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Oct 8

Marauders #13 annotations

Posted on Thursday, October 8, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

“X of Swords, chapter 5”
by Vita Ayala, Matteo Lolli & Edgar Delgado

COVER / PAGE 1: Storm, Black Panther and Shuri (who are in this issue), plus Wolverine (who has a cameo) and Jean Grey (who isn’t in it at all).

PAGE 2: The Chadwick Boseman tribute.

PAGE 3: An epigraph from a grateful person who was rescued by Storm. It’s credited to “S.A. Graham, Onslaught survivor”. I can only assume it’s someone who crossed paths with Storm during the Onslaught crossover of 1996.

PAGES 4-6. Storm and Kate Pryde talk.

Page 4 panel 2 is a flashback to X-Factor #4, and Polaris delivering Saturnyne’s cryptic clues about who should get which sword. This one was very obviously about Storm, who was worshipped as a goddess in her youth, and queen of Wakanda more recently.

As we’ll see, Storm recognises the rest of the clue as relating to the Wakandan sword “Skybreaker”. It’s a culturally important artefact for the Wakandans, so she’s expecting to burn a lot of bridges by trying to get hold of it. Hence her comment that taking it will bring about “An end, I think. Heartache and strife, at the least.”

Storm says she has to face this alone, but that hasn’t been stated as one of the rules of Saturnyne’s contest. Maybe it’s a combination of personal responsibility and feeling uniquely placed to take advantage of her access to Wakanda. Or maybe it’s just one of those things that characters insist on saying in solo issues.

The eight panels running down the sides of pages 5 and 6 are a recap of Storm’s history. In sequence, they show:

  • Baby Ororo with her parents David and N’Daré Monroe, presumably in Harlem (where they were living when she was born). Strictly speaking I think this is an original scene, but we’ve seen Ororo as a baby before – there’s a scene of her in the maternity ward in Uncanny Origins #9, for example.
  • Ororo in the wreckage of her family home in Cairo after the bombing that killed her parents. This scene comes from X-Men #102, and originally it was meant to be the Suez Crisis of 1956. That got retconned out due to sliding time within a few years in favour of something vaguer and more generic.
  • Ororo as a pickpocket on the streets of Cairo, as first seen in X-Men #113.
  • Young Ororo bringing rain to some grateful villagers, setting up her time being worshipped as a “goddess” – which is how she was introduced in Giant-Size X-Men #1. I’ve never been comfortable with this phase of her history, which seems to play off some very condescending tropes.
  • A generic shot of Ororo in costume as Storm, and training in the Danger Room.
  • Storm defeats Callisto to become leadership of the Morlocks in 1983’s Uncanny X-Men #170.
  • Storm teaching students at the Jean Grey School; she’s wearing her costume from X-Men vol 5, the Brian Wood run that began in 2013.
  • Storm greeting a newly reincarnated mutant on Krakoa.

This skips thirty years of comics after the Callisto panel – I’m a little surprised that there’s no panel of her actually leading the X-Men, or anything about Black Panther.

PAGES 7-8. Flashback to the origin of Skybreaker.

Basically, Skybreaker is the first sword forged by the first Wakandan king using the vibranium mound – or at least is said to be, as all of this can only be legend so far as Ororo is concerned. Skybreaker itself is new, aside from being mentioned in previous chapters of “X of Swords”.

Vibranium. The first panel shows a sacred mountain being struck by a meteorite, which is apparently where Wakanda’s vibranium deposit comes from. Given the size of that deposit, you’d have thought the meteorite would do a lot more damage than it seems to here, but hey, it’s a legend. The idea that vibranium arrived on Earth in the form of a meteorite is not new. No time frame is given for this flashback, but see below.

The material about vibranium being the natural resource that propels Wakanda to become the thriving hi-tech society of today is all standard Black Panther back story.

The King of Wakanda seen here is identified in the data page as “Olumo, first Father of Wakanda”. That name is new, at least to Marvel. (There’s an Olumo Rock in Nigeria; the word apparently means something on the lines of “troubles are over”.)

If he’s supposed to be the first man to discover and harness the vibranium mound, then presumably he’s the Black Panther from the Avengers of One Million BC, seen in various Jason Aaron stories. In Avengers vol 8 #4, that Black Panther is described as “the first to discover some manner of vibrating rock or some such, and the first to begin to unlock its many secrets”. That doesn’t exactly fit with what we see here, but it’s close enough allowing for the fact that Storm is recounting a myth.

