Storm arrived in the world of Marvel comics over a decade after X-Men #1. Len Wein and Dave Cockrum created her character along with Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Thunderbird for the 1975 Giant-Size X-Men issue. They served as the second generation of mutants, after Prof. Xavier’s first batch of students. Storm’s purpose at first seemed to be her gender, as she was only the second female X-Men member to join the team. However, as years and issues went by, writer Chris Claremont developed Storm’s character beyond what Wein and Cockrum had originally conceived. She became a complex character, with a tragic backstory and an exceptionally memorable mutant power -- she became the Storm fans know and love today.
Storm is one of the most popular characters in the X-Men franchise, appearing in countless series and films. In the past, Storm’s acted as leader of the X-Men and headmistress of the Jean Grey School. Her ability to control the weather has gotten the X-Men out of countless sticky situations that otherwise would have been deadly. She’s an important part of the team, but who really is Storm? Ororo Munroe naturally exudes mystery. With her famous white hair and glowing eyes, she’s certainly not the most approachable of the X-Men. There are whole series detailing Storm’s past, yet most casual fans only know the basics. To fix this, CBR is counting down 20 things about Storm that only real X-Men fans know (but everyone should know). If you know any other cool facts about Storm’s character, be sure to let us know.
20 HER MOTHER WAS A PRINCESS
Most comic fans know that Storm was regarded as a goddess in her family’s village in Kenya, but few readers know about her mother’s similarly impressive heritage. Storm’s mother, N'Daré, was the princess of an uncharted tribe in Africa. Since Storm’s parents passed away in a plane crash when their daughter was only five, we don’t know a lot about N'Daré, beyond that she was intelligent and a strong leader.
Like her daughter, N'Daré was well-versed in the magic and lore surrounding her tribe’s mythical past. Storm’s characteristic blue eyes and white hair come from a long line of ancient African priestesses on her mother’s side, though her mother herself did not have these traits.
19 EXPERT GARDNER
Storm has a close bond with the Earth -- from the wind and rain to plants and dirt. It may seem a little trivial for a weather goddess like Storm to enjoy gardening, but when you begin to realize just how connected Storm is to the planet and its energy, it starts to make sense. Storm has “energy vision” or the ability to see the physical world in terms of its energy. She can sense when parts of the Earth are alive or rotting, which is why she enjoys seeing a seed grow into a plant.
At the Xavier school, Storm has her own botanical gardens that Nightcrawler gave her. She’s frequently seen tending to her collection of plants as a form of meditation.
18 LEADER OF THE MORLOCKS
Storm never asked to be the leader of the underground mutant gang known as the Morlocks, but in Uncanny X-Men #170, that’s exactly what she gets. After the group captures her fellow X-Men member Angel, Storm is forced to challenge Callisto (the former Morlocks leader) in a hand-to-hand fight. Even without her powers, Storm easily defeats Callisto and takes the title for herself.
Of course, Storm doesn’t have a huge interest in leading a sewage-dwelling band of misfits. Her only decree is a peaceful one: she demands the Morlocks stop hurting humans. Storm doesn’t stick around as leader for long, but her influence over the Morlocks can still be felt years later. As much as they may hate to admit it, they respect her.
17 INTRODUCED GAMBIT TO THE X-MEN
Shortly after the villain Nanny de-aged Storm and stripped her of her memories, little Ororo runs into classic X-Men foe, the Shadow King. Storm almost becomes his latest victim, but a mysterious Cajun mutant named Gambit saves her at the last minute. Almost immediately, the two thieves strike up a partnership that sees them relying on each other for survival. Once Storm gets her memories back, she introduces Gambit to the X-Men, thus marking the beginning of his long career under the “X” insignia.
In modern comics, writers and readers sometimes forget the close bond Storm and Gambit once shared, which is a shame. After all, if it weren’t for Storm, we wouldn’t have Gambit.
16 BORN IN MANHATTAN
Although Storm’s mother came from Kenya, her father, David Munroe, was American. Storm’s African roots make her such a unique character in comics that readers sometimes forget (or willingly ignore) the fact that she wasn’t actually born in Africa. After David married N'Daré, the couple moved to David’s home in Manhattan so he could continue his career as a photojournalist. While there, N'Daré gave birth to a daughter who they named Ororo.
They only lived in Manhattan for around six months before the new family moved to Cairo for David’s job. Unfortunately, a plane crash destroyed their home when Storm was five, and the couple perished but somehow Ororo was spared.
15 HER MARRIAGE TO BLACK PANTHER WAS ANNULLED
Black Panther and Storm are a pretty popular couple in Marvel comics, and for good reason. The power and royalty they both exude makes them a seemingly perfect match. It also helps that T’Challa was Storm’s first lover, years before she joined the X-Men. Years later, they got married and Storm became the Queen of Wakanda.
