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Welcome Storm to the X-Men

Brian Wood speaks on Ororo Munroe as a leader, what her look represents, and why her loyalty lies with herself!

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X-Men #1 cover by Olivier Coipel

By Brett White

The X-Men franchise's latest mutation takes the action and drama that fans have come to expect from the team and multiplies it exponentially. X-MEN, the new series from writer Brian Wood and artist Olivier Coipel, stars six of the biggest characters in the X-Universe bound together by duty, fate and friendship to form a heavy-hitting fighting force.

Fittingly for a book simply called X-MEN, the women that comprise the team represent time-tested, fan favorite characters with rich personalities. Wood skillfully brought the group dynamics germane to close knit teams to life while writing the previous X-MEN series last year.

Wood made fans take notice with his definitive take on Storm, one of the X-Men's most iconic members. But the wind-rider has gone through many changes over the past few months, namely taking on the headmistress role at the Jean Grey School, returning to her edgier Mohawk haircut and joining up with a no-holds-barred combat unit in UNCANNY X-FORCE.

We spoke to Wood to find out what role Storm will play in X-MEN.

X-Men #1 art by Olivier Coipel

Marvel.com: Others always treat Storm as a goddess or as a leader. How does she view herself?

Brian Wood: A leader, for sure. I’m drawn to the goddess aspect of her as well, but it’s not something I’m exploring in X-MEN, at least not for awhile.

Marvel.com: Storm is probably the most well-known female character in the Marvel Universe. Do you have any theories as to why she's so popular?

Brian Wood: She looks great, has been written very well in the past, and is one of very few women of color that can be considered a primary X-Man. I’m sure someone smarter than I could theorize further, but those are the reasons as far as I see it. She’s iconic, and you can see that reinforced not only in the number of books she’s currently in, but by her fans and cosplayers, as many and as hardcore as they are.

Marvel.com: Storm is a character that other writers have struggled to get right, yet you wrote a modern, definitive version of the character last year. How did you figure out Storm's voice?

Brian Wood: This is one of those honest answers that don’t always come across so well in interviews, but I don’t know. [Laughs] I remember when I started writing X-MEN [in 2012], I said in an interview something about how I was looking forward to figuring Storm out, to discovering my version of her voice. In the end I went with my gut, and wrote her as a flawed but determined leader, one not afraid to make controversial moves if the end goal is a noble one. And it worked; the reaction to my Storm was beyond overwhelming.

I often write from the gut, or go with instincts. I am not a person who spends much time self-analyzing. I prefer to trust my skills and while not everything I do hits the target, most of the time it serves me well.

Marvel.com: Storm is sporting a Mohawk again for the first time since the early 80’s. The last time she wore this hairdo, she was without her powers and relied on her physical strength. Is there anything symbolic about the Mohawk’s return, even if it wasn't originally part of your plan?

Storm

Brian Wood: I brought the Mohawk back in the Ultimate version of Storm, in that case mostly because I find it iconic and striking, more of a style thing than anything else, and it made sense in the context of the Ultimate stories. I think in the [Marvel Universe] it can represent a level of freedom she might not have had in the recent past, sure. But I think it can change again—why not?

Marvel.com: In your X-MEN run from last year, Storm struggled to reconcile the greater good with what Cyclops wanted her to do. With Cyclops now out of the picture, does Storm answer to anyone?

Brian Wood: I think Storm has obligations to the Jean Grey School, and I think she answers to the general needs and security of mutant kind. She never struck me as a blind follower of an ideology, though. There was this somewhat infamous interview I gave a few weeks back where I brushed off a question asking if Storm was Team Logan or Team Scott; I don’t know, to answer that straight, she is whatever she is in the comics now, right? Whatever writer’s already defined that, that’s what she is. But I’m not going there, personally. I won’t break continuity, but I’m not going to strive to define her actions as a mutant as being in one of two boxes, you know. I like Storm too much for that. She deserves her independent thought.

That said, I don’t consider Storm to be at all reckless, and she’s an experienced and seasoned X-Man. But I think if push came to shove, she’d be bold and daring before she’d retreat into an ideological position.

Pick up X-MEN #1, available now, and be back here tomorrow to welcome Rogue!

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