Most childhoods are spent playing with friends and living in relative security. Not Ororo Munro's. As a child, the girl who would become the X-Men member Storm, was picking pockets and dodging the law. Beginning this June, writer Marc Sumerak and artist Carlo Barberi take a deeper look at Storm's childhood as a thief on the streets of Cairo in the four issue mini-series "Ororo: Before The Storm." CBR News spoke to Sumerak via e-mail for the scoop on the series.
"Before the Storm" was the result of a talk between Sumerak and Marvel editor Nicole Wiley. "[Nicole] had shown some interest in working with me again after an earlier series of mine, 'Guardians,' had wrapped up," Sumerak told CBR News. "When she said she'd been thinking of developing a series that focused on the early adventures of Storm when she was a thief in Cairo, I knew it was the perfect book for me! I turned in a pitch as fast as humanly possible, and it turned out to be exactly what Nicole was looking for...and here we are!"
When "Before the Storm" begins, Ororo has started to adapt to the harsh life on Cairo's streets. "Ororo has already risen through the ranks for the street urchins to become Master El-Gibar's prize pupil," Sumerak explained. "She is respected by her fellow urchins (well, most of them!) and is beginning to come into her own as a thief, a leader and a young woman."
Life may be getting better for, Ororo but she still has many problems. "Although she may be the best student that El-Gibar has, she has much left to learn and still makes plenty of mistakes along the way," Sumerak said. "Despite her youth, she has already had an exceptionally difficult life and she still has many insecurities about her place in the world that lead to confusion and self-doubt. She knows deep down that she is destined for more in life, but she doesn't know what quite yet. On top of all of that, the loss of her parents still weighs heavily on her."
The Hollywood pitch for "Ororo: Before the Storm" would be something like "Indiana Jones" meets "Aladdin." "This series follows Ororo and her fellow street urchins as they set off on a grand adventure through the streets of Cairo and deep into an ancient Egyptian temple in order to retrieve a priceless artifact," Sumerak said. "But once Ororo discovers the artifact's true powers, she must make sure that it doesn't fall into the wrong hands before it's too late! It's a journey of discovery and self-discovery as Ororo starts down the pathway to her future."
Accompanying Ororo on her grand adventure is a colorful cast of supporting characters. "The main supporting cast consists of Achmed El-Gibar (master thief and Ororo's teacher) as well as Ororo's fellow street urchins," Sumerak said. "Two of the urchins in particular-- Hakiim and Nari-- often find themselves working alongside Ororo and getting mixed up in her adventures. You can be certain that we'll be seeing plenty of them throughout the series! Beyond Ororo's 'family' on the street, we'll also be meeting Dr. Desmond Barrett, an archaeologist that helps launch Ororo and her friends on the most exciting adventure of their young lives."
Readers of "Before the Storm" may recognize some familiar marvel characters. "No plans for any other Marvel heroes to appear in this particular series, but that doesn't mean that some recognizable faces from the darker side of the Marvel Universe won't rear their heads!"
Who these villainous characters are will be a mystery at first. "When the series starts off, it is more of an adventure book than a super hero story. So, while Ororo may find herself up against booby traps and angry guards, there isn't really a flat-out villain right off the bat," Sumerak explained. "By the time we hit the second issue, though, there are definitely some less-than-savory folks that take an interest in Ororo's life, but we'll leave their identities as a surprise for now!"
Since "Before the Storm" takes place in Egypt, Sumerak revealed that a certain villain who resides there might make an appearance. "When is the presence of Apocalypse not felt in an X-Men related title?" Sumerak said. "If I've learned anything over the years, it's that you never know when En Sabah Nur and his loyal servants will reveal themselves."
Sumerak plans to make the most of the book's unique Egyptian setting. "One of the things I love most about writing this series is getting to play with such an exciting setting!" he told CBR News. "From Cairo's market district to the pyramids and ancient ruins outside the city...there are just so many unique locales to explore. Rest assured, we'll leave no grain of sand unturned as Ororo and her band of thieves set off on their adventure!"
According to Sumerak "Before the Storm:" is first and foremost a fast paced adventure story and its tone will reflect that. "This is an adventure book through and through -- so expect lots of high energy and action!" he said. "Lots of booby traps and street fights! Lots of ancient curses and dangerous foes! And since our lead characters in this story are children, we'll most definitely be taking some time to deal with their fears, their hopes, their insecurities and their relationships along the way!"
Sumerak has enjoyed writing "Before the Storm" and promises that anybody can pick up and appreciate the series whether they're a hardcore "X-Men" fan or a newbie to the world of Marvel Comics merry mutants. "'Ororo: Before the Storm' is a great introduction to the history of one of the most widely recognized characters in the 'X-Men' family. Whether it's your first time reading an X-book or you've been following every stitch of Storm's continuity since her debut 30 years ago, this series has something for everyone and gives some new insight as to how Storm was shaped into the woman she is today!"