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By Marc Strom
Storm's life will soon become a bit more tempestuous.
Since she married the Black Panther, the X-Men's former leader has split time between her fellow mutants on the verge of extinction, and her duties as Queen of the Wakandan people. On October 15, X-MEN: WORLDS APART #1 brings those two worlds crashing together.
For Storm, dividing her focus between Wakanda and the X-Men has proven difficult since the day she married T'Challa, but now she'll have to choose between one or the other as they come into collision.
"She's in two big, demanding worlds," Yost notes. "The X-Men are pretty busy, with the impending extinction of their species, the move to San Francisco, mutant hate groups popping up with alarming frequency—that kind of thing.
"And being the queen of an entire nation is fairly demanding. But the Queen of Wakanda, and wife of the Black Panther, that's even more
demanding. Little things like meeting with Namor and Doom, subbing in on the Fantastic Four, going into space, dimension hopping, and then dealing with an alien invasion, again: there's a lot on her royal calendar."
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In the two years since her marriage to the Black Panther, Storm's alliances have become increasingly strained, and this limited series will bring all of that to a head.
"The pressure has been building," Yost remarks. "The X-Men are a tight knit family, and Storm has been in and out, but mostly out, since the wedding. This series will show the worlds stepping on one another. Storm starts on an X-Men mission, but is interrupted by Wakandan business, which puts her and Cyclops at odds. He asks a simple question: 'Who are you? X-Man or Queen.'"
While Yost remained tight-lipped on the identity of the big bad that will cause Storm's troubles to come to a head, he would drop another few hints:
"It's an old X-Men foe, and it intrudes in on Storm's life in Wakanda," the writer teases. "It's a menace that she brings down on the Black Panther and her people, so in this instance it's her X-Men world stepping on the Panther's world."
With the intensive juggling act Ororo has to pull off, don't expect everything to go smoothly in her personal life—and specifically with her marriage to King T'Challa.
"Oh, you could say that tensions will arise," Yost coyly states. "You could also say that they'll fight each other with everything they've got. Storm will have no one to turn to here."
Besides Storm, however, the limited series will also focus on another character with which Yost has some familiarity: New X-Men alumni Nezhno, a native Wakandan whose abilities allow him to increase his muscle mass to an extreme degree.
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"Nezhno is the living embodiment of Storm's dilemma," Yost elaborates. "He's a Wakandan mutant, and he's in big trouble. X-Men trouble, Wakandan trouble. And Storm is going to save him, no matter the cost.
"We touch on Nezhno's powers, his alienation by the Wakandans, but new readers will be able to tune into him very easily. He's an outcast, like all mutants."
For Yost, the opportunity to write Storm's solo adventure proved irresistible.
"She's Storm, one of the strongest characters in the Marvel Universe," the scribe exudes. "Chris Claremont crafted her into this amazing, remarkable, strong, independent woman, and we're going to see her at her best, in her darkest moments."
Finally, the writer enthusiastically gave props to his artistic collaborator on WORLDS APART:
"The art by newcomer Diogenes Neves is spectacular. There are preview pages out there, but trust me—you haven't seen anything yet. When it all hits the proverbial fan and Storm unleashes...wow. It's visually stunning. I can't wait for everyone to see it."
X-MEN: WORLDS APART #1 blows into stores on October 15. For more Storm, check out Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.