Hey X fans! We’re back though minus the Spider-Man Geek who is off saving the planet or just home enjoying some good beever tail. That leaves Infinite Speech and The Comic Book Clergyman who actually ended up picking the same book for this week’s column. And it seems like they have different opinions about the outcome of the newest mutant title, Storm! So as the two attempt to solve their differences over an intense game of Extreme Chutes & Ladders enjoy what they have to say about the introductory issue!
The difficult part of long-time characters getting their own solo series is that you have to reintroduce them while also making them fresh. I was very pleased to see Greg Pak’s name on the cover of this book, as he has done some of my all-time favorite Marvel books in the last decade including Magneto: Testament and Planet Hulk. Storm has sorely deserved her own title for a long time not only because she is an African female character, but she is one of the most underutilized strong characters in the X-Men.
Marvel hasn’t quite known what to do with Ororo since she divorced Black Panther, then briefly joined the Avengers, then played hopscotch on the two sides of the X-Men schism. She is now the headmistress of the Jean Grey School, which suits her much better than anything else she’s done recently. However, Pak had a huge task ahead of him in writing this book, and while I think he is a fantastic writer, I don’t think this is the book for him.
One thing you can guarantee in a Storm story is that it will either take place in an African village, the Morlock Tunnels, Wakanda, or Dracula’s castle. Take a guess which one this is. As Infinite Speech correctly said in our conversation about this book earlier, “Getting mad at Storm going back to a village in Africa and later fighting Callisto is like getting mad at Wolverine for going to Canada who at some point will fight Sabretooth.” He is most definitely correct here, and that’s why this was so disappointing.
The story has Ororo saving a village from a tsunami. She is revered for her power by all, except the typical militaristic warlord who comes to oppress the people and tell Storm that she’s not welcome. Trying not to start an international incident, she leaves and goes home, only to be confronted by a new student at the school who is rethinking her decision to come to the school. The student bravely calls Storm out, which pisses Storm off. This incident sends her back to help the village anyway, and she ends up taking out the warlords. It ends with her going back and apologizing to the student and takes her back to her family.
Pak’s moral seems to be that you can’t help who you are, but you must be true to yourself even if you are a mutant. While that’s a great premise, I thought the presentation was a bit clunky. We didn’t have to endure Storm’s entire backstory, but even so, we get a decent introduction to the character, despite the inclusion of several Storm tropes.
The art, however, was stronger than the story, and Ibanez is a good fit for the character. He displays Storm’s strength well as well as her beauty. The work is detailed and well-designed.
If you’re not a long-time X-Men fan, I’d say pick this up. But for those of us who have seen this kind of story over and over again, don’t bother. Next issue has Storm fighting Callisto, because you just can’t go too long without that. -JJ
This series has been a long time coming and as far as I’m concerned it’s off to a pretty good start. With Pak offering to dive right into the immediate story instead of going back to give us over thirty years of Storm’s history in flashbacks. Instead, he gives you a pretty powerful summary of the type of girl she was and the woman she is in just two pages. From how she uses her powers to her state of mind, Pak makes this a comfortable introduction to a new reader as well as making sure to keep the pace moving for those veteran Storm fan.
The story itself takes us to the village of Santo Marco where Storm is dealing with a natural disaster but her presence isn’t welcome by the local government. While at home she is confronted by a new student about the X-Men’s recruitment practices and during the argument the young mutant’s comments strike hard. By having Storm fight these two battles on both emotional and moral fronts he’s given us a more engaging Storm than we’ve seen in a while. She’s arrogant, determined, fierce, yet flawed in a way that only strengthens her character.
The issue also boasts some very strong visuals from Ibanez that pull every part of emotion needed to move the story along. Whether it’s Storm helping the villagers rebuild their homes with her bare hands to Marisol putting Storm on notice. The issue is panel after panel of great visual storytelling. Another very good point about the artwork is the fact that unlike some artists, Ibanez doesn’t draw people of color like European characters who are just shaded various types of brown. This is just something that gets overlooked too often and it’s nice to see that it doesn’t here.
The only part of the story that didn’t sit too well with me was that Storm is yet again in Africa. Now part of it is because we were recently given an adventure involving Storm and Africa and it seems to be the “go to” for some writers when she goes solo. Though it is understandable that when Storm is in need of some personal time and space she will venture back to the continent of her birth. It just seems to happen too often. At least in this issue it was a more pleasant read than most.
Even with the familiar elements in this issue, Pak and Ibanez tell one great story to start off Storm’s series. Hopefully with the familiar we also get the new as the series goes further and expands on Orroro’s character. With Callisto showing up in the next issue it’s going interesting to see what Pak’s take will be on their relationship. So this is a strong introduction for both new and old fans and I’d suggest picking up Storm and giving it a try!