PAGES 9-10. Recap and credits.

PAGES 11-14. Storm arrives in Wakanda and asks nicely if she can borrow Skybreaker.

The Black Panther is off doing superhero things, so Storm meets the rest of the royal family – who of course are well known to her from her time as an in-law. Ramonda doesn’t feel she has the authority to release the sword, while Shuri seems to think it’s out of the question. They invite her to stay and ask T’Challa when he gets back. Of course, Storm’s on a deadline, so you can see where this is heading (as can Shuri, who’s no fool). Quite why she needs to wait for T’Challa to physically return to Wakanda, and what’s stopping them from having a phone call is never really very clear – except for the fact that it would break the plot.

If you’re not familiar with them, the two royals here are:

  • Queen Ramonda, who is actually T’Challa’s stepmother. She was introduced in the “Panther’s Quest” storyline from Marvel Comics Presents in 1989, and she’s become a central figure of his supporting cast. These days everyone tends to gloss over the technicalities of her back story and just treat her as T’Challa’s mother.
  • Shuri, Ramonda’s daughter and T’Challa’s half-sister. She was the Black Panther herself for a while (starting in around 2009) and she had a brief solo series under her own name recently.

The flashback on page 12 is just a straight recap of “X of Swords”.

The Arms of Wakanda are basically new.

  • The Nation Maker is credited to “the founder of Wakanda’s capital city”, which is called Birnin Zana, if you were wondering. As far as I’m aware, the founder himself is new.
  • The Panther’s Claws are new in themselves, but the costume shown here seems to be the prehistoric Black Panther from Avengers.
  • The King’s Mercy is again new, but T’Chakka – the previous Black Panther and T’Challa’s father – is a well established character.

PAGE 15. Data page about Sevalith, continuing the randomly-inserted data pages about the worlds of Otherworld. Sevalith is new, so there’s not much to add to what’s on the page. It confirms the suggestion in X-Force #13 that the worlds of Otherworld change from time to time, with worlds apparently coming and going from having a connection to the “wheel”.

Sevalith’s border with Avalon was shown in the map in X of Swords: Creation. It’s worth remembering that that map divided the ten worlds of Otherworld into “fair courts” and “foul courts”. Intriguingly, despite its obviously vampiric theme, Sevalith was listed under “fair” – as, for that matter, was the Fury-dominated world of Infuri.

PAGE 16. Data page about Mercator, the world which was highlighted on the Creation map. Basically, it’s undergone some sort of coup, and we don’t know anything about who’s there right now. The previous occupants were the Telmenetes, who are also new – they’re described as a highly evolved society of light. Mention of highly evolved societies in the Hickman era should remind us of all that stuff about cultural singularities in Powers of X, but the Telmenetes seem to have retained their individuality instead of becoming a hivemind.

PAGES 17-20. Shuri and Storm have dinner.

I’m not sufficiently up to speed on Black Panther to know whether Shuri’s concerns about political stability have any real basis in its current storylines.

Shuri is very obviously sceptical of Krakoa and its sudden emergence as an economic power. She’s something of a nationalist and small-c conservative in this story, which I’m not sure is entirely in character, and seems driven by the fact that someone has to fight Storm. (Was Okoye busy?) But she reminds us – and it’s been mentioned several times before – that Wakanda is one of the handful of countries that has not entered into a trade deal with Krakoa. It doesn’t really come to anything in the course of this issue, but we’ve been given a very clear impression that the Wakandans are deeply sceptical about what’s going on on Krakoa. And in the modern era, the Black Panther is usually right about that sort of thing.

At least as of the most recent issues on Marvel Unlimited, Storm and Black Panther were indeed on good terms.

PAGES 21-34. Storm steals Skybreaker and defeats Shuri.

Storm was, of course, a thief before she was a goddess or a queen. That aside, this part of the story speaks for itself.

PAGES 35-36. The Black Panther returns in time to confront Storm.

He trusts her, so he lets her take the sword, but he’s seriously unimpressed by this behaviour. He also throws in one of the rare lines where the Krakoans are directly challenged on treating Krakoa as their people and seemingly repudiating (or downplaying to nothingness) other aspects of their background.

PAGE 37. Data page about Stormbreaker, which seems to be new information.

PAGE 38. Storm returns to Krakoa, where Wolverine and Magik are already waiting with their own swords.

