WWAC: Storm Building

 Originally posted at Women Write About Comics.

Classic X-Men 3My comic addiction started with Classic X-Men, which reprints Uncanny X-Men #93 onward and includes secondary stories that transform the characters from superheroes into actual human beings. Classic X-Men #3 was one of the first issues I read, and it didn’t take long for Storm to become a favourite. If you assume my adoration of Ororo Munroe is based solely on the fact that she and I share similar skin tones, I will have to scoff at you and move on. And if you think I love Storm because of her incredible powers, leadership abilities, and goddess status, then I will have to shake my head and look at you with pity.

Because there is so much more to Storm than that.

x113 storm criesDon’t get me wrong, I certainly appreciate those aspects of her, but the moments when I really love her are when she is at her weakest. One of her defining moments for me was when the X-Men were held captive by the Nanny. Storm resorted to her skills as a master thief (how much do I adore the fact that a goddess always travels with a dagger and a set of lockpicks?) Unfortunately, her initial attempt at freedom failed, and she broke down in tears. Then she pulled up her boots straps and tried again until she was able to free the entire team by herself with nothing but a set of lockpicks and determination. In those moments, she shows who she truly is. She is able to overcome weaknesses–even her debilitating claustrophobia–not with the power of the alpha mutant goddess and indomitable leader, but with the sheer force of will of an incredible human being.

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(& Above) Claremont, Byrne & Austin’s Storm, 1978

That was my role model as a youth, so it shouldn’t be surprising that she has stayed with me all my life. Storm often comes up in conversation with like-minded people such as my friend Tiara. We recently fell into an amusing conversation about the many loves of Storm and how we needed a mini-series featuring all of them, from Arkon to Wolverine. Shortly thereafter, we discovered Princeless author Jeremy Whitley tweeting about his desire for a Storm solo series. That conversation digressed into a television sitcom à la Living Single, starring Storm and her roommates, Misty Knight, Monica Rambeau, and Cecelia Reyes. (Jean Grey would drop in every time she resurrects, of course.)

Silliness aside, at the heart of our chatter was the desire to see Storm be all that she should be, and we all agree that that is not just the leader, the queen, the teacher, the mutant, or the goddess, but Ororo Munroe. In other words, we want to see more of the woman outside of the X-Men. With the Hawkeye solo comic, the precedent has already been set for a book that reveals that characters have a life outside of saving the world in spandex. Jeremy suggests that part of the reason why this hasn’t happened for Storm yet is:

Comic book creators treat her too much like a goddess and not enough like a woman. If Storm is perfect and has no concerns, no flaws, and no personality quirks then a modern solo comic becomes impossible.

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Daniel Acuña’s Storm, 2011-12

But we know that there is so much more to Storm and can give you a long list of examples. Tiara loves what others consider to be incongruous to the goddess persona that is too often forced upon her.

She’s been a warrior, an avenging goddess, a thief, a queen, a monster, a sorceress, a temptress … And Storm has always had a rebellious streak that sometimes made her enjoy and do things that aren’t ‘Storm-like.’

That streak most often comes out when she’s with her friend Yukio, and is on full display in Storm: The Arena where she also gets to unleash her more brutal side. Tiara, again:

I did like how they showed that she could revel in brutality if she wanted to. That she could find beauty even in the grotesque.

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Claremont and Kordey’s Storm & Yukio in Storm: The Arena, 2003-4

Jeremy agrees, suggesting that Storm could use some more Wolverine-like stories–

–About heaping pain on pain and somehow pushing through and overcoming it against all odds. Storm is often defined as being gentle, but she needs to be able to do both.

Storm recently separated from a brief marriage to Black Panther, and though I was not at all pleased with how their marital issues were aired on the battlefield and never again addressed, I’m happy to see them parted. I was slowly getting back into X-Men after a long hiatus when I learned about the wedding. In all my X-Men lore, I had never known the two to be romantically linked, so I got that sinking feeling that Ororo and T’Challa got hitched because Marvel decided that’s what you do with two prominent black characters. The BET coverage of the wedding heightened my suspicions, and a bit of research proved that the marriage was supposed to impress me as a black, female reader.

Um. Nope.

So now that Storm is free again, Jeremy suggests a book where “we see Storm get some alone time,” but Tiara and I weren’t entirely joking about the many loves of Storm. Black Panther didn’t work for us, but Storm has had many romantic relationships with men who better understand her. My OTP for the Windrider is with the Maker, but sadly, her romance with the mutant inventor called Forge ended long ago. Tiara would love a peek into the psychology of Storm’s more villainous attractions, such as Dr. Doom and Khan.

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Lobdell, Portacio & Williams’s Storm, 1992

And while we don’t necessarily want her powers at the forefront, we would love to see an exploration of her control over the weather. Her powers have often been tied to her emotions, implying that she maintains her calm demeanour to avoid unleashing a literal tempest. Jeremy imagines a series–

–Where the weather is a constant reflection of Storm, and that we see that part of why she is such a calm and controlled individual is that if she wasn’t, the weather would be inhospitable.

We only ever see this psychic connection when she is angry, but what if we could explore that concept more deeply in her everyday life?

As a comic book writer himself, Jeremy has always dreamed of writing Storm. He’s got many ideas, but what definitely stands out is a “What If?” story where Charles Xavier never came looking for her in Africa. “Does she continue living as a goddess?” he muses.

Wouldn’t a mutant living like a goddess be something that would appeal to Magneto’s sensibilities? Could Storm have been the most powerful super villain if things were just a little bit different?

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Claremont and Buscema’s Storm, 1987

Fans and creators alike give many reasons for why a solo series for most Marvel characters wouldn’t work as well as it does within DC Comics, but, once again citing Hawkeye, we are convinced that there is a wealth of material for Storm. And Marvel wouldn’t have to dig that deeply, because all of her very human and very compelling aspects have always been there. They just need a good writer and artist to shed some light on them.

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