SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "Extraordinary X-Men" #18 and "IvX" #3, which are on sale now.
As seen in this week's "IvX" #3, the X-Men have a way to destroy the Inhuman Terrigen cloud currently threatening the existence of all mutants. The means to purify the Earth's air comes via the X-Man Forge, a mutant gifted with the ability to build the impossible. As seen in "IvX" #3, Forge and Old Man Logan have been dispatched to where the cloud is hovering so Forge can turn on his elaborate machine and rid the Earth of the mist. If you've just reading the main "IvX" series, you might wonder just where that machine came from or when Forge had the time to build it. This week's tie-in issue, "Extraordinary X-Men" #18, answers that question.
On the surface, "Extraordinary" #18 follows Forge as he rushes to complete a device that will work on the Terrigen cloud at Storm's request. The issue, it turns out, is about much more than just Forge's quest to build a much-needed machine; it's about Forge himself, who he is and the relationships he's, well, forged.
Faced with an upcoming war with the Inhumans, Forge just wants to talk to Storm and determine where they stand with each other. Storm, on the other hand, already has too much stressing her out...and she doesn't take Forge's request too well.
If you're familiar with the X-Men's history, then you know that Forge and Storm have a lot to talk about. Forge and Storm first met under strained circumstances, in 1984's "Uncanny X-Men" #186. The issue found Storm, newly powerless after getting shot with a weapon that "permanently" neutralized mutant abilities, in the care of Forge in his Dallas tower. The two grow close while Forge cares for her, with their feelings eventually moving towards love.
That all came to a halt when Storm learns that Forge actually built the neutralizer weapon. Upon learning that Forge has a mutant gift for building machines, she's disgusted that he could use his powers to hurt other mutants. The two separate on bad terms
They reunited years later, but were attacked by Forge's archenemy the Adversary. The mystical being trapped the couple in an alternate dimension where they were stranded for a year (time moved much more slowly on Earth, where they were only missing for a brief time). While in the alternate dimension, Forge built a machine to reverse the neutralizer's effect on Storm, effectively giving the X-Man her full powers back.
But their reunion was cut short, as Storm returned to the X-Men just in time for the entire team to die in battle against the Adversary. Unbeknownst to Forge, though, the X-Men were immediately -- and secretly -- resurrected by Roma and dropped in the Australian Outback where they could operate in secret.
Even more time passed with Forge thinking Storm was dead. Years later, the X-Men's stint in Australia came to an end and a makeshift team of X-Men were put together. Forge joined the team, becoming an X-Man for the first time, alongside Storm.
When the team restructured into a Blue Team and a Gold Team in 1991, Forge stayed on as a reserve member and tech support for the team. He also tried to take the next step with Storm, proposing marriage to her. Storm didn't answer right away, which was okay with Forge -- until Forge asked the telepathic Jean Grey to give him a head's up about Storm's answer. Jean hesitated too, and that caused Forge to lose his cool. He confronted Storm, saying that he knew she would never leave the X-Men to be with him as well as some pretty hurtful things.
Forge left the X-Men and Storm, leaving Storm to silently confess that she actually was planning on saying yes.
The two rarely crossed paths from then on, with Forge moving on to join X-Factor and, much later, a recent iteration of Cable's X-Force. In-between allying himself with those teams, Forge has kept to himself. "Extraordinary X-Men" has been the most prolonged contact between Storm and Forge since their broken almost-engagement way back in 1992. So when Forge asks to talk with Storm about where they stand, well, you can kinda see why Storm wouldn't want to add that stress to the pressures of impending war. But Storm realizes she has to acknowledge Forge right now, in what could be their final moments together before they separate for their respective missions.
Storm makes it very clear that she's not in love with Forge anymore, or again; she just wants him to know that she recognizes him as a massively important part of her life.
Storm tells Forge, "I once loved you very much. And so much has happened since then. But a part of me always will." Storm wishes Forge luck and then departs for her mission, leaving Forge to carry out his own plan in "IvX" #3. Whether or not these two will see each other again after "IvX" remains unknown.
"Extraordinary X-Men" #19 hits stores on February 22.