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Storm (Marvel Comics)

Storm (Ororo Iqadi T'Challa, née Munroe) is a fictional character that appears in a number of comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975), and was created by writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum. Best known as a leader of the X-Men, Storm is currently the reigning queen of Wakanda, a title held by marriage to King T'Challa, better known as the Black Panther.

Storm has been featured in comic books, animated television series, video games, and the live action 20th Century Fox X-Men film series, where she is played by Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning actress Halle Berry.

Publication history

Origin of Storm (1970s)

Storm first appeared in 1975 in the famous Giant Size X-Men #1 comic, written by Len Wein and pencilled by Dave Cockrum. In this comic, Wein uses a battle against the living island Krakoa to replace the first-generation X-Men of the 1960s with new X-Men. Storm was an amalgamation of several characters Cockrum intended to use for the Legion of Super-Heroes. In a 1999 interview, Cockrum said that the original black female of the Legion would have been called The Black Cat. According to him, she had Storm's costume but without the cape, and a cat-like haircut with tufts for ears. However, other female cat characters like Tigra had appeared, so Cockrum redesigned his new character, giving her white hair and the cape, and created Storm. When colleagues remarked that Storm’s white hair made her look like a grandmother, and thus, presumably unpopular, he just said: “Trust me.”

Chris Claremont, who followed up Wein as the writer of the flagship title Uncanny X-Men in 1975, embraced Storm and started writing many notable X-Men stories, among them the God Loves, Man Kills and Dark Phoenix Saga arcs, which respectively served as the base for the films X2: X-Men United and X-Men 3. In both arcs, Storm is written as a major supporting character. This was a harbinger of things to come, as Claremont stayed the main writer of that comic book for the next 16 years and consequently wrote most of the publications containing Storm.

In Uncanny X-Men #102 (December 1976), Claremont established Storm's backstory. Ororo's mother, N'Dare, is the princess of a tribe in Kenya and the descendant of a long line of Africans with white hair, blue eyes, and a natural gift for sorcery. N'Dare falls in love with and marries African American photojournalist David Munroe. They move to Harlem in uptown New York City, where she becomes pregnant with Ororo and bears her, and then to Egypt during the Suez Crisis, where they are killed in a botched aircraft attack and leave six-year-old Ororo as an orphan. There, her violent claustrophobia is also established as a result of being buried under tons of rubble after that attack. She then becomes a skilled thief in Cairo under the benign Achmed el-Gibar and wanders into the Serengeti as a young woman. There, she is worshipped as a goddess before being recruited by Professor X for the X-Men.

Claremont further fleshed out Storm’s backstory in Uncanny X-Men #117 (January 1979). He retroactively added that Professor X, who recruits her in Giant Size X-Men #1 of 1975, had already met her as a child in Cairo. As Ororo grows up on the streets and becomes a proficient thief under the tutelage of master thief Achmed el-Gibar, one of her most notable victims was Charles Francis Xavier, later Professor X. He is able to use his mental powers to temporarily prevent her escape and recognizes the potential in her. However, when Xavier is attacked mentally by Amahl Farouk, the Shadow King, the two men are preoccupied enough with their battle to allow the girl to escape. Both Xavier and the Shadow King recognize Storm as the young girl later.

Punk revival (1980s)

In the following issues, Claremont portrayed Storm as a serene, independent character. Although Storm was initially written having trouble adjusting to Western culture, e.g. calling the obligation to cover herself up in a public bath "absurd," she earns a lot of respect: in Uncanny X-Men #139 (November 1980), Claremont established her as the leader of the X-Men after Cyclops took a leave of absence, a position she holds in various incarnations. Claremont also made Storm especially harbor motherly feelings for the youngest X-Man, 13-year old Kitty Pryde. In Marvel Team-Up #100 (December 1980), Claremont wrote a short story in which he retroactively established that Storm, then 12 years old, saves a young Black Panther from racist thugs when they both are in Kenya. This story would later become a base for later writers to establish a deeper relationship between both characters.

