After nearly 40 years as one of Marvel’s most popular and enduring characters — and we’ve crunched the numbers to back up that claim — Storm is finally getting her first ever ongoing series. Launching this July, “Storm” will take the weather-manipulating mutant into uncharted territory as she faces off against all new threats. This time, however, she won’t have back up in the form of her X-Men squad or Wolverine; Storm’s flying solo.
In anticipation of this long awaited debut, writer Greg Pak joins X-POSITION this week to answer questions about everything from Storm’s origins in Africa, to the status of her rogues gallery, to her present status within the Marvel Universe superhero community.
CBR News: A lot — and I mean a lot — of people are eager to learn if you have plans to expand Storm’s rogues gallery. What can you reveal about the threats — and villains — she’s going to face?
Greg Pak: First, I just wanted to give a big thank you to everyone who’s been talking up the book and preordering it with your local comic book stores! The whole team really appreciates your support — and shares your excitement!
To answer the question — Callisto in issue #2! Beyond that, my lips are sealed. But you’re going to see a mix of familiar faces and brand new characters.
We’re definitely committed to building up Storm’s supporting cast — both friends and enemies.
Blaimartal has a question about Storm’s dual nature.
Ororo is probably the most iconic woman from the Marvel Universe. We are used to seeing her as a warring character (even the name has a certain ring to it, “Storm”). However, her origins place her as a bringer of life in Africa rather than a violent warrior. Do you intend to explore that specific part of Ororo in the upcoming Storm series?
Yes. One of the reasons I love Storm is because of the conflicts in how she’s perceived and in her own heart. Lots of great stuff to explore there — particularly when Storm’s instincts toward one side of that spectrum come into conflict with her instincts on the other side.
Next up is Sage, who has a question about whether you prefer Storm solo or in a team setting.
Hello Greg! Do you consider Storm to be more of an independent self-reliant figure or a sort of den mother that works best in the framework of a team? Do you find yourself writing her to be one of these archetypes more than the other one?
That’s to be revealed. I’ll just say we may start one way and maybe work toward the other.
Darholder is next, and wants to know if we will finally get a definitive look at Ororo’s origin.
First off, thank you, Greg Pak, for taking on this challenge to return Storm to her former glory. My hope for this solo series is to see our beloved mutant goddess shine in new ways that will show everyone why she is deserving of all the praise she gets. But first we need to get a definitive origin of her powers. In all my years of being an Ororo fan, I have never seen how she first discovered her powers. Can we finally see that explored?
Thanks for the kind words. And the answer is… maybe! That specific exploration isn’t on the plate for our first few stories, but anything’s possible in the fullness of time! I will say that as a writer, I love diving into those key moments in characters’ pasts, particularly if there’s a moment or nuance that hasn’t really been explored before. The trick is to tie it into the story in current time in a way that’s organic and dramatic and compelling. I did that a ton in the “Incredible Hercules” epic that I co-wrote with the great Fred Van Lente, where we used flashbacks to mythological times in almost every issue. I don’t see it becoming as much of a regular thing in “Storm.” But again, in the fullness of time, anything’s possible!
Richard G. Gunn, Esq. wonders just how the upcoming death of Wolverine storyline will affect Storm.
Will there be further development with the Storm/Wolverine romantic relationship, given he seems to be running away from his school and the planned death in September? How will she take the death?
We’re definitely going to explore that when the time comes. Preorder every issue today so you don’t miss it!
Matt D is curious about “Storm’s” structure.
Storm’s never had a lengthy ongoing title. She’s probably Marvel’s premiere female hero, and she’s never really had a chance to exist outside of a team setting for long. Are you planning shorter arcs, or done-in-ones, or longer stories? What I’d really love to see for her is the sort of longer opus that you managed on “Incredible Hulk.”
We’re doing a variety of kinds of stories and lengths of stories. I’ve become interested in shorter stories recently, and you’ll see a number of stories that may just run for one or two issues. But they’re all building a larger overarching emotional story that will become apparent as the book progresses.
The similarly named Greg has a question about the role that Africa will play in the new series, given Ororo’s history on the continent.
Storm is my all-time favorite comic book character, but one thing that has always been off about her is her lack of specific cultural identity. A frequent problem with African characters is that they are perceived and conceived as just that, “African” characters. The continent is so often seen as one homogenous culture when in reality there are roughly 3000 languages alone spoken on the continent. We know she spent time in Cairo and Kenya, but what are your opinions on the specifics of her roots, and will they be something you address during your run? Instead of vague tribal bikinis, for instance, will we finally see genuine ethnic influence in both Storm’s past and present?
That’s definitely something I think about. I’ve been doing some research about the different areas Storm’s from as we go there. And I hope the book will reflect the diversity of those places.
Kalev Matsi wants to hear a bit of your “Storm” sales pitch.
Why would a person who has never read the X-Men much — and therefore never cared about the character — but likes your writing pick up the new “Storm” ongoing?
If you like big comic book action and heroes being heroes combined with an exploration of the real emotional consequences of taking a stand in a dangerous world, this book is for you. Also, Victor IbaÃ±ez is doing an amazing job with the art — drawing a fierce, spectacular Storm who will blow your mind in when the action hits, but who also feels so real on an emotional, human level in the quieter moments. Big action, real emotion. That’s what I try to do, y’all.
Next up is King, who wants to know a little more about your take on Storm’s voice.
I was wondering what type of research you were doing to get the right tone for Storm? She is the most popular black female character in comic fandom. It’s a tall order to get her “voice” right.
I don’t know that there’s any one “right” way to write any character — every reader and every writer hears the characters voices a little differently in his or her head. And certain characters have been written beautifully over the years in very different ways — the Hulk is probably the biggest example of that kind of rich variety. I’m just doing what I do with every character I write — absorbing as much from past stories as I can, thinking deeply about the current story we’re telling and how these specific circumstances are affecting the character, and then finding the voice that feels honest and right to me. Hope it resonates with you!
Lastly, possibly Storm herself — or just someone going by WINDRIDER — wants to know if this new ongoing series will touch upon Storm’s place in the wider Marvel Universe.
You previously touched on the potential conflicts that Storm will encounter as a result of her helping/defending those who needed her aid. Will we also be able to see the positive impacts of her heroism? Not only seeing her through the eyes of the people she is helping, but also from her fellow mutants, others in the hero community, and her family?
Sure — we’ll explore both the positive — and negative — impacts of her heroism. Every act can have unintended consequences. I can’t reveal yet all of the other characters we’ll be introducing, but we’re working on building a story that can reverberate on multiple levels among a pretty wide variety of characters in the Marvel Universe.
The metaphorical headmaster of the Jean Grey School himself, “Wolverine and the X-Men” writer Jason Latour, returns to X-Position next week. Also returning next week will be regular X-Position ringmaster Steve Sunu, so if you’ve already thought up questions for Jason, go ahead and send ’em to Steve with the subject line “X-Position”! Get those questions sent in quick, because the deadline’s Friday!