Magik already had her sword. Wolverine got his in X-Force #13.

PAGE 39. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: SUBTERFUGE.

Bring on the comments

  1. Evilgus says:

    I know a few people are frustrated that we are going to see a lot of padding as swords are gathered, but I’m looking forward to several character-centric issues. For me, they are what’s been lacking in the grand HOX sweep.

    “This skips thirty years of comics after the Callisto panel..”
    I also found that rather telling, in terms of notable Storm history.

    I enjoyed this as Storm recommitting to her people and Krakoa, but raised a few interesting questions on the way. The conversations with Shuri got very circular very quickly… But actual dense conversation panels! How unusual.

    Do Kate and Storm have anything to say to each other these days other then “gee shucks! Aren’t we such good friends?” It’s getting a bit trite.

  2. Adam Farrar says:

    Thanks as always for doing these Paul.
    One typo: “Shuri, Ramonda’s daughter and T’Challa’s half-brother” should be “half-sister.”

  3. K says:

    Mercator is the one realm I actually want to see, because it’s the only one of these so far that seems to defy imagination.

    You could imagine a version of this story where Storm obliges and sits around for a day or so until there is no more time to wait. But I like how on one level, this symbolizes that Krakoa does not wait for Wakanda, and on another level that Storm does not personally wait for T’Challa.

  4. Chris V says:

    I’m pretty sure that Jason Aaron Vibranium reference is contradictory with Kirby’s Black Panther run.

    In that series, an issue told the origin of Vibranium, and it was the same idea, but it happened much more recently in Wakanda’s history.
    There was some plot about the meteorite mutating some Wakandan citizens.

  5. Chris V says:

    K-I’m pretty sure Mercator is going to play a major role in X of Swords before the end.
    I think Krakoa is going to discover someone very important in that realm.

  6. Ben says:

    Yeah this was okay, it at least gave Storm a lot more to do than her issue of Giant Size.

    Storm being worshipped isn’t super uncomfortable for me, in as much as the Marvel universe actually has literal gods and magic everywhere.

    I’m more bothered by the Storm/BP relationship and especially marriage. It always felt like “gee let’s have our two most prominent Black characters get married. Because they’re both Black and from Africa.”

  7. Chris V says:

    Ben-Yeah, I don’t understand it either.
    There are actual deities in the Marvel Universe, like Thor.
    It seems more ignorant to doubt the existence of gods, if you have a person standing in front of you using powers.
    That person could be a mutant or some radioactive superhero, but if they are providing good weather and helping with your crops and they want to be treated as a goddess, it might be best to believe.

    A lot of African religions are based around the concept of avatars. It would be easy to see someone with that religious context believing that Ororo was born as an avatar of a goddess, more so than being an actual god.

    We certainly have people in America believing that Jesus was God and that he will be coming back to Earth soon.
    I certainly don’t feel it is uncomfortable to imagine that there are people who believe in concepts other than a scientific materialist understanding of the world.

  8. The Other Michael says:

    Storm as goddess…

    Well, she goes from orphan to thief to wandering in the wilderness… maybe she suffered emotional trauma and regression, perhaps coupled with her powers manifesting, that caused her to lock away much of her experience and history, so for a while she was in a semi-delusional state and it was only after she was brought back to America by Xavier that she regained what she’d lost. To go from innocent “goddess” to the more mature person we saw by the time Kitty came along, after all…

    Meanwhile the village who worshipped her probably went “Look, she’s clearly a little nuts, but she’s helping us, doesn’t ask for much, let’s just play along for everyones’ sakes.”

  9. Joseph S. says:

    That flashback margin medley didn’t include the Jim Lee / TAS costume!? (I don’t have it in front of me) Perhaps her most iconic look, besides maybe her classic costume. Her wardrobe of full of iconic looks, it is telling that none of her iconic stories happened in the Jim Lee design.

  10. Anthony says:

    “Meanwhile the village who worshipped her probably went “Look, she’s clearly a little nuts, but she’s helping us, doesn’t ask for much, let’s just play along for everyones’ sakes.””

    Didn’t the Storm solo series from a few years back imply this?

  11. Chris V says:

    Yes. I believe it was ignored by Marc Guggenheim in a later, really bad story though.

    I don’t think it needed to go so far.
    I think it would work to have it that people from the village convince Ororo that she was gifted the powers of a goddess. Since she knows she has vast power and doesn’t know she’s a mutant, she believes that she is a representative of God.
    She begins to enjoy the prestige and revels in the praise. It obviously goes to her head, but she never goes too far, and is mainly interested in helping to avoid droughts.

