Review: STORM #1

STORM2014001_DC11STORM #1
Written by Greg Pak
Art by Victor Ibanez
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: July 23, 2014

Arguably Marvel’s most recognizable female character, Storm finally gets her first ongoing series and while it flies high with potential, it falls just short of delivering the hurricane-level momentum that a premiere issue needs.

Since her first appearance in Giant-Size X-Men #1 back in 1975, Storm’s presence in the X-Men has been momentous and as the first leading black female character in a major title, her role in the comic book medium is downright historic. It’s given her enormous staying power and she’s ubiquitous when it comes to Marvel properties, definitely the first super heroine the company calls when it’s time for a video game or cartoon adaptation. However, her popularity also means that she’s been passed through countless writers and hasn’t always been treated with the respect she deserves. The problem being that you seemingly can’t do a proper X-Men story without her even when the writer doesn’t have much for her to do. As other characters take lead of the franchise, Storm has often been sidelined, existing as a shade of her former self causing some lesser fans to view her as, dare I say it, boring. Luckily, Greg Pak knows that that’s far from the truth and recognizes Storm as the rich character she is.

Pak references the character’s popularity early on when a town recognizes and embraces her after she saves them from a tsunami(X-Perts will recognize the fictional country of Santo Marco from a classic Silver Age tale). Pak also references the many phases that Storm has gone through the years, from goddess to Queen, but knows that the character is at her best when she’s rough around the edges. When Beast calls her home, preventing her from unleashing her powers on some anti-mutant militants, it reminds us just how much the X-Men can water down some of it’s best characters through frequent misuse. In other words, it’s hard to be a weather-controlling badass when you’re a strict headmistress of a boarding school, even if that school is filled with mutants students. Speaking of which, Pak introduces us to a new student, Creep, who speaks for most X-Men fans when she straight up calls Storm a sell-out. Although she gets angry, Storm knows Creep is partially right, she’s not the character or hero she should be. Pak uses this motivation to launch Storm on a journey to prove to the students but especially to the readers that she’s not simply just an X-Man mainstay or the “one that controls the weather,” she’s one of the most multidimensional Marvel creations there is with a layered backstory to match.

Besides character depth, another reason why Storm is one of Marvel’s chief A-Listers is because of how visually interesting she is. With her mohawk back and rocking her fresh Kris Anka-designed costume, Storm looks the best she has in years. Artist Victor Ibañez not only embraces her current look but all the rain, wind, and tornadoes that come with her powers as well. Every page is filled with energy and the panels where Storm uses her elemental mutant gifts remind readers why she’s so iconic. Newcomer Creep also benefits from Ibañez’ art, becoming a memorable new X-Men character instead of just another mutant student lurking in the background. Her first appearance is unforgettable thanks to Ibañez’ inspired depiction of her plant-based powers. 

Pak manages to fit a lot of development in this one issue and it’s refreshing to read a comic with a tale that has a beginning, middle, and end. Unfortunately, one expects a premiere issue of an ongoing to promise some sort of direction by the last page. With no cliffhanger or discernible dangling plot threads, the issue feels like a side story you would find in an X-Men Unlimited type book. Despite the lack of a hook, Pak’s handle on Storm is sound enough to bring fans back to see where the wind takes this legendary character next.

The Verdict: 9.0/10

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