In X-Men Annual #5, the X-Men travel with the Fantastic Four to help Arkon the Imperion defeat lizard-like Badoon invaders who had taken over his kingdom. Storm and Arkon share a kiss at the end of the issue, as she turns down his offer to make her his queen.

In the early eighties, adventures of Storm written by Claremont included a space opera arc, in which the X-Men fight parasitic beings called the Brood. Storm is infected with a Brood egg and contemplates suicide, but then experiences a last-minute save by the benign whale-like Acanti aliens. In the following arc, Claremont further established Storm's character strength. He wrote a story in which Storm's fellow X-Man Angel is abducted by a rogue mutant group called the Morlocks. The X-Men are hopelessly outnumbered, and Storm is rendered sick by the Morlock called Plague. Only one solution is left; an X-Man must defeat the Morlock's leader Callisto in a duel to the death. At first, Storm's colleague, Nightcrawler, wants to battle her, but Storm states that since she leads the X-Men, she must fight Callisto. Despite being violently sick, she defeats Callisto by impaling her through the heart and nearly kills her.

In Uncanny X-Men #173, October 1983, a notable move was made by changing Storm's costume and appearance. Writer Claremont and artist Paul Smith created a new look, abandoning her old costume for black leather top and pants, and changing her former veil of white hair into a punk Mohawk. In a 2008 interview, Smith regretted the change as "a bad joke gone too far... I knew that they were going to cut the hair, so as a joke I put a Mr. T mohawk on her... [editor] Louise Simonson said 'We're gonna get hung no matter what we do, so let's commit the crime!' So we went with the Mohawk... But once you get into the whole leather and stud thing it was a bad joke that got way out of hand."

In the actual story, Storm's outlook on life darkens after her struggles with the Brood. These changes alienate her from Kitty for a time. Storm is influenced in this by Yukio, a lover of Wolverine who becomes one of her dearest friends. To flesh out Storm’s love life, Claremont wrote an arc in which fellow mutant Forge develops a mutant power neutralizing gun. The intended target is another X-Man, Rogue, who because of her criminal history and a recent encounter with some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, is believed to be a terrorist. When the shady U.S. government operative Henry Peter Gyrich aims at Rogue, he accidentally hits Storm, taking away her powers. Forge saves Storm from death and takes her back to his home in Dallas, Texas to recover. With his help, she adjusts to life without her powers, and they slowly fall in love. Later, Storm overhears a phone conversation between Forge and Gyrich, and discovers Forge built the weapon that took her powers. She is heartbroken and leaves him.

However, Claremont continued to write her as a strong character, letting a depowered Storm win against Cyclops for the leadership of the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #201 (1986). In the late eighties, Claremont wrote arcs in which Storm, again portrayed with a costume and hairstyle closer to her original, temporarily joins the shady Hellfire Club (1987), is trapped in another dimension with Forge and regains her elemental powers,and is captured by the evil cyborg Nanny. Although believed slain in that encounter, she resurfaced, having become amnesiac as a result of being physically regressed to childhood by Nanny. She is hunted by the evil telepath Shadow King and framed for murder, and finally returns to thieving before regaining her memories back. In the following arc, The X-Tinction Agenda, she is kidnapped to the mutant-exploiting fictional nation of Genosha and is temporarily transformed into a brainwashed mutate, but is in the end restored physically and mentally to her adult prime.

Growth as a character (1990s)

In October 1991, the X-Men franchise was re-launched, centering on the new eponymous X-Men (vol. 2) comic. Claremont wrote Storm as the leader as the X-Men's Gold Team; the other team, Blue, is led by her colleague Cyclops, the X-Man she once succeeded as leader. When Claremont left the X-Men comic after 16 years since his debut in Uncanny X-Men #94 (1975), he was replaced by Jim Lee, who continued portraying her as a strong leader. In the sister title Uncanny X-Men, now under Scott Lobdell, Lobdell continued on the romance between Storm and Forge eventually having Forge propose to Storm in 1992. Storm hesitates and is about to say yes when Forge misinterprets her reaction and rescinds his offer before Storm can speak. Lobdell waited until November 1993 before he let a deeply hurt Storm and Forge make up with each other. In 1995, Lobdell continued with an arc which pitted the X-Men against the Morlocks again. As Claremont did with Callisto in 1983, Lobdell let Storm end the battle by mortally wounding her opponent at the heart. This time, Storm rips out one heart of the two-hearted Morlock girl Marrow, who had fixed a bomb to it. In February 1996, Storm got her first miniseries, the eponymous Storm. In these four issues, Ellis wrote a story in which Storm is sucked into an alternate dimension and pitted against villain Mikhail Rasputin.

