Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Black Panther #19

I sat down and read Black Panther #19. It was the most enjoyable reading experience of my lifetime. The main event was a confrontation between the Royal Couple and Dr. Doom, which included an iffy sequence where T'Challa ordered Storm to stand down and let him fight it while she was kicking Doom's butt for him. But that wasn't what I loved about this issue. What I loved was the aftermath of the battle -- Ororo and T'Challa's first fight as a married couple.

It was cute that they both started saying the same thing. T'Challa's rant about personal honor and his image as King made sense, I suppose, but I really couldn't get behind him there. Sure, he has to be commanding and strong as leader, but isn't she Queen? Shouldn't she be commanding and strong as well? And how was she second-guessing him by helping him out?

Ororo's reaction totally made up for it, the look on his face when she interrupted him was priceless. As was the line "I thought you wanted a Queen, not a mindless concubine" and the other line about how if he wanted "window dressing that could kick ass on command" (a bit more Americanized than Storm usually speaks, but hey, she's been in the country a while) he could have his bodyguards for henchmen -- but she was his partner. What others may find corny, but I especially liked, was the speech about marriage meaning that their lives were together, and that T'Challa's difficulties weren't just his own. His enemies were hers also, because they'd agreed to share their lives together. She wasn't there to take orders or to give them, but to make decisions with him, as wives and husbands are supposed to. She was never again going to stand by when she felt he needed help, no matter what his foolish pride had him saying, because no good wife would let her husband go into danger unaided like that.

I thought I loved Storm before this issue, but I had no idea I would be so overjoyed when she gave him the ultimatim. "Marriage for me is an equal partnership, T'Challa. If you don't want to be together on those terms, then we can not be together." That was.. That was beautiful.

The moment of silence, three panels of them sitting together, was perfectly timed. Then T'Challa answered, in a beautiful way.

"It's going to take some time, beloved, for me to get used to this idea, but I'll try." I particularly liked the panel angle on his face at this point.

"Don't worry," Ororo's smile was subtle but noticeable as she said this, "I'll be here to help you."

The art was wonderful, the writing was wonderful. I found myself taking back all the things I said about this pairing before. It could work out. It could be done with respect. So long as they kept to this promise of portraying an equal partnership in this book, they would have a fan in me! It was the best thing I had ever read...

...and then I woke up.

For what actually happened in Black Panther #19, see Loren and the Fortress Keeper.

I'm going to go hit something.

37 comments:

  1. There's an X-Files episode that's all in B&W (Post-Modern Prometheus, if you're an X-Phile and know titles) and supposed to be a stand-alone comic book episode (I think. I never paid much attention to what TPTB said about continuity on that show, because it was for s#!t anyway). At the end of the episode, Mulder doesn't like how things are wrapping up and calls out "I wanna speak to the writer."

    That little voice you hear? That's Storm begging Marvel to let you take over. Because you had me convinced I really ought to be reading... until you woke up:-)

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  2. Is it me or does Dan DiDio's IQ actually INCREASE with each time I reread those Storm/Panther panels? (For breaking up Nightwing and Oracle.)

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  3. Ragnell, another keeper post. You are my hero.

    Walaka
    who can't post cuz he's beta

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  4. You had me going there for a second, and I actually read the issue!

    Much like my initial positive review, I guess a bit of wishful thinking overcame the horrible truth of Black Panther #19.

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  5. At first I was really excited.


    And now I'm so sad.

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  6. And I was doing so well at avoiding the HATE.

    (grits teeth)
    --
    The prophet king

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  7. You also had me going there. ARGH! And I was starting to feel respect for the writers! Nope, quashed.

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  8. I knew it! I knew it!
    *beats head against the wall to induce coma until all this wedding rubbish is over*

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  9. Oh Ragnell, why do you punish yourself by reading Hudlin's Black Panther?