But, their happy days weren’t to last. When Storm must choose between Wakanda and the X-Men, she ultimately sides with her “first” family: the X-Men. She takes off her engagement ring and throws it, spurning the High Priest of the Wakandan Panther Cult to declare their marriage annulled. Since then, Storm and T’Challa have shown some romantic inclinations, hinting at a rekindling of their failed relationship.
14 WAS ONCE POWERLESS
In the world of X-Men comics, mutant powers are a surprisingly fragile thing. Many X-Gene carrying mutants have found themselves depowered over the years because of a variety of situations. For Storm, it all started with a neutralizing gun. Forge originally created the gun, which had the power to neutralize a mutant’s powers, but it was ultimately Henry Gyrich who would (accidentally) rob Storm of her gifts.
Storm took the loss of her powers extremely hard. Her ability to control the weather was an ingrained part of her identity. Unlike most depowered superheroes, Storm lived without her mutant ability for a surprisingly long time. To this day, losing her powers again is one of her biggest anxieties.
13 BEST FRIEND IS JEAN GREY
When Storm first joined the X-Men and moved to the United States, she struggled with the unfamiliar customs and language. Before joining the team, she had already endured so much, but nothing could really prepare her for life in '70s New York. Fortunately for her, one of the founding members of the X-Men, Jean Grey, was willing to take her under her wing.
Jean showed Storm how to live life in America, and, perhaps more importantly, how to live life in America as a mutant. The two became fast friends and, over the years, have served on multiple X-Men teams together.
12 CAN BREATHE UNDERWATER
Storm’s ability to control the weather is really just a sophisticated (and element-related) form of atmokinesis. She can move atoms in a multitude of ways to create different kinds of weather patterns, from massive thunderstorms to snowy blizzards. Although she doesn’t do this very often, Storm can use the same atmokinesis powers she uses to create rainstorms to separate oxygen from hydrogen in water molecules. When underwater, she can then use that oxygen to breathe while fully submerged.
This really only comes in handy during specific situations, but on a larger scale, this ability shows just how large Storm’s capacity for greatness is -- her powers are only limited by her imagination.
11 MEMBER OF THE FANTASTIC FOUR
The Fantastic Four sees regular roster changes. Not surprisingly, the First Family isn’t always able to save the universe and keep up the semblance of a healthy family life. After "Civil War", Reed Richards and Sue Storm wanted to focus on rebuilding their broken relationship. Before leaving, they called in the recently married Storm and Black Panther to take their places on the team.
Marvel apparently didn’t want Storm gone from the X-Men for long, so her time on the Fantastic Four was very short. Still, we got to see a few exciting adventures with Storm and T’Challa battling it out beside the Human Torch and the Thing.
10 EXTREME CLAUSTROPHOBIA
When a plane hit Ororo’s childhood home in Egypt when she was five years old, her parents perished but she survived. Buried under pounds and pounds of rubble for three days, Ororo was forced to listen to her mother’s last cries all the while assuming she too wouldn’t make it out alive. Most comic book characters have traumatic origin stories, but Storm has one of the worst.
Because of what she experienced as a child, Storm grew an intense fear of tight, enclosed spaces. When she joined the X-Men, her claustrophobia frequently endangered her teammates. Not wanting to let the X-Men down, Storm gradually learned how to kick her childhood fear. She no longer has emotional breakdowns when trapped, but she becomes noticeably uncomfortable.
9 TRANSFORMED INTO A TEEN
Comic books are full of outlandish, insane plots. However, Storm’s confrontation with the crazy scientist known as Nanny might just be one of the X-Men’s strangest adventures to date. Wanting Storm as a minion for her deranged cause, Nanny de-aged Storm, transforming her into a pre-teen. She also erased all of Storm’s memories, so she wouldn’t want to return to the X-Men.
Nanny underestimated the newly-young mutant’s power and Storm was able to escape. During this time, she returned to her life as a thief, since that’s what she did during her "first" childhood. Marvel writers returned Storm to adulthood not too long after her initial de-aging. In Storm’s case, superpowered kids just aren’t as entertaining as superpowered adults.
8 BEAT CYCLOPS IN BATTLE
Storm is a natural born leader. For years, she led the X-Men after Cyclops left because of the emotional toll of Jean Grey’s tragic passing. She did a great a job and, during that time, she really developed as a character and as a member of the X-Men. When Cyclops returned, her position seemed tenuous, but she refused to give up her title.
