One of Marvel's most powerful romances is back, with Black Panther and Storm confirming their love once again. Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has been building towards this romantic reunion for some time, and in the new Black Panther #172, the two finally acknowledge what fans have claimed for years: that they are as true a love as Marvel has to offer.
As comic fans also know, Marvel made comic book history when their two most prominent African characters, Black Panther and Storm were married in 2006. As has been the case with similar comic events, it was largely targeted at the heroes' broader female and African American audiences (and was criticized as heavy handed at the time). Just six years later, Marvel had Black Panther annul the marriage in the wake of the Avengers Vs. X-Men miniseries that pitted the two heroes against eachother
It seemed like T'Challa could never forgive her... but matters of the heart never did run smooth.
Ta-Nehisi Coates's popular ongoing Black Panther series has made it clear T'Challa and Storm still care deeply for one another. The writer has finally brought matters to a head in Black Panther #172, with T'Challa expressing his faith in Storm. Not as a friend, but faith in Storm as a goddess. She knew full well it was an attempt to manipulate her, and confronted him on that very point.
What follows is a beautiful, eloquent exchange in which Storm exposes their relationship. She demands that they move beyond titles - king, queen, goddess - and accept the most obvious truth: they love one another.
It's a delightful twist, a satisfying payoff, and the timing of it all is sure to leave fans thrilled. Many comic book readers have pointed to the success of T'Challa's solo movie as the perfect time to bring Black Panther and Storm together in the MCU. After all, Disney has made their intentions clear to buy the rights to Fox's Marvel heroes, X-Men included. It's currently before regulators, but should it be approved, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four will find their way into the MCU. That means certain key plots - like this increasingly popular marriage - could actually be duplicated on the big screen.
But as wonderful and romantic as Storm and T'Challa's conversation may be, the reality is that these two can never truly move beyond their titles. They carry the weight of the world upon their shoulders; T'Challa is a king, and Storm is more than just your average mutant. When Marvel first united the two in 2006, they hoped they'd become the Marvel Universe's new "power couple." But the pressure of that ultimately proved too great.
Will the second attempt fare any better?
Black Panther #172 is available now from Marvel Comics.