Contemporary Storm (2000s)

In X-Treme X-Men, conceived by a newly-reinstated Chris Claremont in July 2001, Storm was written as the leader of this team of more street-wise X-Men, including the former thief Gambit, former Brotherhood member Rogue, Sage, anti-hero Bishop, Psylocke, and the more tame Thunderbird. This was in contrast to its more strait-laced sister titles, Uncanny X-Men and New X-Men. In the period until its end in issue #46 (June 2004), Claremont continued to write Storm as the central character. During this time, Storm enjoys a brief flirtation with younger fellow X-Man Slipstream and is kidnapped by the intergalactic warlord Khan. Khan wants to make her his queen, but Storm defeats him. In the series, she also becomes leader of the fictional X-Treme Sanctions Executive, a special police task force of mutants policing mutants given worldwide authority.

In the aftermath of the 2005 House of M storyline (written by Brian Michael Bendis), 90% of the mutants lost their powers. Storm is among the 198 mutants who retain their powers. Also in that year, the miniseries Ororo: Before the Storm of Mark Sumerak retold her backstory in greater detail, concentrating on her relationship with surrogate father figure Achmed el-Gibar during her childhood. In the following year, Marvel Comics announced that Ororo would marry fellow African super hero Black Panther. Collaborating writer Eric Jerome Dickey explained that it was a move to explicitly target the female and African American audience. Though the events of Storm's relationship with Black Panther were never written beforehand, the initial meeting of the characters was retconned without explanation. Initially, in Marvel Team-Up #100 (1980), Storm is seen at age twelve rescuing Black Panther from a white racist called Andreas de Ruyter, but in Dickey's miniseries, T'Challa saves Ororo (who is still twelve) from de Ruyter and his brother. A Black Panther #24 (2006) flashback is ambiguous when it comes to the physical aspect of their first meeting, while the miniseries has Ororo lose her virginity to T'Challa a few days after they meet. Collaborating writer Axel Alonso, editor of Black Panther, has stated: "Eric's story, for all intents and purposes (...) is Ororo's origin story." The relationship led to the marriage of the two most prominent black African Marvel Comics heroes in Black Panther #18 by writer Reginald Hudlin, July 2006, as a tie-in to the Civil War storyline. Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada was highly supportive of this marriage, stating it was the Marvel Comics equivalent of the marriage of "Lady Diana and Prince Charles," and he expected both characters to emerge strengthened. Shawn Dudley, the Emmy-Award Winning Costume Designer for TV's Guiding Light designed Storm's wedding dress, which was revealed in April 17th issue of TV Guide, though the design was greatly altered for the comic event. Quesada's prediction has begun to be born out in a Black Panther story arc that followed Storm and T'Challa's wedding where the newly married couple go on a World Tour, meeting with other known royalties such as Doctor Doom, Namor, and Black Bolt of the Inhumans. With Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman taking time off to work on their marriage in the aftermath of the Civil War, Storm and Black Panther become temporary members of the Fantastic Four alongside the Human Torch and the Thing in 2007. Storm later returned to the Uncanny X-Men.

Storm has joined the newly formed Astonishing X-Men (#25). Storm states that her official reason for joining the team is that Wakanda is a supporter of Mutantes Sans Frontieres and she believes she should be on the frontline, however she is also at least somewhat bored of her life as queen.

