Writer: Greg Pak; Artists: V. Ibañez, R. Redmond, S. Hans (cover)/ Marvel Comics
Damn, she did it again! Stephanie Hans with another amazing cover. Feminine and very Black, Ororo just lights up this cover, surrounded by her own mist and that one lightning bolt/tear. It is strength, and just enough weakness to make that strength real. These covers really make the hard-copy comics something to hold on to.
Remember last month when I said Storm issue #11 was going to be gloopy? Yeah, I was right.
I have to give mad credit to Pak here on the very first page. The reference to the classic children’s bedtime story Goodnight Moon is chillingly used in this creepy horror movie opening. Like a villain singing nursery rhymes, it just puts you on edge from the very beginning. For those unfamiliar with kid’s books (I myself have read this book eleventybillion times in the last 4 years), Goodnight Moon is a bedtime story in which the reader is putting a small bunny to sleep by saying goodnight to all of the items in the room. It closes with: “Goodnight stars. Goodnight air. Goodnight noises, everywhere” which Kenji mocks here.
Kenji continues to mock Ororo as she exerts all of her effort to clear the students (and Beast) out of the school for their own safety. Only there are some people she can’t save. Kenji has been preparing for this moment for quite some time, it seems, and has set up several of Ororo’s friends — the very people she’s been saving and protecting throughout the run — for a bad, messy ending.
Not to be outdone by Hans on the cover work, Ibanez and Edwards bring their A-game to the inside panels on this issue. Note how the panels of action in that image are broken up by white lightning bolts shooting out of Storm’s hair. See how each section is done in a slightly different, but still unified, color palette. And that’s just one page. It all integrates very very well. I can’t even show you all of how good it is, but believe me, this book brings some good, unusual panel placement together with good art to make the whole comic a page turner.
If the theme of the issues 5 through 8 was consequences, the theme of the closing 3 issues is hope. Hope is the thing that Ororo is trying to bring to all of her different connections, a faith in themselves and their own power to change the world, or at least their own stories. And it is hope that Kenji is trying to take away from Ororo through his schemes.
I’m going to stop dropping panels at this point, because I don’t want to spoil the ending, but Storm has to tap into her most fundamental power to win the day. If you need a brush up on her full power suite, I refer you to our staff article, Ororo for Omega, for details.
With the advent of Secret Wars, this run of Storm is coming to an end. It has been a thoughtful, entertaining, powerful, and timely series of comics that drew me in with every page. I’m going to miss it during the hiatus and will look forward to whatever form Ororo Munroe takes on the other side. Pak and team really let her be a traditional superhero in this one, honorable and committed, inspiring to the last page. And they embraced all of the things that make her such a well-loved powerhouse, particularly for Black women. I’ll close with her words, because they sum up all eleven issues so well:
“We’re not here to show you PRETTY…but we’re here. And we’re writing a different story. Together.”