Thursday, October 13, 2016
Continuing our longstanding tradition of missing one issue of a limited series, today we're checking out 2010's Doomwar, written by Jonathan Maberry, pencils by Scot Eaton, inks by Campanella, Mendoza, Meikis, and Lanning. I'm missing issue #2, have to keep an eye out for that.
Even though I read Priest's Black Panther, I fell off the book afterwards, so wasn't real up on the continuity here: in fact, T'Challa wasn't even the Black Panther here, his sister Shuri was. (I honestly don't know if she had been introduced prior to rather suddenly getting the title...) And the series starts in a dark place, with the revolutionary Desturi having overthrown T'Challa in a coup. Storm was a prisoner, facing trial for a variety of trumped-up charges, including witchcraft; T'Challa and Shuri had gone to Storm's former teammates, the X-Men, for help. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Cyclops declines to help. (For political reasons, not because he remembers Storm beating his ass.)
Luckily, Wolverine, Colossus, and Nightcrawler elect to help out; and somewhat surprisingly the first issue ends with Kurt teleporting T'Challa and Shuri in to murder the Desturi's leader. (I seem to recall some review site of the time wondering if that was in character for Kurt; but it may well have been to prevent further bloodshed in prolonged battle. Y'know, that isn't even my biggest problem with that, but we'll come back to that another time.) Still, the Desturi weren't the real threat, their secret backer was: Doctor Doom, who orchestrated this entire thing to get access to T'Challa's vault of vibranium. Which Doom does.
The cover for the third issue is Doom at a chessboard, and that's much of the rest of the series: Reed Richards and T'Challa trying to figure out Doom's endgame, which is largely stall the heroes until he's used the vibranium to take over the world. There is an interesting scene where T'Challa can't figure out how Doom got through his vault's final lock, which he describes as "a kind of psycho-spiritual polygraph." Doom is able to justify his end goals, if not his means, to the panther god Bast: Doom believes without his iron rule of law, mankind will always, in every timeline, destroy itself.
It's spoiled in several of the covers, and I believe the solicits for this series, but midway through T'Challa realizes Doom knows exactly how he and Richards think, and has already planned for exactly what they would do. Unless they do something crazy, like hire Deadpool to kill Doom and teleport him straight at him. (Reed seems to disapprove, in general principle.) Of course Pool doesn't make a ton of progress there, but he seems to have fun. The series ends with T'Challa neutralizing most of the world's vibranium, which wouldn't do wonders for Wakanda's economy or defense, and T'Challa's marriage to Storm may have been on the way out here as well.