I SUPPORT BLACK SUPERHEROES [Belser-Verse, Part 7]: A Goddess Among X-Men.

JaDarrell “The Belser”
@TheBelser

In previous ISBSH articles, we’ve explored mainly male superheroes. I feel that it’s only right to show that gender has nothing to do with heroism, since real life African American heroines like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Angela Davis have shown the world the ability of a strong black woman. Now is my chances to highlight a few that are favorites of mine.

STORM

Creation:

Storm was created by writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum and first appeared in Giant-Size X-Men #1(1975).

 

Black Cat: One of two rejected characters that gave birth to Storm. The Black Cat had Storm’s costume, minus the cape

Storm came from an amalgamation of two characters Dave Cockrum created– a black feline character called The Black Cat and Typhoon, a white male that could control the weather. The character was submitted for the line-up of a new international batch of X-Men. Since the creative team did not want the X-Men to have an all-male lineup, editor Roy Thomas suggested that Cockrum make the Typhoon character into the female of the new group.

Cockrum liked the idea and gave Typhoon The Black Cat’s costume, a cape, and long white hair. His collaborators feared that Storm’s white hair would make her look like a grandmother, but Cockrum liked the look and was confident that he could consistently draw the character.

The final design of Storm for her comic debut. Storm is the first major female character of African descent in mainstream comics.

Origin:

Young Ororo Munroe on her journey into womanhood in Africa

The daughter of a Kenyan tribal princess and an African-American photojournalist father, Ororo Munroe was born in Harlem, New York and  raised in Cairo, Egypt. Unfortunately, she was made an orphan after her parents were killed in the midst of an Arab–Israeli conflict. An incident at this time also traumatized Munroe, leaving her with claustrophobia that she would struggle with for life.

Ororo became a skilled pickpocket on the streets of Cairo. Here, she meets through coincidence a young Charles Xavier. While Jean Grey is his first student and Scott Summers the first X-Man, Storm was the first of the X-Men that Charles ever encountered.
Ororo and a young T’Challa ( The Black Panther) meet as teenagers and become each other’s first true love.
Professor X and Storm meet again year later and he convinces Ororo to join his new team of X-Men. As an X-Man, Storm uses her abilities for a greater cause and purpose.
Due to her natural leadership skills and formidable powers, Storm quickly becames the leader of the X-Men for a time. Even the hot tempered Wolverine bowed to her wisdom.

Storm has been a member of The X-Men, The Avengers and The Fantastic Four. She is often regarded  as being Marvel’s’ most important female superhero, having drawn favorable comparison to DC Comics’ Wonder Woman.

Multimedia Appearances:

TV

Storm and her fellow X-Men on ‘ Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends”

The first multimedia appearance of Storm was on the 80’s NBC cartoon Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends on the episode “A Firestar Is Born“. She would return in a later episode “The X-Men Adventure”.

Storm in the ‘ Pryde Of The X-Men” pilot

Storm next appeared as a member of The X-Men on the  animated pilot Pryde of the X-Men. It was originally broadcast in 1989 on the syndicated Marvel Action Universe television block which featured Robocop :The Animated Series and Dino-Riders. The pilot aired in syndication, and was later released on video. The cartoon also served as the basis for Konami’s popular X-Men arcade game.

Storm on Fox Kids! in the 90’s

The major depiction of Storm came on the 90’s Fox Kids! cartoon X-Men: The Animated Series. She was originally voiced by Iona Morris in Season 1 and Alison Sealy-Smith from Season 2 onward.  She was second-in-command of The X-Men after Cyclops and the leader of The Morlocks by rite of combat. She also has many episodes dedicated to her including the episode “Storm Front” and the Whatever It Takes” 2-parter. Like in the comics, she is also severely claustrophobic.

On the show, she would recite an eloquent chant when activating her powers ( Ex: I summon the full power of the STORM!”). She is  seen throughout the series as Professor Xavier’s closest confidant, a mother figure to young mutant Jubilee and Rogue’s best friend.

Storm on the WB!

Storm is next seen on the 2000’s Kids WB! cartoon X-Men: Evolution. Here, Storm is a teacher at The Xavier Institute (second only to Professor Xavier) an  the aunt of young X-Man Evan Daniels (Spyke). This series also gives her a sister named Vivian (Storm is an only child in the comics). She is a passionate gardener and the keeper of the X-Mansion’s greenhouse. In the episode “African Storm“, her past life is revealed including her torment by an evil African shaman named Houngan and her claustrophobia. She was voiced by Kirsten Williamson.

Movies

When the 2000 movie X-Men was scheduled to be produced, actress Angela Bassett was the studio’s first choice to portray Storm, but she was too expensive to cast at the time. Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey were also considered before the role went to future Oscar winner Halle Berry.

Halle Berry as Storm

Berry portrayed Storm in four installments of the X-Men film franchise: X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

In X-Men, she is a member of the team and helps in saving Wolverine from Sabretooth. She also fights with the other X-Men to save Rogue and stop Magneto and The Brotherhood. This role continued onto the next film X2: X-Men United. NOTE: In the first film, Berry portrayed Storm with a slight Kenyan accent but this aspect was decidedly dropped going forward.

Storm becomes the leader of The X-Men on film as well

In X-Men: The Last Stand, Storm is given a much larger role and acts as the new leader of the X-Men after the supposed death of Charles Xavier, and finally succeeds to defeat Magneto once again. It is shown here that Storm harbors unrequited feelings for Wolverine and is one of the few people aware of his affections for Jean Grey.  NOTE: For her role in X-Men: The Last Stand, Halle Berry received a People’s Choice Award for “Best Female Action Hero.”

Storm in the distant future

In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Storm is shown among the last remaining X-Men as the mutants have gone to war with the Sentinels. Unfortunately, Storm is shown to impaled by a Sentinel in a surprise attack. However, Wolverine’s time travel mission is a success, these events are erased and  a new timeline shows Storm still alive.

A deleted scene shows Wolverine and Storm as lovers in a long time relationship. As of this article, this film would be the last time Halle Berry has portrayed Storm. NOTE: Storm has a reduced role in this film per the request of Halle Berry (She was pregnant at the time of filming). 

A new Storm is rising…

Actress Alexandra Shipp portrays a young Storm in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse. She is brainwashed by the newly awakened Apocalypse and joins his Horsemen of Apocalypse as Famine in the belief that his goal is to save the world. As a side effect of her manipulation, her Mohawk hair color turned white (like in the comics and the original film trilogy).

However, she sees Apocalypse abandon Angel for failing and has a complete change of heart. Shipp portrays Storm in a brief cameo in Deadpool 2, and reprises the role in the film X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

NEXT UP: Misty Knight!!

-JaDarrel Belser

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