Written by: Greg Pak

Artwork by: Victor Ibanez

Ororo Munroe a.k.a. Storm, member of the X-Men, soars to a village in Santo Marco to prevent its devastation by a Tsunami. After saving the day Storm is welcomed with open arms by the populace, until a group of militants affiliated by a hotel conglomerate order her to leave. Knowing the ramifications of staying and causing an incident that could harm the villagers, Storm complies. As she returns to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning; she comes across an obstinate young girl named Marisol, who causes the wind rider to rethink the situation in Santo Marco, as well as who she is as a role model and a superhero.

Storm is an interesting and fascinating character to watch through the comics. She was one of the first few black main characters in mainstream comics alongside notable characters like The Falcon, Black Panther, Blade, and Luke Cage. She was a true trailblazer in that she was not just another token woman/person of color on the team, but she was one of the most powerful members, eventually assuming command over the X-Men years later by beating Cyclops while she had lost her mutant abilities (yet had a really cool mohawk hairdo).

Throughout the years, despite the oft-frustrating prevalence of “male gaze” in comic books, she always comes across as graceful and as fierce as the elements she commands. She’s soft spoken like a gentle breeze, but can split the heavens with a thunderous shout. She appears gentle as a spring day, but is as mighty as a Category-Five hurricane. However, aside from her being editorially shoe-horned into a marriage with Black Panther with little to no build-up, she’s also been sort of a non-entity in the group at large; which is nothing short of a crime, in my opinion.

I liked that this issue took us inside Storm’s thoughts and feelings as a character, showcasing her strength and indomitable spirit in the face of adversity. She doesn’t take crap from anyone, be it an anti-mutant military thug or Hank McCoy, her teammate known as Beast. But she also shows her understanding and compassionate side when defending the villagers or simply talking to a distraught student.

The artwork by Victor Ibanez is very crisp and detailed. During the scenes of Storm walking among the clouds or using tornados to disperse the Tsunami, she looks majestic and powerful. But, once more, she shows a tender understanding when speaking with Marisol, the discouraged young mutant in this issue, whose power of manipulating of her surroundings is reminiscent of The Fisher King. I suppose that was the point behind giving her a power similar to Storm’s own ability to affect her environment. It’s a nice subtle nod to Arthurian Legend.

That being said, Marisol’s characterization is something I found lacking in the story. She’s used simply as a plot device to urge Storm to go back and help the people of Santo Marco rebuild. But Storm had the urge to do that anyway, she didn’t really need to be insulted into doing the right thing or being dressed down for supposedly “pulling kids out of their homes and communities” to “indoctrinate them on mutant ideology” If you’re going to have that conversation, it should’ve been handled much better and more maturely than simply a homesick teenager throwing a tantrum.

To be perfectly honest, the whole scene is very clumsily handled and not indicative of the quality I know Greg Pak is capable of. He crafted Planet Hulk, one of the best comic book stories to come out in the last decade, so I know he’s capable of better characterization. Storm had it right when she commented on Marisol calling her a “sellout.” It’s a “stupid, lazy insult.” And in the end, she gets what she wants anyway, as well as an apology for basically being a brat.

Another problem I have is that the issue’s main conflict (namely the Santo Marco villagers being run out by a hotel conglomerate’s private army) really seemed rather weak. After Storm decides to do the right thing, it’s handled with little fanfare, despite Henry saying that her interference would spark an international incident earlier in the issue. I grant that the mouthpiece for the shock troops was as transparently condescending and bigoted as possible; it still presented a moral conflict that wasn’t really a conflict even though we’re told that it is. Not that it felt any less satisfying to see them get their comeuppance.

Aside from some minor plot quibbles, Storm #1 is a well-made, finely drawn first issue in what I hope is good solo series that keeps plugging along. We need more spotlight on more women, people of color, as well as X-Characters who AREN’T Wolverine or Deadpool.

 

(Editor’s note: Like this article? Want to hear more about our beloved Ororo? Check out the sister article written by Tara Clapper, set to premier Thursday, July 31st!)

 

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