Day 25 of 28 Days of Black Super Heroes, today’s hero is the Marvel Comics’ character Storm.
Storm is arguably the most recognized Black hero out there today. I saved this one for the end of the month because as cool and positive as Storm is there are some issues there that I always get hung up on.
WHO IS SHE?
Storm is Ororo Munroe, a former child thief who grew up to be regarded as a Goddess by some of the native people in Africa.
Essentially, her parents were killed leaving her to fend for herself as a child. She took to thieving and became pretty damn good at it, but eventually decides that is not the life for her.
Moving on and growing older, Ororo discovers her power to affect the weather. Considered a Goddess (by the people and even by herself), she helps the people survive the harsh African desert climate as best she can.
Until Charles Xavier (founder of the X-Men) shows up to let her know she’s not actually a Goddess, but instead a mutant.
Storm doesn’t argue. That’s kind of the way the comics were back then. She’s just like “Ok you old horny bald fool, I’ll just drop everything and go with you, I guess.”
And so she does. See, Xavier needed her to join his new team of X-Men, so they could go and rescue his old team of X-Men, who had been captured. Although in hindsight, he probably just should have asked the Fantastic Four or the Avengers to go and do it.
WHAT DOES SHE DO?
Storm is definitely one of the most powerful of the X-Men, or indeed the entire super-hero community.
She can control weather conditions and pretty much cause (or prevent) any weather condition she wants. She’s pretty devastating when she wants to be, the range and power of the weather she can create are exceeded only by Thor, and he really is a God.
Some of the stuff she’s done includes fog, wind, creating monsoons inside of a room, dropping temperatures to below freezing within seconds. Storm can carry the entire team of X-Men in the air with her just with wind. It looks like it’s pretty comfortable, too, judging from the posture of the team when she does this.
I’ve seen panels where she creates a minor rain-cloud over a potted plant just to water it. Wow.
She isn’t affected by extreme temperatures, so she never freezes or gets too hot. I’d like to have that power here in Wisconsin.
And let’s talk about the lightning. Obviously her most powerful offensive strike. Sometimes you’d see that the lightning would come from clouds, but other times it looked like the lightning came right from her hand.
Many times Storm and others would state that her mood can adversely affect her local weather conditions. So essentially when she’s pissed off there will be some violent weather happening in her area. This is not a woman you want to piss off.
She’s been known to be very reserved for this reason, but it seems like these days she’s pretty much beaten that, with only a few minor incidents of late.
Anyway, she joins up with Xavier to be a part of his new team of X-Men. Now this is what tripped me out about this whole deal. So check the picture here:
Well, we have the black chick, the Canadian, the Russkie, the German guy, the Native American and the Irish dude (not pictured).
Ok cool. Well, what happened to the original team? Well, apparently they were so disgusted they moved right out of the mansion! They ain’t sharin’ the mansion with these non-American minority mofos! Are you crazy??
I mean I was cracking up! Look at it this way, the young white-as-apple-pie X-teens suddenly had to deal with:
- A Godless RUSSIAN! (Colossus) Remember, way back then in 1975, the Russians were the enemy.
- A drunken Irishman (Banshee) and a drunken Indian!(Thunderbird) Probably drinking up all the good liquor and passing out half-naked on the stairs.
- A devil-looking German (Nightcrawler), scaring the crap out of them by popping out of dark corners.
- A vicious Canadian killer (Wolverine) with serious psychological problems and a thing for redheads.
- Luckily, the surly Japanese guy (Sunfire) took off earlier, cuz he just didn’t like none of those mofos…
- And finally, an admittedly hot, but still Black THIEF, probably jacking everything not nailed down in the mansion.
Now that’s just too much to ask good white folks to deal with.
No, I kid, I kid. But seriously, that wasn’t the reason – it just looked strange, y’all. Real strange.
Anyway, so we got rid of the first group, and Storm went on to fight for mutant rights and safeguard the world against evil mutants. Some notable moments include:
- Storm get her first taste of leadership when she leads a team of X-Men vs. Dr. Doom. Doom imprisons her essentially inside of a statue of herself, triggering her claustrophobia, and also triggering one of her most powerful storms ever. It was one of those issues where you go “damn, how powerful is she??”
- She’s bitten by Dracula(!) and the team has to face off against him to save her soul. Storm actually IS the leader of the team at this point, as Cyclops has taken a back seat.
- The X-Men are kidnapped by an alien species called the Brood. Storm becomes bonded to a giant alien creature. The end result of all this time away from Earth causes Storm to lose her “connection” to the Earth’s weather-sphere or magnetic field or whatever.
- Shortly after this, Storm nearly kills another mutant who had kidnapped their old teammate Angel. Nightcrawler uneasily recognizes that Storm actually meant to kill the woman.