    Later, maybe Storm went back to apologize to the village and explain she is just a mutant.
    Have some people in the village explain that it doesn’t matter. She was gifted by the spirits with those powers which could be used to help the people. There is no distinction, and her explanation doesn’t change anything about how they think of her.
    That by worshipping her they were really worshipping God through her, since most African religions tend to believe in one Supreme Being.
    It could show some of the complexity of African religions, where simplistic concepts like “science” being distinct from “religion” are somewhat meaningless.
    It’s possible to have a genetic explanation for a person having a helpful power, but that doesn’t make her any less a powerful spiritual being worthy of prestige.

  12. Chris V says:

    Check out some of Ben Okri’s fiction sometime, for anyone interested.
    He writes from within a Yoruba-inspired tradition, which isn’t the same as the ethnic groups in Kenya, of course.
    I think it still has merit though.

  13. MasterMahan says:

    The name Skybreaker is interesting. In Brandon Sanderson’s “Stormlight Archive” series, the Skybreakers are one of the ten knight orders, each of which is associated with a magic sword – so ten swords. It could be a nod, or just two common words smashed together.

  14. K says:

    15 or so years ago when the internet had random name generators instead of videos for entertainment, there was probably a magic sword name generator that would spit out these names for you.

  15. CJ says:

    Except for the gaps in the plot, I enjoyed this issue: a collection of basically good people with a dilemma; main characters from the book actually in it.

    I was surprised to that one of the flashback panels wasn’t to Storm vs. Cyclops in UXM 201, or the mohawk reveal to Kitty.

  16. Luis Dantas says:

    Gods are a dime and dozen, and don’t even have any necessary attributes.

    That is true in real life. If anything, that is even more true in the MU.

    Ororo being considered a goddess by a certain tribe is very much a matter between them and has no further significance (although according to a very early issue of Dazzler – #2, I think – Ororo seems to think differently).

  17. Chris V says:

    Mohawk-era Storm is my favourite period in Storm’s history, so I definitely wanted to see a scene featuring that, CJ.

  18. Joseph S. says:

    The marriage of Storm and Black Panther felt clumsy at the time, mostly because the characters had little history together. It really felt like nothing more than putting Marvel’s two most prominent Black characters together. Was not at all a surprise it was pretty quickly undone.

    That said, the characters do now have a rather extensive on page history, with some potential to do interesting Storm stories like this one. I think they work best when they’re not necessarily explicitly the two together, but Storm working in Panther’s world. Coates did some good work with Storm as a supporting character in his Black Panther run. And the Black Panther & the Crew mini had Storm in Harlem investigating something or other to do with an activist gone missing. Shame that series didn’t last beyond the gathering the team arc.

    Storm doesn’t really as a solo character, for the same reasons as Nightcrawler. I think Ayala and Lolli did a great job here. Two issues collecting a sword is too many, as with Wolverine/X-Force, but this felt like a great character focused story that was more than a McGuffin hunt.

    And yes, completely getting video game vibe from this event. Video game dynamics have completely colonized mainstream action films, why not comics too? Can we presume that the first half of the event will be all sword gathering while the second half features the match ups in the ten kingdoms of Otherworld. Like moving through settings in Mortal Kombat etc.

  19. Mark coale says:

    I enjoyed the Storm/Panther partnership when McDuffie wrote them in FF.

  20. Col_Fury says:

    Of course, the Storm/Black Panther relationship dates all the way back to Marvel Team-Up #100 (from 1980!) by Claremont/Byrne, so it’s not like it came out of nowhere.

  21. Paul says:

    Yes and no. Neither character treated that story as remotely significant in their history for 20 years or so after it was published. It was more a hook to hang a retcon on.

  22. SanityOrMadness says:

    Joseph S> Was not at all a surprise [the marriage of Storm and Black Panther] was pretty quickly undone.

    It lasted six years (2006-2012). That’s not *that* quick.

  23. Luis Dantas says:

    That long? It feels like it was disregarded fairly quickly, even if the formal divorce took longer.

  24. Thom H. says:

    @Joseph S.: Would you mind saying more about why Storm and Nightcrawler don’t work as solo characters? That idea really struck me. Not arguing, just genuinely interested in hearing more.