Historical significance

Storm was one of the first black comic book characters, and the first black female, to play either a major or supporting role in the big two comic book houses, Marvel Comics and DC Comics. Within these two companies, her 1975 debut was only preceded by a few male black characters. In Marvel Comics, preceding characters were Gabe Jones (debuted in 1963), Black Panther (1966), Bill Foster (1966), Spider-Man supporting characters Joe Robertson (1967) and his son Randy (1968) and Hobie Brown, The Falcon (1969), Luke Cage (1972), Blade (1973) and Abe Brown (1974). In DC Comics, she was preceded by Teen Titans member Mal Duncan who debuted in 1970, Green Lantern wielder John Stewart (1971), and Mister Miracle protégé Shilo Norman (1973); she preceded DC's other black heroes, Legion of Super-Heroes member Tyroc (who debuted in 1976), and Black Lightning (who debuted in 1977) Cyborg (1982) also in the Teen Titans. While not the first black character to be introduced, since her creation, Storm has remained the most successful and recognizable black superhero.

Fictional character biography

Ever since her inception in 1975, Storm's biography has largely stayed the same. The framework was laid first by Chris Claremont, who fleshed out her backstory in Uncanny X-Men #102 (1976) and Uncanny X-Men #117 (1979). Some reinterpretations were made in 2005 and 2006, where writers Mark Sumerak and Eric Jerome Dickey, respectively, rewrote part of her early history in the miniseries Ororo: Before the Storm and Storm (vol. 2).

According to established Marvel canon, Ororo Munroe is born in New York City as the child of Kenyan tribal princess N’Dare and African-American photographer David Munroe. While stationed in Egypt during the Suez Crisis, a fighter jet crashes into her parents’ house, killing them. Buried under tons of rubble, Ororo survives but is orphaned and left with intense claustrophobia. In Cairo, she is picked up by the benign street lord Achmed el-Gibar and becomes a prolific thief; among her victims is her future mentor Professor X who is there to meet the Shadow King. Following an inner urge, she wanders into the Serengeti as a teenager and meets T’Challa, who would become her future husband. Despite strong mutual feelings, the two part ways.

In the Serengeti, Ororo first displays her mutant ability to control the weather. For a time, she is worshipped as a rain goddess to an African tribe, practicing nudism and tribal spirituality, before being recruited by Professor X into the X-Men. Ororo receives the code name “Storm” and is established as a strong, serene character. In her early career with the X-Men, she suffers a major claustrophobic attack, which prompts a revelation of her origin to her teammates. When Magneto captures the team, Storm frees the X-Men from captivity. Storm is later captured by the White Queen, leading up to the X-Men's clash with Dark Phoenix. She becomes deputy leader of the X-Men, and supplants her colleague Cyclops as leader of the X-Men, a role she fills out during most of her time as a superhero. She briefly became "Rogue Storm", and even switched bodies with the White Queen. She is attacked by Dracula, and defeats Callisto, becoming the new leader of the Morlocks.

Storm is eventually deprived of her superhuman powers by a gun fired by Henry Peter Gyrich; unknown to her, this device was designed by the mutant inventor Forge. The depowered Ororo then first meets and falls in love with Forge, although he does not initially tell her that he is responsible for her power loss. She helps Forge battle Dire Wraiths, before leaving him to rejoin the X-Men. She aids the New Mutants against the Shadow King Amahl Farouk. She next journeys to Asgard with the X-Men, where she is briefly enslaved by Loki. She is nearly killed in a confrontation with Andreas von Strucker. She defeats Cyclops in a competition to become the X-Men's leader. Not long after that she is reunited with Forge, regains her superhuman powers, and dies with the X-Men in giving her life force to defeat the Adversary; she is resurrected by Roma. She is reverted to childhood by the mutant Nanny, meets Gambit, and is finally returned to adulthood - however, she is enslaved by the Genoshans, but regains her free will and escapes captivity. Concerning her personal life, she is for a long time romantically involved with fellow X-Man Forge, and even considers marrying him before breaking up.

