In July 2014, Marvel launched a new off-shoot series for life-long X-Men member and wind goddess: Storm (aka Ororo Munroe) titled Storm. Always a dominant and prominent character in the X-Men universe, Storm has assumed many roles over the years – goddess, thief, teacher, wife, queen, leader, X-Man – but rarely have these roles been when she is the central figure of her own series. From its debut to the issue eleven release in May, Storm has been a refreshing take on this popular character with well-written storylines, detailed artwork, and truly understanding characterization.
At the helm of this creative endeavor is long-time Marvel writer Greg Pak, known for his tenure on X-Treme X-Men’s second run, X-Men: Phoenix – Endsong, X-Men: Phoenix – Warsong, and his 2006 – 2007 run of Incredible Hulk – and artist Victor Ibanez. Pak has created a tight and balanced story structure throughout the first eleven issues. He shifts between a micro-level interior monologue of Storm’s perspective and the broader happenings in the world around her—such as disaster relief and runaway teens. Pak’s dialogue moves between the poignant moments and the bigger action sequences, never lingering too long.
The first few issues of the new run find the goddess grappling with the “big picture” questions – Who am I? What do I stand for? Am I doing right or wrong? Am I helping anymore? What is it that I should be doing with my life? Why do I do this anymore? Using these larger moral and personal issues, Pak sets up a globe-wandering journey for Storm that takes her to see some old friends, like Yukio and Callisto, and new places.
Storm has a long and complicated history (what superhero doesn’t?), and Pak makes it easy for any new reader to pick up the book without having to know it all. The dialogue, particularly the inner monologues, is filled with optimism and hope. Everything is quick and to the point. Pak has made Storm a complicated and flawed protagonist, using her often cited pride and arrogance to round out her character, without creating a complicated series.
Ibanez brings Pak’s vision of Storm to life on the page with precision and care. In particular, Ibanez shines with his close-up reaction and expression shots of Storm – anger, sadness, joy, loss, self-doubt – complimenting Pak’s dialogue.
Being the first leading female African-American character in the Marvel Universe has made Storm a historically significant and iconic character. She remains one of the most popular female figures and is consistently written as a strong, independent woman with very real and nuanced emotions and struggles. For a character that spends so much time with her head in the clouds, she has been a consistently realistic portrayal of a person struggling to find place, identity, and meaning in life.
Therefore, when it was decided to give Storm her own book, Marvel knew that it had to make sure that everything was to the highest standard and not just one of their regular throwaway miniseries. From the very first page of the first issue, there is a lot going on and it does not stop there. Pak, Ibanez, and the rest of his team have worked hard to ensure that each issue is packed with the rich dialogue, grace, and introspection that Storm is known for.
The first eleven issues over the past year have proven that female superheroes can not only carry their own books in what is arguably an over-saturated male market to begin with, but there is a way to create dynamic, powerful female characters. Storm has been a successful and interesting run so far, and with Pak and his team continuing to write, will no doubt continue to pack a hurricane-sized punch each month.
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