Continuing the series' trajectory, "Storm" #5 provides a solid, layered story that's intriguing if not amazing. Greg Pak captures his protagonist and her world well, and "Storm" is a sharp book with a distinct approach to its in-world politics. In addition, Victor IbaÃ±ez and Craig Yeung draw fast, dynamic scenes, and colorist Ruth Remond knows how to establish a setting. Still, the book is dogged by its post-Wolverine problem: the creative team needs to start letting "Storm" actually be about Storm.
This issue finds Ororo in a moral quandary. Yukio needs a champion to prevent a coup among the Clans, but Ororo doesn't want to be anyone's contract killer -- even for a worthy cause. There isn't much suspense about whether she'll eventually compromise, but the moral complexity and tense situation make the pages fly by. Yukio's characterization, in particular, is strong and surprising. I won't spoil, but she makes an unexpected power play that's ruthless and brilliant. Pak never lets the reader forget both sides of this relationship; Yukio may be Ororo's friend, but she's also a gangster with an agenda.
However, the Wolverine focus grows wearying. The conflict that Pak sets up could be fascinating if it were about Ororo grappling with her own morality, but instead, it's about her coming to term with Logan's. Watching Ororo attempt to fit her viewpoint into his, or retroactively justify his decisions, isn't particularly compelling. It's dramatic, yes, but it's not going to have any real consequences. I'd like to see Storm ask more questions about what she wants, rather than what Logan would have wanted -- because in the end, live Ororo is infinitely more interesting than dead Logan.
Victor IbaÃ±ez and Craig Yeung generally provide clean, robust figure work, and they create a range of readable facial expressions. Their work is largely effective, but IbaÃ±ez struggles to give Storm powerful body language when she's in flight or exercising her powers. She looks most dangerous and impressive either before or after unleashing the storm, coiled and threatening. Admittedly, human flight is tricky to portray, as with any exertion that doesn't involve contact, but the creative team's struggle here is noticeable. They've gotten more fluid with each issue, though, so perhaps the problem will fade in a few months.
Ruth Redmond takes great advantage of the issue's dramatic desert setting. She goes full-on southwest sunset, with a crimson and turquoise sky, peach clouds and tangerine sands. Both foreboding and beautiful, this background gives the fight scene the atmosphere it needs. I do wish the coloring got a little crazier when Storm calls down the lightning or summons a tornado, but overall Redmond establishes clear moods.
Altogether, "Storm" #5 is a fine issue that makes me excited to see more of Ororo. While I understand the need to provide some closure around Logan's death, I am ready for her to get going on her own terms. "Storm" continues to show why its title character is a compelling hero; now it just needs to embrace that.