After 90% of the mutants of the world lose their powers, Storm leaves the X-Men to go to Africa; rekindles her relationship with T’Challa, now a superhero known as Black Panther; marries him; and becomes the queen of the kingdom of Wakanda and joins the new Fantastic Four alongside her husband when Reed and Sue take a vacation. On a recent mission in space, the Watcher told Black Panther and Storm that their children would have a special destiny. Upon Reed and Sue's return to the Fantastic Four, Storm and the Black Panther leave, with Storm returning to the Uncanny X-Men to help out with events in Messiah Complex.

Powers and abilities

Weather control

Storm is one of the most powerful human mutants in the Marvel Universe. Storm has demonstrated a plethora of abilities, most of which are facets of her power to control the weather. Storm possesses the psionic ability to control all forms of weather over limited areas. She can control the temperature of the environment, control all forms of precipitation, humidity and moisture, generate lightning and other electromagnetic atmospheric phenomena, and has demonstrated excellent control over atmospheric pressure. She can incite all forms of meteorological tempests, such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, blizzards, and is capable of summoning a hurricane, as well as mist. She can dissipate such weather to form clear skies as well.

Her precise control over the atmosphere allows her to create special weather effects. She can create precipitation at higher or lower altitudes than normal, make whirlwinds travel pointing lengthwise in any direction, absorb ambient electromagnetism and output it as electric blasts from her body, flash freeze objects and people, coalesce atmospheric pollutants into acid rain or toxic fog, and summon wind currents strong enough to support her weight to elevate herself to fly at high altitudes and speeds.

Aside from the atmosphere, Storm has on rare occasions demonstrated the ability to control natural forces that include cosmic storms, solar wind, ocean currents, and the electromagnetic field. She has demonstrated the ability to separate water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen via electrolysis, allowing her to breathe underwater. While in outer space, she is able to affect and manipulate the interstellar and intergalactic mediums. Storm can alter her visual perceptions so as to see the universe in terms of energy patterns, detecting the flow of kinetic, thermal and electromagnetic energy behind weather phenomena and bending this energy to her will.

Storm has shown to be sensitive to the dynamics of the natural world, and her psionic powers over weather are affected by her emotions. One consequence of this connection to nature is that she often suppresses extreme feelings to prevent her emotional state from resulting in violent weather. She has sensed a diseased and dying tree on the X-Mansion grounds, detected objects within various atmospheric mediums--including water, and sensed the incorrect motion of a hurricane in the Northern Hemisphere and the gravitational stress on the tides by the Moon and Sun as well as the distortion of a planet's magnetosphere. Storm's mutant abilities are limited by her willpower and the strength of her body. In Black Panther #21, a sentinel identified Storm as a possible Omega-level mutant.

Magical potential

Storm's ancestry supports the use of magic and witchcraft. Many of her ancestors were sorceresses and priestesses. Storm's matrilineal powers have even been linked to the real-world Rain Queens of Balobedu, the region from which her Sorceress Supreme ancestor, Ayesha, hails. The Mystic Arcana series deals with Storm's ancestor Ashake, who worships the Egyptian goddess Ma'at, also known as Oshtur—the mother of Agamotto. Some of Storm's alternate universe selves possess considerable magical talent. Although Storm has not developed her magical potential, it has been hinted at. The Mystic Arcana series lists the characters with magic potential according to the Marvel Tarot deck. The Tarot asserts Storm as being "High Priestess," the First Tarot's choice one-third of the time. The other draws were the Scarlet Witch and Agatha Harkness. These three characters split the High Priestess card equally. On a separate note, it has been stated that Storm's spirit is so strong that she was able to host the consciousness of Eternity, a feat which very few Marvel characters can accomplish without dying.

Combat and thievery

Storm has been additionally portrayed as a skilled thief, markswoman, and a gifted hand-to-hand fighter, trained by Achmed el-Gibar, Professor X, and Wolverine. By using superior strategy, Storm has overcome physically stronger foes like Callisto and the Crimson Commando in hand-to-hand combat. Storm is an excellent marksman with handguns. Storm is also fluent in Arabic and Swahili. As part of her paraphernalia, Storm carries a set of lock-picks (with which she has an extraordinary ability at picking locks) and her ancestral ruby, which allows inter-dimensional transportation with the help of her lightning.