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  10. Oh, my god! When I first started reading your entry, I thought all pandemonium had broken loose...you know, four horsemen of the apocalypse and dogs and cats living together. I thought, could I have been grossly wrong to say Ragnell was right again?!?!? Then, I woke up. :)

    Thanks for the link and that issue just totally pissed me off, too. You know, there was a part of me that thought you could be right about Storm becoming subordinate to Black Panther...but, I honestly thought it would happen later. Little did I know it only took ONE frickin' issue to erase her entire history of strength and power.

    I will never doubt you again, oh wise one!

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  11. You're a mean old lady; why did you give us hope only to squash it later with reality?

    I weep :(

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  12. I just so totally emailed Storm and told her I want the toaster I gave them as a wedding gift back.

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  13. Ugh, I'm going back to sleep. Wake me up when she starts shanking people in the heart again...

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  14. You know, the Black Panther I know, if he was in a fight with Dr. Doom and was married to a woman who can create hurricanes at will...

    ...would consider her a WELCOME ADDITION to the fight.

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  15. I haven't read Panther since Priest's run, but Dan's Panther sounds a lot like the one I remember, who would use every tactical advantage at his disposal.

    It sounds like Hudlin has been writing them both out of character.

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  16. Yeah, that was a pretty goofy for Black Panther to be all "get behind me woman!" while he was fighting Doom. Also - Namor now can control fish like Aquaman, apparently.

    I was enjoying this book up until this issue. I'm probably going to drop it.

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  17. I'm told in this issue, Black Panther defeats Doctor Doom by making a better suit of armor.

    He's such a Mary Sue!

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  18. Oh Ragnell, you sly minx! I read your review, and was mentally hitting myself with a teaspoon until I reached the last paragraph and realized that I wasn't in Bizarro world. Yeah, this issue blows chunks.

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  19. That is a complete and utter travesty. What a disgrace to Ororo.

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  20. Just from the other reviews I'd read on this ish, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop...still, nice misdirection there.

    I was kinda hoping Black Panther (who for some reason, is like Marvel Batman now, and not in a good way) was going to take the Mr. Miracle/Big Barda route: Scott knows his wife can bust it up, and can take care of herself, and is probably much better off in a fight than he is. And he's 100% cool with that. It doesn't lessen his contribution or skills or 'manhood' the least little bit. Scott and Barda are a team, and they compliment each other.

    (Of course, Panther and Storm lately are so "mary-sue'd" that anything one of them can do, the other would have to do better. How many issues until Panther invents his own weather-controller?)

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  21. "It sounds like Hudlin has been writing them both out of character."

    ...and he's been doing it for 19 isssues now. It seems destroying everything that I loved about one of my favorite characters wasn't enough... It's like a train wreck, no matter how bad it gets, I keep reading it.

    BTW, has Dr. Doom always been a racist? Evil, Scheming, and Arrogant? Sure? But racial epithets? Did I miss something?

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  22. It's like a train wreck, no matter how bad it gets, I keep reading it.

    Well, there's your problem, then.

    (I've got the same problem with Flash right now; I'm giving it 3 more issues and then reassessing after the conclusion of this story. It's a tough decision, since I've been reading Flash comics since 1977, but it's very important to drop what we don't enjoy.)

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  23. Googum.. you're kidding right? Wakanda ALLREADY has it's own weather-control system. I'll have to do some digging, but oddly enough it was eluded to a couple of times when writers were mentioning how advanced Wakanda is.

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  24. Hudlin's won the trifecta as he got Doom out of character, too. Doom and Black Panther first met way back in Astonishing Tales #7 (written by Gerry Conway). While Doom managed to thoroughly thrash T'chala he alway showed him the respect due a fellow monarch. At the end, Doom lets T'chala win out of respect for T'chala's nobility and the greater benefit of keeping him a potential ally. Of course, that's all with the Marvel universe Black Panther and not whatever version Hudlin's writing.

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  25. And there was no chance I was going to be the dissenting voice commenting on this post.

