Storm Arcana

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Storm Sunday: DOOMWAR (Spoilers)

DOOMWAR #1 Cover
The first issue of  DoomWar, a new 6 issue Marvel Comics limited series, debuted February 17, 2010.  It has quite the ensemble cast, featuring Black Panther (Shuri), T’Challa (the former Black Panther), the entire supporting cast of the Black Panther title, some of the Fantastic Four, a few X-Men and even (gag) Deadpool as they all team up to fight the tyrannical monarch Doctor Doom.  The mini-series is written by Jonathan Maberry and drawn by Scot Eaton and takes the place of the Black Panther title which is on hiatus for the interim of DoomWar.

Jonathan Maberry spoke with Marvel.com about his plans for the title and one paragraph in particular made me very excited:

Storm hasn’t been as heavily-used for reasons that will be explained in DOOMWAR. There are good reasons why we haven’t used Storm and there are good reasons why T’Challa hasn’t communicated with Storm and good reasons why Storm has been easily manipulated. Once we find out what they are and she gets free of the limitations, she’s going to kick some serious ass. Talk about payback being a bitch. I can’t wait to see what the artist is going to do with the pages that I’m scripting when Storm cuts loose. It’s going to be ugly and beautiful.”

Now that I have read DoomWar #1, I can attest that the ugly is already quite obvious within the story thus far.  I don’t want “good reasons” for why Storm isn’t a major player.  I want her to be a major player.  Storm is depicted in the entire issue as the typical “damsel in distress” (and that’s couching it lightly).  All of those “good reasons” that Maberry says are forthcoming had better be amazing, because so far DoomWar has left me cold due to its weak portrayal of Ororo Munroe.

DOOMWAR #1 Page 3
Black Panther has left Storm to face the new government alone.  Their kangaroo court quickly resorts to torture.  This is the first of two times that Ororo has to resort to cursing her enemies rather than show any personal power.  As far as curses go, “Be damned” is an awkward and unseemly phrase for Storm.  She’s better than that, in my opinion.  At least the artist draw her with her head held high.

DOOMWAR #1 Page 4

The next page shows Storm still bristling with indignation as the “court” proceeds to sentence her to death.  While they continue to call her a witch (which seems rather ignorant to me since they know she is a mutant), Storm stands by her man.  I’d like to think that she’s plotting her escape instead of waiting around for T’Challa like her dialogue suggests.  And does T’Challa = Wakanda as Storm seems to think?  Isn’t the idea of Wakanda bigger than that?  However, if we accept this logic and remind ourselves that T’Challa is no longer Black Panther, wouldn’t Shuri = Wakanda instead?

"I chose my country."

T’Challa visits the X-Men and asks for help.  When I read this, I kept wondering why no one invited Namor (Who is an X-Man now) to the discussion as he and T’Challa had come to an understanding during Hudlin’s Black Panther #21.  I feel like he would be an obvious choice for assistance.  Perhaps he’s too busy rebuilding New Atlantis beneath the X-Men’s floating island.  Anyway, T’Challa breaks down his decision for the X-Men.  He says he had to choose between Storm and Wakanda and he chose Wakanda.  I want to believe there’s something else he’s not telling the X-Men.  We shall see.

"Living Cameras"

T’Challa then tells the X-Men about those insidious horrors of technology–nanites!  Seriously?  It’s 2010 and we’re still using nanites as a plot device?  So, not only has Storm been a figure head with no power, she’s also been a spy without her knowledge.  She hasn’t been an asset to Wakanda, she’s been a detriment.  She’s been a “living camera” ever since Doom spiked her food with tech.  She might as well be a doll for all the involvement she has in this story.

DOOMWAR #1 Page23
So, Storm escapes her cell only to be confronted by Doom.  He reveals that he has chosen her to pick the final lock of the Wakanda vaults.  To make her do it, he shoots a Wakandan prisoner.  Okay, I might not be the biggest Doom fan, but this characterization doesn’t wash for me.   I remember Victor having a code of honor that wouldn’t automatically resort to killing as an “incentive.”  I understand Doom to be someone who doesn’t kill his foes because he wants to best them (Whether in sorcery, technology, or overall intelligence).  Killing a random warrior to prove a point seems beneath him somehow.  Storm does what he tells her but she threatens to kill him which at this point is just an empty threat.  It would’ve been better if she hadn’t said anything to him in that moment.  I don’t like Storm sputtering words without the power to back them up.
DOOMWAR #1 Page 27
Storm curses Doom a second time (More empty threats) while Doom continues his “incentive program” and murders T’Challa’s uncle .  This was too much for me.  Why would Doom kill someone so close to T’Challa when he supposedly has everything going for him.  He’s in control, right?  Why kill a hostage when he’s so close to victory?  And what if things go awry?  Won’t it make T’Challa even more his enemy?  Although ruthless, I always thought Doctor Doom had panache.  In this instance, he’s nothing more than a bank robber thug.
DOOMWAR #1 Page 28