Physical abilities and traits

Storm's physiology grants her a limited immunity to extreme weather conditions and temperatures of heat and cold. Her body compensates for rapid decreases or increases in atmospheric pressure. She can see in near-complete darkness and has superb dexterity. Storm has been described as having one of the strongest wills among the X-Men, making her highly resistant to psychic attacks especially in tandem with electrical fields she creates around herself. Telepaths have found it difficult to track her down and probe her thoughts. Several of these traits are independent of her mutant status and are a result of her ancestry. Also, when utilizing her powers, Storm's eyes turn solid white.

Other versions

In addition to her mainstream incarnation, Storm has had been depicted in other fictional universes.

In other media

Television

  • Storm first made guest appearances on the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends in the episodes titled "A Firestar Is Born", "The Education of a Superhero", and "The X-Men Adventure" alongside various other X-Men. She was voiced by Kathy Garver in "The X-Men Adventure" and Annie Lockhart in "A Firestar Is Born".
  • In 1989, Storm then appeared in a TV pilot that later was released on video in Pryde of the X-Men. Andi Chapman provided her voice.
  • Her third and longest TV incarnation was in the X-Men animated series of the mid-1990s, where she was originally voiced by Iona Morris for the first season and the first 7 episodes of Season 2, and then Alison Sealy-Smith for the rest of the series and the final version of the Season 1 episodes replacing Morris as the voice of Storm.
  • She guest starred in Spider-Man: The Animated Series in the 1990s in first the fourth and fifth episodes of Season 2, along with the rest of the X-Men, and then toward the end, Storm appears in all of the Secret Wars arc episodes in which Morris resumes the role.
  • In X-Men: Evolution, Storm is portrayed as a teacher at Professor X's Xavier Institute. In this version, she is the aunt of young X-Man Evan Daniels (codename Spyke) and a member of the staff at the Xavier Institute. She is also the keeper of the X-Mansion's greenhouse. She was voiced by Canadian actress, Kirsten Williamson.
  • Storm appears in the Robot Chicken episode "Sausage Fest." She is among the featured X-Men that are killed in battle against a Sentinel. Professor X has Moses Hightower wear Storm's original costume.
  • She appears in Wolverine and the X-Men. She wears a somewhat modified version of her Uncanny X-Men/Fantastic Four costume. She is voiced by actress Susan Dalian. Storylines such as her past as a child thief and involvement with the Shadow King are maintained.
  • Storm appears in the first 5 novels in the X-Men: Dimensions series, only not appearing in the final book. It states that she was killed by a modified sentinel.
  • Storm has, on occasion, appeared in American television commercials for Universal Studios theme park and Visa Checkcards.

Film

Storm appears in the movies X-Men, X2: X-Men United, and X-Men: The Last Stand, portrayed by Halle Berry. Storm received little screen time in the first film and took a backseat to characters such as Wolverine and Jean Grey. In the second film, Storm had more screen time, but no real story. Berry rallied for more character development, and her role was enhanced in the third film, with new director Brett Ratner. She was considering not reprising her role as Storm after constant arguments with original X-Men director Bryan Singer. In the first film, Berry portrays Storm with a Kenyan accent, which was an aspect decidedly left out of the following two films. For her role in the third X-Men film, Berry received a People's Choice Awards for "Best Female Action Hero." While accepting the award, she encouraged fans to write letters to X-Men producer Tom Rothman if they want to see an "X-Men 4.

Video games

Theme park ride

Along with Doctor Doom, the Hulk, and Spider-Man, Storm also has a ride in Marvel Super Hero Island of Universal Studios. The ride, based on a common teacup ride, is called "Storm Force Acceleration". It includes fog effects and strobe lights (to simulate lightning) which can be seen if ridden after dark. She is the first superheroine and X-Man to have a ride named after her.

Awards

In the 2007 Glyph Comics Awards, the Fan Award for Best Comic was won by Storm, by Eric Jerome Dickey, David Yardin & Lan Medina, and Jay Leisten & Sean Parsons.

Notes

References

See also

External links

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