A preview of Black Panther #4 shows that Storm and Black Panther may not be good for each other anymore, despite being an iconic couple.
Warning: Black Panther #4 preview pages are early!
There was a time when Storm and Black Panther were one of Marvel’s most prominent couples. In the years since then, multiple crossover events and individual changes to the two characters have kept them apart. And while the idea of them reuniting as husband and wife might have been on readers’ minds, this preview of Black Panther #4 seems to confirm that the more distance between them, the better.
T’Challa has been all over the place lately. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ run ended with his statement Galactic Emperor of Wakanda after a sect of his people colonizes a star system. In his absence, his homeland has overhauled its government structure and is currently shunning the traditional monarchy for a democratic process. Anticipating that Wakanda’s enemies might seek to take advantage of this political paradigm shift, T’Challa faked the deaths of several Wakandans and planted them as sleeper agents across the world – and off, as is the case with the gentle mutant who is embedded on Arakko. And while he and T’Challa put on a show, this preview indicates that Storm wasn’t fooled at all.
It’s already risky to keep secrets one of the most powerful mutants exists, but Ororo no longer speaks just for herself. She now serves the largest mutant population as regent of Arakko, which means T’Challa coming to her planet for a reunion is a bit more important than an ex crashing on the couch. They are two heads of state, each with enormous responsibilities. If Wakanda’s interests conflict with those of Arakko, Krakoa, or any mutant sect, it could lead to a conflict between the two heroes. And then, it wouldn’t be the first time.
When a Namor possessed by the Phoenix Force triggered a tsunami on Wakanda, T’Challa expected his wife’s support regardless of Storm’s loyalty to his people. Hurt by the corner the conflict was causing but unable to vocalize it, T’Challa called off their marriage and chased Ororo away, and their relationship was just beginning to recover from this strain. Not to mention that Black Panther is always an Avenger, even if only part-time. Now he risks losing all the ground they regained due to his growing mistrust and paranoia.
What might be the most tragic aspect of this interaction is that when T’Challa lands on Mars, Ororo – along with his former lover Gambit by his side– wraps her former husband in a deep embrace and calls him “My love”. It’s not pleasant to think about, but one wonders if T’Challa is relying on her affection for him to cloud his judgment and proceed with his subterfuge undetected. Of course, the niceties could also be a ploy on Storm’s part, letting T’Challa’s guard down and playing on his pride so he doesn’t suspect that she suspect anything. But it’s precisely these kinds of Machiavellian mind games that Marvel could use to prove why, despite their individual iconography and compatibility on paper, Storm and Black Panther maybe it’s best to let love separate them. Black Panther #4 releases March 2, 2022.
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