After almost four decades as one of the most prominent X-Men and Marvel heroines around, Storm finally makes her ongoing series debut this July in STORM #1 by Greg Pak and Victor Ibanez.
This storm has been brewing ever since Ororo Munroe first suited up alongside the rest of Professor Xavier's second generation recruits in 1975's GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1. Since then, the weather goddess has done everything from leading the X-Men to becoming a card-carrying Avenger. But all of her groundbreaking adventures have led her to this: her own solo series.
STORM #1 will push the X-Men's fearless leader into uncharted territory as she stares down the problems normally overlooked by Marvel's super heroes. In this exclusive interview, STORM scribe Greg Pak forecasts Ororo's future.
Marvel.com: Despite being a massively popular character for almost 40 years, Storm has never had an ongoing series. What makes now the perfect time to launch one?
Greg Pak: It's always the perfect time for Storm. Seriously, she's a fantastic and immensely popular character known all around the world. I'm just thrilled I got the call to be part of it.
But I think right now may be a particularly great time for the launch given the success Marvel has had recently launching solo series, particularly with diverse casts and female leads. The world is ready and hungry for this kind of book. P.S. Call your local comics shop and pre-order today, y'all! Pre-ordering is always the number one way you can support a book you love.
And of course it's the right time because the world needed to wait for editor Daniel Ketchum to launch this book. This is a passion project for both me and Daniel; we've loved Storm for years and are champing at the bit to showcase her in all her glory as a three dimensional heroine with tremendous challenges to go along with all that mind-blowing power.
Marvel.com: Storm also has a place in history as being the first black female super hero. Does this significance factor into your handling of the character?
Greg Pak: Absolutely. When I was in film school back in the day, I remember being blown away by Spike Lee's assertion that the more specific something is, the more universal it can become. Exploring the very specific details of a character's experiences and perspective provides the authentic, human, emotional truth that draws us in and makes everyone relate. I experienced that with my own short film "Fighting Grandpa" many years ago—it's a short documentary that tells the very specific story of my Korean grandparents, exploring the question of whether they were ever in love. And after screenings, folks of all backgrounds—Jewish, English, Jamaican, just to name a few—would come up to me and say "That's exactly like my grandparents!"
That's a long-winded way of saying that Storm's specific experiences and perspective as a black woman will absolutely play into the book, just as Superman's experiences and perspective as a Kryptonian and Smallvillian play into how I write him in Action Comics and Batman/Superman. That stuff is gold; it makes these fantastical characters real. It makes us care.
Marvel.com: What's Storm's modus operandi as she steps into her first solo series?
Greg Pak: Storm's been a street thief and a goddess, an orphan and a queen; a hero to mutants and an icon to oppressed people everywhere. Because of her unique personal background and history, she's deeply compelled by problems others might never even notice. In this series, Storm's going to go places and cross lines no other X-Men would. She won't just stand up for mutants; she'll stand up for anyone who needs her. That's hugely exciting—and, potentially, extremely dangerous.
Marvel.com: Storm has forged a number of strong friendships over the years, most notably with the surrogate family she found in the second generation of X-Men. Will characters like Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and others make appearances in her series?
Greg Pak: All will be revealed in the fullness of time. I'll just say that you will see some familiar faces as well as some entirely new characters.
Marvel.com: Storm has very few enemies that she can call specifically her own; only Callisto and Mystique come to mind. How big of a priority is building up Storm's rogues gallery, and will you be creating new threats for her to face?
Greg Pak: We're absolutely going to build up Storm's rogues. Great heroes need great villains for fictional stories to really sing. You'll see some classics return with surprising new twists, and you'll see entirely new enemies and rivals who will challenge our heroine in shocking new ways.
Marvel.com: Which of Storm's personality traits make her a compelling leading character?
Greg Pak: If you tell Storm she can't go somewhere, that's exactly where she's going to go. She's got an incredibly strong sense of justice and empathy earned through years of hard experience. And her empathy isn't limited to whatever group she's standing with at the moment. Storm will do the right thing—as she sees it—without apology. That's incredibly strong and potentially very costly for her.
Storm's also got this amazing combination of brass and empathy that's a huge amount of fun to write.
Marvel.com: What are Storm's biggest personality flaws?
Greg Pak: Probably pride. As a young woman, Storm let people call her a goddess for years. Sure, she pretty much had the power to earn the name. But there's something potentially a little dangerous about someone who'd be so ready to embrace it, no matter how good her intentions, don't you think?
Marvel.com: Victor Ibanez has shown in the past that he can draw powerful women. What does he bring to this book, and has his style influenced your approach at all?
Greg Pak: Check out that insane cover for the first issue. Victor totally gets Storm, in all her elemental power, and I'm going to give him huge opportunities to cut loose. Victor's also excellent at drawing everyday people with emotionally honest body language and expressions. We're going to see Storm as a superhuman and as a human being. Victor's got the chops to give us the whole, emotionally compelling package.
Marvel.com: Lastly: Mohawk or no Mohawk?
Greg Pak: Mohawk. Great comic book characters all have distinctive silhouettes—you know who you're looking at just from the shape. That Mohawk makes Storm instantly recognizable. The Mohawk also first appeared during a time when Storm was searching for and reinventing herself. It signifies a certain attitude and unpredictability and drama that I'm definitely inspired by as we launch this book.