    Tragic Fanboy: Doom is a racist... against the entire human race... except himself because he thinks he's better than human... and Reed Richards who Doom probably thinks is less than human.

    I've decided to retcon Hudlin's out of character Doom as a Doombot which means that I can pretend Ororo has also been replaced by a Doom-built Stormbot and possibly that T'Challa has been replaced by an MartyStubot.

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  26. I read the damn issue myself this past weekend. And it was exactly as stated on the blogs and scans. And I couldn't believe it.

    My roommate wanted to know why I was shaking in anger and I couldn't explain it.

    And then as I read your dream, I thought, huh, maybe it'd all been some weird freaky stress related dream. And then I thought I got the issue numbers wrong, and that after the laughter over 'kissing Doom', that conversation happened and T'Challa realized he'd been a jerk.

    Maybe Marvel hopes to inspire us to pool resources together; all the artists and writers we know and start our own comics. Cause damn. Just plain old damn.

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  27. spiralsheep: Hey, it worked for John Byrne!

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  28. While Doom managed to thoroughly thrash T'chala he alway showed him the respect due a fellow monarch.

    Except for the bit where he characterizes T'challa and his people, black africans, as "savages" and "vicous primitives." Granted, he refers to T'challa as a savage with nobility, but you find me one black man who doesn't object to being called a savage or a primitive and I'll show you a black man who has no sense of history.

    I can provide a scan of the page in question if you want. But, the backstory is there for Doom to say what he said.

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  29. You know, on newsarama.com, Doom's portryal as a racist was the worst moments of that week. In other words, more people were annoyed by a small few lines (that could be easily retconned) of Dr. Doom than the larger problem of Storms character.

    Of course, it could be because Doom is greater than all the X-Men and Avengers put together...but then I like Doom. He should sue for libel.

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  30. Why sue when you can crush the company beneath your feet once you conquer the world?

    "How DARE you call DOOM racist! Some of DOOM'S best friends-- Oh wait, DOOM has no friends. Carry on, minion."

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  31. To be fair, Doom calls everybody savages and primitives. Except himself.

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  32. Calling a black or native american person a savage and primitive has a very, very different subtext than calling someone else a savage or primitive. It's been used for ages to devalue the entire race in the name of making another race look good.

    In fact, it isn't even subtext.

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  33. You had me going, Ragnell, and I had read the issue. I kept thinking - "when did all that happen? Wasn't there something about kissing Dr. Doom?"

    1) I'm not sure it's reasonable to expect BP and Storm to be the model of gender relations. Panther's attitude is actually fairly plausible -- he's from a country where he has to fight for his right to be King, and if Ororo has to fight his battles for him, then *she* gets to be the Black Panther. I can't comment on Storm's attitude, because I've never understood her character. If I recall correctly, she's an insecure street tough, a benevolent nature goddess, claustrophobic, and mean when mad. I honestly have no idea how she would react if Panther wanted to fight Doom by himself.

    2) On the other hand, this certainly isn't "Superman married to Wonder Woman," contrary to Hudlin's suggestions. If Wonder Woman was nearby when Supes and Luthor were fighting and wanted a piece (a) Superman wouldn't complain; and (b) Wonder Woman wouldn't care if he did.

    3) As long as we're complaining about BP #19, WHY ON EARTH DID THEY EVEN GO TO LATVERIA? I mean, Dr. Doom gave them a present and offered to ally with them, and then BP picked a fight. Not only is that not particularly statesmanlike, Doom was acting as good as they possibly could have hoped. If Panther was going to end up insulting Doom no matter what, it would have made more sense just to fly straight on to see Black Bolt.

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  34. Jon -- My main problem is basically #1. Storm does not act this way. She's not coy or cute.

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  35. i love this post. i've read it four times.

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  36. Doom does have friends! He just won't admit to having them, cause he's an egomaniac.

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  37. you just made me cry with this post. Why aren't YOU writing that book? damn. DAMN.

    damn.

    angry black woman

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