Storm is a super-powered mutant who can literally control the weather. She's used this incredibly powerful ability and a diverse set of skills she learned growing up to save the world from super villains on a number of occasions as a member of the X-Men. In her self-titled ongoing series from Marvel Comics, Storm has taken on an even more difficult and complex mission: saving the world from the greed and human weakness that plagues it every day.
X-POSITION: Pak Calls Down the Lightning for "Storm"â€¨While she's had to make some difficult choices thus far, for the most part Ororo Munroe has been somewhat successful. In "Storm" #4, writer Greg Pak and artist Victor Ibanez kick off a new arc that finds the titular Wind Rider making some even tougher choices as she tries to take care of some of the secret unfinished business of her recently deceased lover, Wolverine. CBR News spoke with Pak about the upcoming arc, the series' international settings and Storm and Wolverine's friend Yukio, who plays a supporting role in the upcoming arc.
CBR News: Greg, it feels like one of the larger themes of the first three issues of "Storm" is that saving the world from super villains is easy, but saving the world from more complex problems like human weakness is a lot harder. Is that what you were aiming for?
Greg Pak: That's a great way of putting it. I don't know if we ever thought it through like that or put it in exactly those words, but that sounds fair enough.
I think because of Storm's experience and history she's the kind of person who's going to see things that other people won't necessarily see. Everybody sees Doctor Doom coming, but not everybody is going to see the small scale horrors or the small scale oppressions and evils in the world and feel that they need to be addressed immediately and in the same way, even though for the people being affected it's every bit as horrible as being killed by a super villain.
I think Storm has this incredible affinity for and identification with the underdogs of the world. She's out there hustling for those folks and we've definitely seen that in these first three issues.
These first three issues have taken place in different locations across the globe. Am I correct in assuming "Storm" is a series that can and will go anywhere in the Marvel U?
I think Storm's history and back story gives us a lot of different places that she has a connection to where we can go. So we're starting off by exploring those parts of the world and certain parts that make a lot of sense given her history. We'll definitely expand beyond that and basically create new myths for her as well as new important places and areas for her. The diversity of her origins definitely allow for a great exploration of a lot of different kinds of venues.
You mention giving Storm new myths, but the series' international flavor also allows you to add new myths to the larger Marvel Universe in the same way "Avengers World" does by fleshing out areas that don't get much exposure.
Yes, we've already seen some of that in these opening issues and you'll definitely see more of that. In some subsequent issues you'll find out about a group of villains that have a bit more stretch than some homegrown ones might. It's been a lot of fun exploring different parts of the world.
Let's move from locales to some of the supporting players in these first three issues starting with Henry McCoy, AKA the Beast, who provided Storm with intel and information during her solo exploits. What made you want to use Hank in this role?
I always liked Hank a lot and I think he's got this fussy professor quality, which is such a great contrast to Storm in this series where she's going to go off and help the people who need help regardless of what kind of trouble that may create for herself or the X-Men. So Hank becomes a great foil for that.
He's worried and fussy, and there's great contrast in the way the two of them react to different things. There's also a lot of fun as he starts to get hooked into the excitement of what she's doing and starts to go along a little bit. So that's what was running through my head when I tapped him for this role. Plus, he's a big brain and can do all sorts of fun technical stuff that can be useful in super hero and sci-fi stories.
Issue #2 featured another X-Man who plays a large role in Storm's life, her significant other, Wolverine. How has being in a relationship with Wolverine impacted Storm? What do you think that's done for her?
That's a good question, and we're going to see a lot of that explored in issues #4-5. Wolverine is about to die. Spoiler alert! And we're going to see Storm's reaction to that in this next two-part story.
Another interesting thing about those issues is they're going to feature Yukio, a ninja who is an old friend of both Storm and Wolverine. Fans of Storm's fashion sense may take a special interest in Yukio because her wild influence was one of the things that led Storm to cut her hair into the Mohawk and don the black leather punk look. So Yukio has been sort of a liberating influence on Storm.
I think Wolverine is similar in a way. I think historically Storm has been seen as the moral center of the X-Men; a little more of a righteous figure with a very strong moral center, while Wolverine is seen as a person who moves through the shadows and morally murky situations. Sometimes he'll do terrible things to serve the greater good in the end.