At the time, Cyclops was willing to go along with Storm’s assertion, but eventually, he wanted his old position back. During Storm’s powerless period, Cyclops challenges his teammate to a duel for leadership. Even without her weather altering powers, Storm wins and is able to keep the title.
7 INCREDIBLE WILL
Having a telepath as your best friend has some major perks. Jean Grey helped Storm train her mind to become a near impenetrable fortress against psychic attacks. While she didn’t put in psychic blocks, she did give Storm some pointers on how to keep telepaths out.
On top of that, Storm naturally has an impressive will power that most likely originated in her rough childhood. Forced to live on the streets and fend for herself, Ororo never let others take advantage of her. Years later, that same attitude allowed her to keep her thoughts private. Some writers also think Storm’s electricity-based powers keep her mind hidden from telepaths.
6 SWITCHED BODIES WITH EMMA FROST
Back before Emma Frost joined the X-Men and became “good” she worked as a recruiter and teacher for the Hellfire Club. As the White Queen, it was her responsibility to gather new mutants and recruit them for the Hellfire Club’s evil purposes. Writer Chris Claremont brings Kitty Pryde into this tug-of-war battle between Emma Frost and the X-Men -- both of whom want Kitty and her newly developed mutant powers.
In order to get her, Emma uses her advanced telepathic powers to switch bodies with Storm, who at the time was close to Kitty. This switch doesn’t last very long, but it’s extremely disorienting for Storm. This event leads to a long era of distrust between Storm and Emma.
5 TRIED TO PICKPOCKET PROF. X
Storm met Charles Xavier way before he met Scott Summers, or Hank McCoy, or Bobby Drake. When she was still a young thief in the streets of Cairo, Ororo tried to pickpocket an American tourist in Uncanny X-Men #117. Little did she know, that man was the most powerful telepath in the world, Professor Charles Xavier.
Not wanting to spook the youngster, Charles didn’t tell her of her amazing mutant potential or of his own grand abilities. Before he could reprimand Ororo, another mutant, Amahl Farouk, attacked Charles and Ororo was able to run away. Years later, Charles would remember the white-haired mutant and recruit her for his elite team of second-generation X-Men.
4 POTENTIAL OMEGA LEVEL MUTANT
In the world of X-Men, an Omega-Level mutant is the most powerful kind of mutant. There aren’t any technical specifications so the title can be pretty arbitrary. Still, if Marvel calls a mutant an Omega, you should probably pay attention. No matter their ability, they’re going to be a heavy hitter.
Storm isn’t technically an Omega-Level mutant... but she’s borderline. She has the potential to become an Omega mutant if she continues to grow and develop her powers. Some writers refer to mutants like Storm, who haven’t quite reached the category of Omega, as Alpha-Level mutants. Were Storm to develop a secondary mutation in the future, we’re positive that would be enough to send her over the edge into the realm of Omega.
3 GODDESS OF THUNDER
Storm never became Thor, but she did gain the title of Goddess of Thunder after receiving the Stormcaster. Loki made the hammer as part of an elaborate scheme to use Storm and her newfound powers against Loki’s brother, Thor. Although Storm enjoyed the power the hammer offered, she was quick to give it up after realizing what Loki had in store. She abandoned the hammer and Loki went back to Asgard, defeated.
Years later, in the X-Men Gold series, Stormcaster would return after one of Ororo’s dying relatives prayed for Storm to be given the gift of divinity. Storm became a better handler of the hammer’s power, but ultimately had to give up its power a second time after using it to end a god.
2 WHITE HAIR ISN'T A MUTATION
Mutations often times manifest physically in members of the X-Men, which is why a lot of fans assume Storm’s white hair and blue eyes have something to do with the presence of the X-Gene. However, strangely enough, Storm’s mutation has nothing to do with her unique physical characteristics. She gets her white hair and bright eyes from her mother’s family, who descended from a long line of African priestess all with the same defining traits.
These specific physical features aren’t always passed down directly from family member to family member. After all, Storm’s mother doesn’t have them. Still, there’s a good chance that if Storm were to have any children, they too would have white hair (and maybe an X-Gene too).
1 EMOTIONS AFFECT HER POWERS
Storm’s connection to the Earth is dynamic. It goes beyond the typical mutant ability and touches on something considerably more primal. In order to use her powers, Storm has to reach down within herself and find fuel in her emotions. Sometimes, this is easy. Over the years, Storm has learned how to suppress extreme emotions in order to stop herself from abusing her powers. She’s also learned how to use those emotions to her advantage when she needs to.
Still, this connection between powers and emotions can be hard for Storm. More than anyone else on the X-Men (except for maybe Jean) Storm has to be aware of her emotional state. For her, a simple bad day can cause an out of season blizzard.