Thursday, July 24, 2014

Scanned Thoughts: Storm #1

It’s an exciting time to be a minority in America and a shitty time to be a Fox News pundit. