Nostalgia is the magic word this week, summoning a new solo title for the one and only weather witch of the X-Men, Storm. It’s time for her to step out from the shadow of the team and take up her own adventure. After all, wasn’t it Storm that led the X-Men to victory against the Morlocks? It was also the White Haired Queen that helped rule the nation of Wakanda—though that did end in divorce so probably not best to bring it up. But throughout the stirring and sordid history of the Marvel Mutants, Storm has been on the front lines and often leading the charge. So it makes sense that she should get a turn in the spotlight, a chance to really shine and show the world what it means to be Storm of the X-Men.
That being said, it wasn’t really necessary to give Storm her own book. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in complete support of having more women and people of color in comic books—especially on their own solo series. However, the caveat to that is I want them to either have an important story to tell or a revelation about the character that matters. This book has neither. It’s not a bad book, I just don’t have any motivation to read it. As a character, Ororo Monroe is a bit set in her ways. She isn’t struggling to mend anything in her personal life or in her professional life—by that I mean nobody is constantly trying to kill her like Bullseye is constantly making attempts on Electra’s life. That means this book is muddled in a middle ground between negligible personal issues and mild danger.
A solo book should go either one of two directions. To compare, I will give two examples. The first example is of an image book called “Brit”. It centered on a man who couldn’t be killed, no way, no how, he was simply impervious. There were brief moments where Brit had to deal with personal issues like his stripper wife was weeks from giving birth to their first child. But other than that, the rest of the issue centered around Brit getting dropped into incredible set pieces, fights that played out on a massive scale. These were fights that had property damage in the billions. These were fights with a hundred hostages hanging in the balance. These were fights with descriptions like “Brit versus killer mech made of people” or “A war against a battalion of mega death robots in the Alaskan Tundra”. This book knew what it was doing and what it was doing was punching.
The second book is “Invincible”, a book about a young teenage superhero who has to make weighty decisions about the role of super powers in a world filled with consequences. What is the good in super powers in a world that never gets better no matter how much crime is thwarted? What is true evil and could true evil possibly see redemption? These two books represent the best ways to tell a comic book story, one is the face punching excitement and explosions that fuels summer blockbusters; the other is an intense character drama submerged in the tone and beats of a super hero world. The problem with “Storm” is that it falls in neither camp, straddling the fence, trying to get the best of both worlds. Unfortunately that means there’s not enough fighting and explosions to make it exciting but there’s nowhere near the character depth to make Storm’s motivation riveting. What’s worse is there’s a side character that would be absolutely smashing to read about.
In the story, Storm returns to the institute to find a student staging a sit in in the cafeteria—completely infesting the area with funguses that she grew with her mutant power. This girl is named Marisol Guerra, she is a teen Latina from the South West and is insufferably petulant which is completely understandable. All of us had that period in high school where we bristled against authority for all the wrong reasons. Marisol has all the attributes of a great character at the start of a journey. She has quite a bit to learn and could stand to work on some of her personality traits. That’s an interesting hero’s journey I could get behind.
I do want Storm to have a good solo series, it just doesn’t look like the book can maintain interest in Ororo. “Invincible” was able to write some compelling stories for its female superheroes. Like that time that every Dupli-Kate clone was killed and The Immortal went into a despair but then Dupli-Kate prime showed up and threw away the crime fighting life because she realized her own mortality. Also? Atom Eve needed to do some soul searching because she realized her power would be infinitely better used to improve conditions in impoverished regions of the world so she went to Africa to hone her powers. Then there was that time that Monster Girl was trapped with Robot in a parallel universe for a century and she saw the damage that was accruing on Robot’s psyche. All of these stories represented obstacles of a very personal variety that the characters had to overcome or come to terms with and it was Hella compelling.