- Later, in Japan, the X-Men are poisoned, Storm is separated from the team, with her only help coming from the fun-loving Yukio, an old associate of Wolverine’s. Storm is forced to acknowledge her more violent tendencies and is deeply affected by the other woman’s attitude.
- Because of the prior point, Storm shaves her head into a mohawk!! She becomes “punk Storm”, and freaks everyone out with her new look and attitude.
- In a major upset in the X-world. Storm actually LOSES her powers – taking a hit that was meant for Rogue. It took years for her to get her powers back. (later, she hooks up with the guy who built the device that took away her powers -who was also a mutant!!)
- Get this: After losing her powers, she beats up Cyclops for leadership of the X-Men. HA!
- Storm was regressed to childhood at one point, separated from the X-Men and again becoming a thief to survive.
I have to admit, at this point I kind of checked out. I was in college with not much money to spend on comics, so I had to let them slide for awhile throughout the 90’s. Every time I stopped in I didn’t really like what I was seeing anyway.
I didn’t get back into X-Men until the Grant Morrison reboot several years ago. It was pretty cool at first, but uh…where was Storm?
It turns out Storm and a few other characters were left out of the reboot to be shunted off into a splinter-group called the X-Treme X-Men.
Storm apparently didn’t agree with the direction the Xavier school was taking, so she peaced out. Now, Storm evokes fierce loyalty in many X-Men, so a whole group decided to follow her and help her with her plan.
The plan essentially was to work toward creating a Federally licensed team of X-Men to work with the government and help the mutant cause from within.
I picked up a few issues but I found it to be fairly boring. It’s a silly, unfortunate, but very real problem that when you name a comic “extreme”, you really have to make it extreme. They shoulda called Grant Morrison’s run “X-Treme”, because they went way off the rails with that series.
Speaking of the writers, it bears a mention here that the most well-known and beloved X-Men writer Chris Claremont is also well-known for connecting with Storm and bringing her to prominence.
She’s the character that he always puts in the front and promotes. He was the guy writing X-Treme X-Men, and I wasn’t surprised.
The thing about Claremont was, even though I loved those old stories, sometimes it got kind of predictable. Meaning that when he was writing, the women were running the show and the guys were just along for the ride. Not a problem if he would change it up once in a while, but it was always easy to see where it was going.
Eventually the X-Treme team was folded back into the regular X-Men, and Storm really did have a team of X-Federal agents, which I was really enjoying until the whole Decimation event happened, and all the second-string mutants lost their powers.
Right around this time, Storm had “reconnected” with the Black Panther while on a mission with the X-Men.
It came up quick, but Marvel had let it be known that Storm would be marrying the Black Panther. Huh?!?
I wasn’t invested enough in either of the characters to really care too much, but there was a lot of outrage from fans, some because they thought it was a naked play for some good PR, while others just didn’t want Storm removed from the X-Men.
Well, leave she did. When the “M-Day” Decimation happened, Storm calls up the X-Men and tells Cyclops she doesn’t agree with their direction (again) and then she just hangs up! DAMN.
I mean, this is a time when you’ve lost most of the mutants in the world, and you need all hands on deck. This isn’t the time for your crazy Storm antics!
BACK TO AFRICA
I wasn’t really reading Black Panther, but that’s where Storm was now being seen on a monthly basis. He was a king, and now Storm was a queen.
I didn’t start picking it up until the Panther got dragged into the Civil War crossover event.
Storm and Black Panther decided to join up with Captain America and his registration rebels, which turned out to be the losing side -leaving the couple stranded with no allies at home or in the States.
Extreme douchebag Reed Richards (leader of the Fantastic Four) actually did something cool for once, and offered BP and Storm a spot on the team. The two would replace Richards and his wife Susan, the Invisible Woman, while they took some time off to repair their marriage (Reed and Sue found themselves opposing sides of the Civil War).
So they accepted, and now Storm was a member of the Fantastic Four. I picked these up because they were written by the now-late, great Dwayne Mcduffie -Milestone Media founder and creator of Static (RIP Dwayne -for real).
I was pretty impressed with how fun he made the Fantastic Four, a title I traditionally find boring as hell.
This didn’t last long, though, and soon Storm and her husband were off on their way (it became apparent that the two had joined the team for the sole reason of allowing Reed and Sue to get their marriage back on track).
Doomwar was a very recent mini-series centered on the Black Panther, Storm and BP’s native country of Wakanda.
For those who don’t know, Wakanda is a very highly scientifically advanced nation in Africa. The reason they’re this far ahead of most of the world is that they have access to a very precious metal called vibranium.
Vibranium is not native to the Earth. A meteor composed of the material crashed in Wakanda decades ago, and the people were able to trade it commercially and learn from it scientifically, making them and economic and military superpower that no one would dare attack.
Except Dr. Doom.
