him and he is blaming her for what happened.

Yes its not her fault but still he is blaming her, I thought it was very clever the way it was done and if it is continued to be done right they can bring this back up again hopfully to get them back together.

Again I am not saying I agree whith BP I am just saying you cant fault him hes pissed.

Posted by Mega_spidey01

atleast, luke cage and jessica jones marriage are still going strong. i guess black panther and storm didn't have much to make it work.

Posted by AlKusanagi

Where's Mephisto when you need him? No one's ever going to buy divorced superheroes. They're so oooooold!!!

Posted by Mutant God

I like them as a couple I thought they had alot in common

Posted by hyenascar

NA na na na,

Na na na na,

Na na na na,

hey, hey, hey, goodbye.

Won't miss the marriage

Posted by wdchefdave

Why do superheroes even want to be married?

It's a very dangerous lifestyle... and you can bet your butt that the writers will make it a living hell... just before the divorce.

Or, you can kill the marriage in just a couple of panels... and make one of the greatest heroes in comics... look like a heartless prick.

Go! Go! Writers!

This is exactly what I want to read instead of watching a soap-opera on TV!

Posted by White Mage

@afterwatchmen said:

@White Mage: I agree he was arrogant then but I was talking about what happened on Wakanda..

Look at it from his point of view his whole home has been destroyed and he possibly could have stopped it.

Storm allied with the x-men and in his mind he is thinking that his wife should have sided with him and he is blaming her for what happened.

Yes its not her fault but still he is blaming her, I thought it was very clever the way it was done and if it is continued to be done right they can bring this back up again hopfully to get them back together.

Again I am not saying I agree whith BP I am just saying you cant fault him hes pissed.

See..............I hear what you're saying..........and I get it..............but I'm so tired of BP always being THAT GUY in this relationship....All of the instances I mentioned, and the Wakandan incident.......I feel bad for him in everything BUT this relationship

Posted by venomoushatred1001

Yes.

/Thread.

Posted by Barubal10

To me their marriage never made sense and always felt forced. Annulment is different from divorce btw.

Posted by DocFatalis

I am biased because I think Storm is an atrociously boring character while the Black Panther is fascinating in many ways (the series drawn by Jack Kirby was one of my favourite readings when I was a child, especially the part with the Solomon tomb) but I think this marriage never should have happened. The whole thing seemed to be dictated by the idea that black people marry black people. Aside from that, the two have practically nothing substantial in common and the combination of the two never proved proficient.

Wakanda deserves a full time king and a better queen, someone with an intelligence and strategic skills sharp enough to help BP make his country weigh on the international scene more than Latveria for example.

I do believe that marrying BP to a shield top ranking executive would be way more interesting for the marvel universe.

Posted by _Sojourn_

I remember when they first got married. I haven't met anyone that thought it was a good idea in the first place. It was a rushed attempt to pull in black readers, and it was even more of a disaster the way their marriage was portrayed, and ended. Both of these characters have been treated with such little respect for so long, I want shocked when it was announced they would be fighting each other, and I wasn't shocked that Storm lost to Black Panther. I wasn't socked, although happy, when they were annulled. Now maybe Storm will get some respect, and BP can come out of the closet.

Posted by White Mage

@DocFatalis said:

I am biased because I think Storm is an atrociously boring character while the Black Panther is fascinating in many ways (the series drawn by Jack Kirby was one of my favourite readings when I was a child, especially the part with the Solomon tomb) but I think this marriage never should have happened. The whole thing seemed to be dictated by the idea that black people marry black people. Aside from that, the two have practically nothing substantial in common and the combination of the two never proved proficient.

Wakanda deserves a full time king and a better queen, someone with an intelligence and strategic skills sharp enough to help BP make his country weigh on the international scene more than Latveria for example.

I do believe that marrying BP to a shield top ranking executive would be way more interesting for the marvel universe.

If one more person says this, I might pop a d*mn blood vessel

Posted by jcbart

At a time now where Avengers and X-Men will be united, it makes even less sense to break the two up so suddenly. Put them on a team together! Put T'Challa on X-Men with Storm by Brian Wood. He knows how to write relationship dynamics very well!

Posted by Phaedrusgr

@The Sadhu: Most unfortunately, words of wisdom are coming out of your mouth...People tend to believe marriage/long term relationship is the end, while it's only the beginning of an interesting journey towards completion. Don't have anything against those that prefer a loner's life, but come on, Marvel/DC!!! Give them a chance.

Posted by Mega_spidey01

black panther and storm need to be fully realized characters until that time comes they will be right where they and of little importance in the marvel universe.

Posted by DMC

@Babs: Wow, thanks for the background info, though it makes this divorce even more bizarre. Maybe Jason Aaron should have given Hickman a buzz.

Posted by Ironman4891

Could Marvel be annulling the Marriage now using a Divorce, so it leaves them some wiggle room with BP's background when it comes to a movie adaptation?

Posted by cadaver

Storm's story should not have been retcon'ed for the marriage to exist in the first place. Black Panther is a tool. So was Forge before the retcon, and after come to think of it. Maybe they just wrote her to have bad taste in men.

Posted by jhazzroucher

@Necrotic_Lycanthrope said:

What's wrong with this marriage? Well, the writers in charge of it of course.

so true.

Posted by krspaceT

While you could argue Storm's reaction as outright shock, BP has taken a loss of at least my fanness. He better be the guy who dies....but here's a question. What happens if Storm is pregnant? It could explain her emotional offness

Posted by Blood1991

Great Article!

Ok I had alot of issues with the marriage in the first place, because it was forced and basically a publicity stunt, but I gave it a go and when done right they go together very well. Unfortunetly only one writer was ever able to make them work "R.I.P Mcduffie". They had potential, but the creative teams at Marvel were unable to harvest it.