Man, the heat must make me mean or something.
As customers came up to the counter with their weekly pull or selections this Wednesday, I always like to throw in a little something just in case they'd forgotten something. “Hey, Civil War #3 came out” or “Oh, don't forget that the Justice issue out there with the new cover is just a reprint”. You know, helpful hints and tricks.
This week, looking through the Marvelite stacks, I'd off handedly say, “Oh, no Black Panther? No Wedding of the Century?” NO one went back for it. Most shrugged or gave me that 'meh' face or explained that the direction of the character wasn't doing it for them. I don't think we ordered that many either (mind you, Diamond skipped an ENTIRE box including some of our big titles and we were only able to cover so many of the pulls and have a HUGE shortage list including those godforsaken Halo graphic novels people have been chaining themselves to the store for, but this is a rant for another time....), but I don't think I sold all that many.
Reading it on my lunch break explained everything. What a miserable book.
Already, right on the cover, I spent a good amount of time trying to figure out who was that woman in green behind them sort of... off center. Tacked in. My guess? Photon. But really, who's looking at her when Storm's enormous breasteses are front and center? I know she has a history of 'warm weather, less clothing' but on that cover it looks, as one person next to me at lunch, 'hooker-y'. Yes, I know, soap opera clothing designer or something-something, great. Whatever. Just give the woman a break. And a neckline. Look how adoringly she looks to her man! This is the woman who led the Morlocks through right of combat. This is the second best leader of the X-Men to ever take up the mantle. I'd like to see her shoulders a little more squared, presenting a united front with her new king, a ruling body. Or maybe even turn T'Challa's head towards her? I wonder if this issue was late or ill-timed because the catastrophic event of CIVIL WAR seems a little less threatening when people are dropping mid-fisticuffs to go to a wedding. Wedding of the Century, I know, it's important but... isn't Civil War supposed to be a little more so? T'Challa never liked the Illuminati and the fact that Iron Man has gone 'round the bend on the whole thing might have let him think twice on having a huge gala affair. Why not just limit it to the country, her citizens, family and then, when we're not at WAR, have your caped friends show up?
And this is just the cover.
First page's 'Previously' can be summed up thusly: Wakanda is pretty tough. Black Panther is their king. He's taking a queen, whom 'he shares much love and history'. First page has more black people on it than I have seen in a long time. And apparently Black Panther's wedding is being covered by BET and two really vapid people. I would have much preferred some, oh CNN anchors to give it some gravity and the fact that a lot of people in attendance are huge players in America's All New All Different Civil War. Maybe even a shot from SHIELD saying 'Hey, lets not keep this SRA thing up at Wakanda, because according to the Previously, they could kick our ass.' Putting the pop culture aspect first seems to me at least, a little cheaper than it should be. This is two royalty (as Storm is a princess, I'm guessing by the proposal giving her the status since she's not affiliated with any country...), not Brad and Jen.
“It's not just about the money, they're superheroes!,” gushes one BET newscaster. Really now? It's not building a foundation for a very powerful country and uniting some of the world's most disaffected and very dangerous people by watching one of their own be accepted by a very powerful person? This is huge, in a way, like they've been saying. It'd be like the German Chancellor marrying a very powerful and prominent woman, both adding to the country's leadership and making a gay rights statement. Then again, this isn't about the money.
It's a about the superheroes! And boy, there they all are. There's Cyclops, being a dork and wondering how this is going to change her position in the X-Men, even though she really hasn't had one since Claremont put her in X-Treme X-Men. Emma Frost shuts him up and people kibitz and make a show of putting aside their Civil War difficulties. Isaiah Bradley shows up, making me want to read more of the Truth series as Luke Cage explains that Mr. Bradley is the 'first me', I guess meaning black superhero.
Elsewhere, for her first in book appearance, Storm's first words are 'Whatever makes you happy, dear.' as they talk about what the wedding will entail. That's my strong African goddess. Apparently, the ceremony doesn't matter, it's the very scary Panther God that gets to decide if all this hullabaloo is going to mean anything. It may deny Ororo the privileged of wedding T'Challa, it may eat her, all sorts of terrible things. In a genius move, Storm notes that, should the Panther God not like her, Black Panther better drop his crown and marry her. T'Challa? Love of her life? Childhood sweetheart? The man she shares much love and history with? He changes the subject. Storm notes he didn't answer. He never does. I'm not sure if that's supposed to be funny or not.
Charles Xavier makes a cameo, looking incredibly Captain Picardish and is glad to say he's very proud of Ororo for being a living human/mutant relations symbol. That's what I'm taking about. Black Panther goes to meet with Iron Man and Captain America, as apparently the two didn't realize the other had also been invited. AWKWARD! As they both get their both 'Oooh, you!' stances down, Black Panther jumps between them and tries to get them to put their differences aside like everyone else in attendance. But Iron Man just can't stop being an ass, so Captain America walks. Black Panther gets the interesting line of 'This cancer that is eating away at the soul of your country, it has no home here.' Then Iron Man leaves. Not exactly a cease fire in my book.
A Watcher shows up, again, and someone points it out through a guide book. I kind of like that.
More guests arrive, including President Bush, Nelson Mandela and ... Oprah. BET declared her the most popular person in the world. There a scene with Ororo's side of the family I had trouble with, mostly because the little orphan thief girl having family is new as of Uncanny X-Men Annual 1. Not that it's not possible for her to have them I just feel I'm supposed to know them better. A chance to echo Kanye West's quote regarding President Bush is not missed. T'Challa has a last minute pep talk and the phrase he uses before walking down the aisle is 'Let's do this.'
Instead of going to dismantle a bomb or meet a challenging foe or even break out into heavy techno music, he pops out of a giant panther statue's mouth and flips his way to the alter. Not only do I give him a 7.4 (his dismount was a little weak), but hey could have found a less cheesy way for him to do all that. Storm flies in, ever graceful, and loses her top. Let the ceremony begin! Words words words, sent to the Spirit Plane to go talk to the Panther God. The big mean dangerous demi-god mentioned before gives her a big lick as a stamp of approval. Did the Panther God actually say he approved of Storm? He could have been tasting her.
They all take it as a good sign and the celebration begins. Later that night, surrounded by rather pedestrian wedding gifts like crystal flutes from Emma and Scott and what looks like a picture of the X-Men. They get a holographic card from Doctor Doom, then take the night off. Oh, and there's supposed to be some sort of threat by the psychic parasite Cannibal. Wasn't sure where that was going, Dr. Strange and Brother Voodoo got a couple panels to feel it out. I think it was resolved. Oh! And the Iron Spider suit lowers Peter Parker's IQ because if there is on thing I know is that if a very large man in a giant ape suit is very drunk on scotch, picking on his Man-Ape name is probably going to result in someone getting punched.
All in all, certainly not the Wedding of the Century and plenty of missed opportunities.