  25. Evilgus says:

    I’ll bite on this. I think most X-Characters aren’t great solo, not because they aren’t interesting characters in themselves, but because the rest of the X-team is essentially their supporting cast. Very few of them have an outside life or supporting characters of their own, who can sustain an ongoing.

    I think Wolverine has only achieved that by dint of longevity, and even then it’s mostly just a revolving door of villains rather than interesting characters that move the action in their own right. Tbh I’ve never been in Wolverine solo anyway…!

  26. Mark coale says:

    Wolverine got popular because he was the perfect zeitgeist for the 80s, the brooding loner anti-hero with a mysterious background,

  27. Thom H. says:

    @Evilgus: That makes sense to me. Building a supporting cast around such established characters at this point would probably feel artificial and forced. Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, and Kitty all at least have romantic interests to add some spice, but that’s not going to be enough to sustain an ongoing series.

    It also makes sense of my general feeling of ennui when looking at the huge stable of X-characters these days. There are way too many of them to act as each others’ supporting characters. And so many of the teams that are cobbled together don’t last long enough to fully establish the emotional balance they need to build forward movement for the characters.

  28. Allan M says:

    I agree with Evilgus, and expand that Storm and Nightcrawler have a compounding problem as a solo act. If they think there’s danger, they routinely rally together the team to handle it. That’s move one; it’s how they respond to danger. So not only are the X-Men their supporting casts, you need to justify in every story why they’re opting to handle this mission solo. It can be done – this issue’s a good example – but in an ongoing series, it’s a strain.

    Wolverine, conversely, is a well-established loner who values his time away from the team and had an exciting, action-packed life long before he joined the team. Even as he’s mellowed, a huge swath of his stories are about him dealing with his pre-X-Men past, and he doesn’t want that danger impacting on his new family. It’s a simple, durable explanation of why Logan does some missions alone.

    Stories rooted in Wolverine’s pre-X-Men days also tend to be about politics or crime or honour, more spy genre or noir than superhero in tone and style. So there’s a lot less overlap thematically with the core X-Men book. Greg Pak’s 2014 Storm solo book wasn’t awful, but it was still 11 issues of her fighting anti-mutant prejudice while talking almost exclusively to X-Men and associates thereof. It’s just an X-Men book with Storm as the focal character.

  29. Chris V says:

    I think you could do a solo series with Storm, but it would take the correct writer.
    Marvel has a distinct lack of authentic African superheroes.
    Black Panther is awesome, but he’s also from a fictional African nation.
    The writer would need to be intimately familiar with parts of Africa, but that could include Kenya, Egypt, or South Africa….all of which Ororo spent time in her pre-X-Men years.

    Storm has been shown as liking time alone. She feels a need to commune with Nature due to the nature of her mutant powers.
    She set up a room in the mansion’s attic where she could have a lot of plants.
    So, it’s not as if you couldn’t see Storm going off solo like Logan.

    There’s also the issue that she was married for a number of years, so you could see her having interest in meeting people outside of the X-Men, who are mostly like her family.

    Perhaps, similarly, you could set a Nightcrawler series as being based in Germany.
    There aren’t really any German superhero characters.
    I don’t know though, I’ve never found Kurt as compelling of a character as Ororo.

  30. Chris V says:

    Granted, it probably wouldn’t last in today’s comic market.
    Even Wolverine has trouble carrying his own series now.
    Marvel just keeps publishing Wolverine solo series for the sake of chronology. Characters who have had series as long as Wolverine need to have series for the sake that they have had long-running series.
    I realize that sentence seems to lack content, but that’s on purpose because that’s the mentality of corporate comic book publishers.

  31. Evilgus says:

    “And so many of the teams that are cobbled together don’t last long enough to fully establish the emotional balance they need to build forward movement for the characters.”

    This succinctly captures the problem with the X-books over the last ten years. It’s fun as a long term fan to see the grab bag of characters, but there’s never enough focus on interpersonal dynamics – there just isn’t time! Who knows how a new reader could approach HOXPOX. It’s the ultimate expression of this approach – the main cast is, well, everyone.

    I think the last book to successfully balance a stable cast with emotional growth over the long term was Peter David’s X-Factor. And to a lesser extent, Remender’s X-Force. These days you’re lucky to last 12 issues which barely establishes the cast.

  32. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Obviously it’s subjective on whether it successfuly executed that long-term growth or not, but All-New X-Men had a stable cast (with some fringe member rotation*) and both volumes and X-Men Blue – which was All-New vol 3 in all but name – add up to almost a hundred issues. By three different writers, but with through lines maintained.