This guy would dare anything. For those who don’t know, Dr. Doom is extremely intelligent. It’s always Doom vs. the aforementioned Reed Richards. these guys are the de facto smartest guys on the planet. Oh yeah, Black Panther is also as smart as them.
It turned out Doom wanted the vibranium because it had mystical properties that he could use to take over the world.
Even he wasn’t looking for a frontal assault on Wakanda, though. He spent months sowing dissent in the country, infesting the populace with nanomachines he could use to spy on them. He fomented a revolution by a dissident party that he himself was funding.
Black Panther managed to rid himself of the nanomachines, but Storm was left behind to face the music. As the Queen of Wakanda, she had to answer for all the issues the dissident part claimed the Black Panther was responsible for. She was sentenced for execution.
BP ran off to the X-Men for help, but meanwhile Doom again confronted Storm after many years. He demanded she unlock some of the many locks on the vibranium. Storm was forced to watch Doom kill people and even take physical beatings from the man because she didn’t dare strike back. Doom was just too ruthless.
The thing about this series was that I really don’t care if it was politics or not, every X-Man they had left should have been parachuting into that country to get her back, and yeah I’m even talking about the mutant kids. Get your asses in there and help her out!
You know how many X-Men showed up? Three. THREE?? Wolverine, Colossus and Nightcrawler. Damn, man. That’s cold.
So as a result of this story, Black Panther essentially exiles himself from Wakanda because of the harsh decisions he had to make. Of all places, he heads to Hell’s Kitchen to take over for Daredevil while he’s away.
Daredevil had just went crazy a bit earlier during the Shadowland event, and now he had to go “find himself” or something. Black Panther decided to step in an do some soul searching, so he kicked Storm to the curb for awhile so he could handle business alone.
So for now, we can see Storm in the Astonishing X-Men series, in which Storm has to do something with her time.
Well, at least you can. I ain’t reading that sh*t. I picked up a few issues but I didn’t like it too much. I especially don’t like comics with Emma Frost in them. Can’t stand that character.
So with all this said. Storm was kind of hit or miss with me.
I mean, her look just always strikes me hard. I just start thinking about it.
Well, it didn’t always strike me. When I was a kid I really didn’t care. I remember being surprised by my parents’ reactions to Storm. Many times I would show my parents what I was reading if there was a black character in it, and when I showed my Dad it went left on me…
Me: “Hey, check out this comic, there’s a black woman in it…”
Dad: “Yeah sure…what the f*ck?!? Why’s she look like that? Good googa mooga!”
Me (to myself): Ok he’s acting up, let me show this to my mom.
Mom: “What the f*ck is that?!?”
Me: They are both trippin…
Except they weren’t. Years later I would start thinking about it more. I don’t know what happened when they created the character – there’s interviews and stories about what they were doing, but I still can’t know for sure. I mean, look at the picture again:
They really went for a rainbow coalition there. The team wasn’t all white people. They were trying to do something really socially progressive there.
What always gets me is the white hair and blue eyes. Why? It’s like putting in a regular black woman with black hair and brown eyes wasn’t good enough or something.
There’s no way to know for sure, but it always leaves me with a slight disdain for the character.
There was such a great chance for young Black girls to have a hero to look up to, except right from jump-street they’ll be forced to acknowledge “wait, that’s not me. I don’t have white hair or blue eyes”.
Of course we’re talking about a woman who can control the weather, so they obviously can’t do that, either. Still, these sorts of things aren’t exactly logical.
The “in-story” reasons are of course that these traits are because of her mutation. I also remember one X-Men story after Storm was believed dead (when she came back as a child), she was in the hospital and the doctor remarked (with shock) that she didn’t have any negroid features. Ah, we built that sh*t right into the story now!
Little did they know they set it up perfectly for Halle Berry to step right into the role.
Anyway, the real reason for this is that she was created by white men who probably didn’t realize the opportunity they had. I mean, I think these guys were trying to do something awesome and create these cool minority-type characters.
Even though they made an enduring character, there’s that slight misstep that has most brothas and sistas kind of giving Storm that sideways stink-eye. I know I always do.
THE WRAP UP
Well, whole papers can be (and have been) written on Storm. She’s a strong Black woman with some cool, formidable powers that has the utmost respect in the super-hero community.
To me, drawbacks are that she’s married. To me, marriage is always bad in the comics, and married characters are less interesting to me -so I don’t buy their books.
Another drawback is she’s now showing up in that Astonishing X-Men. She’s not exactly playing second fiddle, but she’s not really in charge of an X-team anymore. I think she works better when she’s running the show, but I don’t see how that can really happen unless she divorces Black Panther and abdicates her throne.
It could definitely happen in the comics, so I’ll be on the lookout for that. Anyway until then check out this pencil art and stay tuned for the next hero!