“Ororo Munroe. Storm. Goddess-queen-teacher-leader of mutantkind. She stood up for the underdogs, despite what everyone said. Then she suffered the terrible consequences. But she endured and was redeemed. And now she returns in triumph. Not a bad story. But what really makes it sing is how she gives up that glory. Like Cincinnatus turning his back on the crown and returning to the farm after the war. She could be riding a hurricane, ruling a nation. But instead, she answers her emails, teaches her classes, chairs a plagiarism hearing, and most exciting of all…checks up on the mould problem.”
Some of my favourite stories involve strong female protagonists who are relatable and down to earth. Storm: Bring The Thunder ticks all the right boxes, as it follows Storm on a journey to clear her name after she’s framed for a crime she didn’t commit. The graphic novel is written by Greg Pak with art duties handled by Victor Ibanez and Neil Edwards. There are themes of friendship, cultural identity and female spirit all wrapped up into a compelling story.
Taking place not long after Wolverine’s death, Storm is trying to settle his unfinished business. She helped his old lover, Yukio, put a stop to warring clans in Las Vegas by acting as her fighting champion. Storm battled Kuva of the Breakworld and though she took a beating on Yukio’s behalf, Yukio used her as a diversion so she could kill Kuva behind the scenes.
Storm boards a plane out of Las Vegas and the aircraft runs into a sudden weather disturbance. Storm uses her powers to calm the sky, only for the plane to be attacked by armed soldiers. Storm manages to repel the soldiers and keep the plane in the air until it reaches New York. Despite saving the passengers, Storm is arrested by the FBI on the orders of a senator because he claims she was responsible for the attack.
Storm breaks out of the facility she’s being held in and finds out the senator had cut a deal with X-Men foe, David Harmon of Eaglestar International. Harmon wanted Storm framed because he lost a lot of business revenue when Yukio restructured the clans. Harmon turns himself into a bomb and plans to blow up San Francisco. Storm saves the city by tapping into Earth’s magnetic fields and takes Harmon up into the Ozone layer.
Afterwards, Storm goes on an adventure with Gambit to help him locate a magical item and keep it out of the hands of the Thieves Guild. Their dynamic is one of the best parts of the graphic novel, with lots of banter and mutual respect. Both are successful in finding the item, but it turns out to be a mirror that reminds them there are no shortcuts in life.
In the final act of the story, Storm comes face to face with a former student she was forced to kill called Kenji Uedo. Kenji’s power involved techno-organic creation and he quickly attacks the Jean Grey school with techno-organic ‘meat puppets.’ Kenji tries to goad Storm into killing him, proving that her inclusive dream was a lie. She refuses and, connected to his mind, shows Kenji that many of her friends were once monsters, but they still decided to fight for a better world. Kenji sees sense in this and Storm defeats him with kindness.
“When I was a girl, I lived in the sky. And some days, I wonder why I ever left. But I’m not a goddess any longer. I’m not even a queen. Instead I’m part of something…so much more. And this is where I belong.” – Storm
Throughout the graphic novel, Storm’s characterisation is strong. She’s presented as compassionate, selfless, noble and powerful. Although her mutant abilities are given their due, Pak highlights her skills as well. Her history as a master thief is used to great effect, with Storm living by the mantra that her powers don’t define who she is. The art is gorgeous, showcasing Storm’s beauty and strength. She’s never placed in exaggerated positions, or overly sexualised.
Storm: Bring The Thunder puts a culturally diverse superhero in the spotlight. It taps into Storm’s heritage as a black woman and mutant, creating one of the best X-Men stories I’ve ever read. It’s available on Amazon now.