I think that kind of testing of rules is relevant given where Storm has been going in these last few issues. She's faced some ambiguous situations that aren't necessarily covered in an easy rule book of right and wrong. She has to figure out what the right thing is on the fly. I think that's something that Wolverine has done for years and years.
In issues #4-5 you're going to see ways in which Storm's and Wolverine's ideas may diverge. There may be a breaking point there. We're going to discover that Wolverine has secrets that he never told Storm. Storm is going to get involved in that and make a commitment to finish up some of his unfinished business, but then she's going to be challenged by whether or not she's willing to go as far as Wolverine might have gone in those situations.
Drama works with contrasts. Storm and Beast are fun to put together and so are Storm and Wolverine; both for the same reasons.
What's it like putting Storm and Yukio together? What traits do they share?
Like Yukio, Storm was also once a thief. That was sort of her first job back in the day. [Laughs] That's another beautiful thing about Storm. As I said, she has this reputation of being the moral center who's always going to point out the right thing, but in her own past she has these moments of really interesting moral ambiguity when she was a girl in Kenya she was basically playing goddess.
â€¨She certainly had the power to back up that claim, but it takes a certain kind of personality to take that step. What's going through her mind when she does that? Who is the person that does something like that? There's a lot of interesting areas to explore with Storm and those contrasts are often within herself.
If you have the power to control the weather you're one of the most powerful people in the world, and the kind of mind trip that would put on a person is worth exploring on many levels.
In other words, "Storm" allows you to stretch some of the same muscles you use when writing Superman?
Yes! There are definitely some interesting similarities between Storm and Superman.
Where does this next arc of "Storm" take place? What are some of the things Storm and Yukio will run afoul of?
The story takes place in Vegas, but beyond that I'm not sure how much I should reveal here. I will say that Yukio is mixed up in something crazy, as she so often is, and Storm is going to get pulled into that situation. She's going in with the idea that this is what Wolverine was doing.
Wolverine and Yukio were conducting an operation here, and now that Wolverine is gone Storm is going to take on his mantle and finish this business for him. She makes that commitment, but then she discovers what's really going on. The big question, of course, is going to be how willing is she to follow Yukio down this path and what each of them think Wolverine's true legacy is under the circumstances.
Artist Victor Ibanez returns to the book for issues #4-5. So far in "Storm" we've seen what he can do with fictional countries like Santa Marco and the streets of New York. What can you tell us about how he'll handle the glitz of Las Vegas?
Victor is amazing. He's incredibly passionate. He really cares about these characters. He also cares about details and the emotional moments. He's working as hard as he can to make them as awesome as he can.
I love the way he draws Storm. Many folks have noticed this and it's very important to me too, he draws her in a way that brings forth her power and her humanity. She feels so real when Victor draws her. Her emotions are there on her face. They're subtle and they're strong. Victor also gets the humor in those moments as well as the drama. He knows how to draw people of color without falling into caricatures. She looks like a black woman and that's the way it should be. We've had an incredibly diverse cast in this book. I think that's awesome and Victor knows how to draw it.
I also want to do a shout out to our colorists, Ruth Redmond and Rachelle Rosenberg, who have done a tremendous job on this book as well. This book is always lovely to look at.
And in terms of this particular issue, #4, there are some very surprising things happening underground in Vegas. So we're going a few stories underground and Victor is drawing the heck out of that.
Settling Wolverine's unfinished business keeps Storm occupied in issues #4-5, but I understand she won't be getting a nice quiet trip home from Vegas in "Storm" #6. Instead she'll have to deal with assassins?
[Laughs] Yes, she's going to look out the window of her airplane and hijinks will ensue. The return flight is not flying the friendly skies. You're going to see horror in the sky in "Storm" #6! And once again Storm is going to have to make some big decisions about how far to go in wielding her incredible powers.
Storm's flight home in issue #6 closes out 2014. What can you offer up about your plans for the book in 2015?
There's a big status change for Storm at the end of issue #6. You don't want to miss it! Everything is going to change and she'll have a whole host of new problems to deal with as a result.
I've been blown away by the excitement and support of readers and reviewers. Both have been spreading the word about the book. I think it's a really exciting time, too. This is the first ongoing Storm has ever had. The time is right, and I'm really grateful to everyone who is reading and spreading the word about this series.
"Storm" #4 goes on sale October 15 from Marvel Comics.