Another Storm issue, another old friend is introduced, another slice of her past is revealed, expanded upon, and possibly forgiven. That may sound boring, but I’m loving it. This Storm is unfolding gradually in small scenes and light touches, leading the fan through the many moods of Ororo Monroe.
After some banter with Beast, who is becoming like the constant ghost of an old house, this issue is set in Kenya, in one of the villages where Storm first earned and wielded her Goddess title. There’s a drought (isn’t there always?) and Ororo is invited back to bring some of her old skills to bear. But there’s a twist – she’s invited back by Forge. Now that’s a relationship that justifiably gets the “It’s Complicated” tag on Facebook.
The two of them manage to come to an agreement – almost hitting him with a lightning bolt counts as “coming to an agreement” for Storm – and proceed to try to address the drought. But Storm’s not interested in bringing a solution that will work for the short term, so the fix she decides on commits Forge and his brain to a year-long sharing agreement with the villagers, assuring us all that he’ll be right where she wants him when she needs him.
One thing of significant note: If you include Beast the Friendly Ghost, everyone in this issue is of color. Everyone. This is an African story in which the central conflict is neocolonialism. It is one of those subtle victories that that story is being lead by brown and Black people coming together to find mutual solutions. In any other medium, this might seem forced or corny, but here with Pak’s careful writing and the easy pace of the story, it feels very natural, almost heartwarming.
After I read this comic myself, I read it out loud to my toddler (yes, I’m such a mom nerd). She asked me, “Who’s the bad guy, mommy?” I had to tell her there isn’t one. In fact, there hasn’t been a “bad guy” in any of these comics. There have been people that Storm thought were bad, but at the end of the day, it has always been the situation that Storm had to turn her will against and understanding that situation fully that allowed her to solve whatever problem was at hand. Even with that lack of a villain, the plots move along smoothly and there’s plenty of conflict to go around. Storm hasn’t really met a power that rivals her’s yet, but that’s only a matter of time. In the meantime, there are plenty of things to drop lightning bolts on and plenty of people to blow off their feet. That includes the readers like me.