    Having said that, I generally agree that the current ’12 issues and a cancellation’ market makes it almost impossible to focus on character relations, which traditionally were one of the draws of the X-Men.

    *- which is going to be the name of my band if ever I start one

  33. Thom H. says:

    All-New does stand out as *the* long-running recent series, doesn’t it? Except for Bobby coming out, though, wasn’t a lot of the character work simply wiped away when the O5 went back to the past? I only checked in on that story once in a while, so I could be wrong.

    X-Men: Red wasn’t around long enough to really accomplish anything, but I remember Jean Grey had more of a personality there than she had in quite a while (or ever?). Any development Taylor had planned for her got cut short pretty quickly.

    Decompression probably doesn’t help. As Evilgus said above, it usually takes a year to establish the team and the premise. At least the DOX books had a lot of groundwork laid for them by HOXPOX, so they could hit the ground running. The latest iteration of X-Factor gathered the team, (possibly) solved a mystery, established a headquarters, and started some long-term character arcs in one double-sized issue. That’s what I’m looking for in an X-book.

    Fringe Member Rotation would be a good name for a Cure cover band.

  34. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Well, technically the adult X-Men remember everything they did as teenagers in the present. So Beast could still do magic if he wanted to, for example.

    But apart from one writer acknowledging that Cyclops is best friends with Kamala Khan (Jim Zub in an issue of his Champions run), none of that came up.

    No, wait, there’s another instance – adult Iceman had a (short) coming to terms with adult Jean about how teenage Jean pulled him out of the closet in Sina Grace’s Iceman. Not sure which volume.

    So yeah, all that happened and they all remember it happening, but it barely comes up.

  35. Joseph S. says:

    Yeah, I would basically echo what the others have already mentioned. Wolverine is the exception that proves the rule. The mutant metaphor lends itself naturally to stories about teams, because despite their individual differences what brings mutants together is their collective marginalization. The X-line is dominated by team books for this reason, and often this manifests as stories about chosen family or defense of said chosen family. When you do extended solo adventures, what’s the raison-d’etre? Usually a jaunt into obscure corners of backstory continuity, very rarely touching on the heart of the character and/or the mutant metaphor.

    I mentioned Storm and Nightcrawler because they have been two of the most popular characters in the franchise for 45 years, and who surely have the most solo series besides Wolverine. As Allan M writes above, the market might support a mini, where the lead has some contrived reason for going on a solo adventure, but it is a harder sell on an ongoing (whatever that even means anymore). I think both characters are also examples of popular X-Men who are largely defined by their role on the team. Kurt doesn’t always have to be the one who looks like a demon but has a heart of gold, but he does need to be someone’s foil. He can charming, he can be dashing, the moral conscience, the comedic foil, but he needs other characters we care about to interact with. Similarly so many of Storm’s best moments have been as role model or cutting loose from her uptight image. Both characters have had classic solo stories, but that well is limited. The original Cockrum Nightcrawler mini was good fun, but it isn’t really an X-Men story, and that’s why it was just a mini.

    The line has a tendency of getting overcrowded, not always adequately differentiating between titles. “This book has this cast while that book has another cast” isn’t enough of an identity to support books, and solo books compound this problem. The line probably just needs to bring back an anthology title like Unlimited so that they can do short character focused stories less bogged down in continuity.

  36. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Now, I might be wrong about this, but I think Storm had only one short ongoing (by Greg Pak) and some minis. Nightcrawler had two short ongoings (Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s and Claremont’s) and some minis.

    They have nothing not only on Wolverine, they are also far surpassed by Cable (three ongoings, including the current one, some minis and the Cable&Deadpool ongoing) and Gambit (three ongoings and some minis and Mr and Mrs X). Oh and X-23 is also at three ongoings and some minis.

    But I remember quite enjoying the RAS Nightcrawler series. Did it make sense to make Kurt a paranormal investigator? Barely to not really, but that made the series have a very distinct tone.

  37. Chris V says:

    I only remember Storm having one mini, written by Warren Ellis, from the mid-‘90s.

    I think Kurt has only had two. The 1980s one by Cockrum and one from the early-2000s that I never read.

  38. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    At the very least there was also ‘Ororo: Before the Storm’ in the early 2000s. Not sure if there was more.

