Storm Is Blowing Me Away

storm coverWe’ve said much on the topic of diversity in Marvel’s recent additions to its comics lineup. However, more is always better, so today I’m back to tell you about the new Storm ongoing series that premiered in July. Spoiler alert: I’m loving it so far.

Though Ororo Munroe, aka Storm, is also leading up the team in the flagship X-Men comic, this book doesn’t infringe on that one; rather, it tells a totally different story that focuses solely on Ororo herself and her struggle to balance her personal, sometimes selfish, desires with her position as a leader of the X-Men and as a former world leader. In the first issue, we open on her saving a coastal South American town from a tsunami before being ejected by anti-mutant militants at gunpoint. Beast advises her to not make a scene, since the X-Men have long-game political schemes at work in the country, and she heads back home deeply dissatisfied.

However, back at the Jean Grey School, she immediately has to deal with Marisol, a young woman with powers over flora who’s unhappy with the methodologies of the school and wants to go home. Storm overreacts to the girl’s accusation that Storm has sold out, and heads out to cool her head. After a long night’s flight, she finds herself back in coastal Santo Marco, where she proceeds to help the townsfolk both recuperate from the aftermath of the diverted tsunami and expel the militant faction, who, it turns out, were corporate-funded. Upon returning home, she apologizes to Marisol and gives her a lift back to her family.

In the second issue, Storm leaves a date with Wolverine and discovers a “Missing” poster emblazoned with the face of a young woman. She pulls out all the stops to look for her, and discovers that several other young people who were in abusive situations have gone missing as well. She’s forced to face her post-traumatic fear of tight spaces when Beast tracks the missing teens to a location underground. While in the subway tunnels, she encounters an old enemy, Callisto. Suspecting that she’s behind the kidnappings, Storm starts to fight her, and chases her into a larger room—where the missing kids are all hanging out, unharmed. It turns out that they all intentionally ran away from their previous lives, and Callisto gave them shelter in her subway lair. Taken aback, Storm helps them clean up the mess she made of their hideout when she went after Callisto, and apologizes for thinking the wrong thing.

What I like about the story of this book so far is that it’s not the story of a woman coming into her power, and it’s not even a story of a woman with great power bowing to authorities telling her when she can or can’t use it: it’s a story of a woman who’s almost always had exorbitant power learning when it’s appropriate to use it. In some cases, this means acting to help others despite the consequences, as in Santo Marco. In other cases, this means swallowing her pride and admitting that she was wrong or jumped to conclusions, as in the second issue.

via samuraipunk

Given Storm’s return to her awesome punk-rock mohawk hairdo, this seems relevant. (via samuraipunk)

The flaws the story gives her are in line with this as well—she’s stubborn, she’s proud, and she can be spiteful—but her underlying motivations, and, often, the reasoning behind her rebellious behavior, is a desire to be compassionate. Callisto mockingly calls her “Storm, the goddess,” but she’s not made of stone.

What’s especially interesting to me about Storm is that, while on one hand she is a Black woman and a mutant in a society where those are not considered the default, on the other hand she is the wealthy leader of a prestigious paramilitary organization as well as a former Queen. These are intersections of privilege that we don’t normally get to see in stories about Black women, and while on one hand that may make her less relatable, it’s also awesome to see a character like Storm in the spotlight.

It’d be remiss of me to wrap up without talking about the art, so let me say this: it’s perfect. The scenes where Storm is controlling the weather are powerful and evocative, and the more personal scenes are no less so. Her face is always expressive (and her expressions are great) and despite her costume being pretty skintight, her poses are never needlessly cheesecakey.

Storm_1_Preview_2While I do hope that we’ll soon see some more long-running, less episodic plots, I’m really digging the story and the character so far. I definitely recommend you give it a try—the third issue doesn’t come out till the end of this month, so you’ve got plenty of time to catch up.

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