Storm collapses in the corner while T’Challa’s mother holds her brother (?) in her arms.  Then Doom pulls Storm by her hair (!) and tells her to “get back to work.”  Sigh.  I don’t see how Storm’s portrayal could get any worse.  She’s been abandoned by her husband, arrested, tried by a false jury, sentenced for death, imprisoned and now knocked around as a hostage while her kidnapper kills people around her.  How heavy handed does this story need to be?  It’s all too much for me.  What emotion is the art in that last panel supposed to convey exactly?  It looks like she’s angry and confused.  Or maybe she’s meant to be determined.  I can’t tell.  I don’t mean to place blame on the artist.  I think the art is well done.  It’s simply that after all of the hell that Storm endures in this comic, this is the last panel in which Storm appears and I am not sure how to feel about her duress.  Looking at this panel, I’m not certain how she feels either.  One more quibble:  Storm’s eyes are white during the entire time of this story.  It’s a fact that her eyes turn from blue to completely white when she accesses her powers.  If she has them, why isn’t she using them?  It’s probably just an artist mistake, but I find it problematic.

You know  those “good reasons” Maberry spoke of  in that interview with Marvel.com?  They can’t come soon enough for me.

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5 Comments

  1. Ingonyama

    I’m so disappointed.

    I was so thrilled when Worlds Apart came along, and Storm was unutterably strong and self-assured in that book, beating her lover and the entire team, and balancing it with the compassion she showed for them all…hurting them to save them. It broke my heart with joy to see the Ororo I knew and loved return in full form and force.

    Now my heart’s broken again…but in shame. Because I actually had faith in Marvel again, and as has been going on since 2001, my faith has been thrown to the ground and stomped on.

    You are absolutely right about Doom. I don’t know who this is, but I miss the charismatic, smooth operator I met during the Rogue Storm saga, and again in X-Men vs. Fantastic Four. In those stories, he was still psychotic at times, but he was smart and prudent, often with grander schemes and ambitions than what we see here. He was never a thug or a “do what I say or I slaughter your family” bully…he only resorted to violence when provoked, or when the name “Reed Richards” was invoked. Since I don’t see the FF anywhere in the actual story,

    Even if Ororo’s powers are cut off, which could explain her eyes glowing as a effect of trying to access them despite the block, she’s a combatant without peer, as shown both in Worlds Apart and Warren Ellis’ work on Astonishing X-Men. I can’t believe she wouldn’t at least try to fight back against this kind of tyranny and bullying.

    • Worlds Apart was AMAZING! The characterization Storm received in that story was long overdue! However, DoomWar just did a great disservice to it. It is a sad time to be a Storm fan for sure.

  2. Ingonyama

    Sorry, posted when the reply was half-finished.

    What I meant to say re: Reed was: “Since I don’t see the FF anywhere in the actual story, there’s no real justification for Doom to be this tyrannical.”

  3. Storm has been in a tight spot ever since she became Queen of Wakanda. Just a few months ago her well-meaning actions resulted in someone’s death, so I can understand why she is acting the way that she has throughout the torture, trial and manhandling by Doom. She’s not being weak at all, she’s being tough. If she has struck out at any point during the trial or torture sequence it would have proven her accusers right and not served her at all. If she had struck back at Doom, there’s a very good chance he would have killed anyone or everyone in the room. Again, she is in a very tight spot.

    As far as “Killing a random warrior to prove a point seems beneath him somehow. “Actually, the warrior is beneath Doom, everyone is beneath Doom. If he shows any respect to anyone it is because he views them as an equal. That person he shot was nothing more than an insect in his eyes, I’m sure.

    Namor actually clashed with Shuri right before Doomwar started, so there is no real chance of him helping T’Challa or his sister, understanding or no.

    It’s also interesting that the Black Panther series has been canceled. I wonder where Doomwar will leave Shuri and T’Challa. After the second issue, it’s clear that Doom has a much darker and more sinisterly inventive plan that being a thug. I wonder if your opinion has changed on this series after reading it. I have no idea what will happen next and personally I find it to be very intense and exciting.

  4. Marvel, in the premise of sttempting to shake the status quo, seeemed to use an idea that would have thoroughly explained how the 2099 Black Panther became Doom’s stooge. Doomwar is a great idea, but would have worked better with that concept vs this one. However, it seems to work judjing by the responses. T’Challa or Storm seem to have been punked out by Doom. Look forward to T’Challa and Storm (and company’s) response to this. Doom may be smart, but T’Challa is too. Please make it a good and memorable one. Make sure it also bites Norman Osborn in his Goblin ass.

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