  39. Allan M says:

    Storm had a mini by Ellis in 1996, the mini Before the Storm in 2005 (set back when she was a kid pickpocket in Cairo), the mini Storm by Eric Jerome Dickey in 2006 which is basically buildup to her marriage to Black Panther, and then the Pak ongoing series from 2014 (which doesn’t last a year).

    Nightcrawler’s had three miniseries – the Cockrum one from the 80s, a 2002 one, and his Age of X-Man book. And then two “ongoing” series that failed – the RAS run from 2004 and the Claremont run from 2014.

    As for Cable and Gambit, they are good examples of more or less following the Wolverine playbook – new characters with mysterious backstories and pre-X-Men lives in exciting, action-adventure careers (soldier/mercenary and thief, respectively). Their solo books are rooted in said backstories and draw on genre tropes and themes that are distinct from the X-Men. Deadpool isn’t considered an X-character anymore, but he fits the pattern too. Gambit in particular has a great hook for a solo act – he’s stealing stuff. Why aren’t the other X-Men helping him? Because he’s committing a crime! Easy explanation! But even then, his solo books ultimately flounder because his non-X supporting cast are the Thieves’ Guild, and they suck.

    Cable’s goddamn weird in that the first fifty-ish issues of his original run are of a piece despite writer turnover, and then it’s three radical, why-is-this-the-same-character revamps in a row – Casey/Ladronn doing Kirby pastiche, Weinberg going full sci-fi, and then Tischman doing realpolitik. What we can learn about longevity as a solo act from Cable, I dunno.

  40. Chris V says:

    That Darko Macan Soldier X (Cable) series was so damn good.
    It deserved to last a lot longer than it did. Macan left before the series was canceled though, so it may have been Macan’s decision to not continue.

    Also, I didn’t really count the Eric Jerome Dickey Storm mini since it was so closely tied to trying to make the BP marriage work.
    It was a pretty decent mini though.

  41. Luis Dantas says:

    My take on fitness of X-Men characters for solo books seems to be a minority one, then.

    Far as I am concerned, Wolverine, Cable and Gambit are unworkable precisable because they fit the Wolverine mold. They are not true characters, just wildcards that some writers and many readers extend an awful lot of good will towards.

    Nightcrawler is something else entirely. He has a well defined character and lots of room for developing it in stories.

    Ororo used to be similar to Nightcrawler, but I fear that she has suffered from way too much overexposition and contradictions in her character baggage and has, in fact, become a lot like Wolverine: I don’t know how that character is supposed to behave this day of the week and I can’t bring myself to a place where I would care. It is just too much over the place and written in too unresolved and uninteresting a way. How does she feel about Black Panther, about Wolverine, about Jean, about Scott, about Mohawks, about the Planet Eath, about pacifism… it just keeps swinging very quickly and with hardly any warning.

    That makes her appear mentally unstable and just not worth the effort of following the tale. It is simply way too obvious that she is chosen to fill the needs of the plot, because her character is malleable enough to fit most any plot now. She is a wild card with a highly variable and situational role, quite unworkable for any form of long term plotting.

    But maybe that is no longer a drawback, since writing for the short term is now the standard?

  42. Chris V says:

    Right. That’s why Gambit has proven almost impossible to work as a solo character after his late-‘90s series.
    All of his mysteries were revealed by the end of that Gambit series.
    Afterwards he could no longer be that same character and he was revealed to be mainly flash without much substance.
    He went from being considered one of the hottest X-characters during the 1990s to being considered a very lame character by the year 2000.
    Now, he’s one of the few happily married mutant characters.

    Storm, though, that’s just asking for the correct writer to define her character and make her interesting again, like she used to be during the Claremont days, before he decided to turn her in to a child (for some strange reason).
    Removing her from the trappings of the X-Men and moving her on from Black Panther is the perfect way to define her as a character, without that unnecessary baggage.

  43. Will S says:

    The Storm costume seen in the flashback was actually created by Kris Anka for the Sam Humphries/Ron Garney Uncanny X-Force run (volume 2?) before showing up in other books such as Wood’s X-Men.

  44. Joseph S. says:

    Deadpool obviously has his own thing going on, but worth pointing out the success of the Cable & Deadpool series, where Cable plays the straight man to Deapool’s insanity. I think Nicieza wrote that entire series, and it ran for 50 issues, a decent run for the 00s. Gambit also works best when paired up, Gambit & Rogue, even Gambit v. Deadpool.

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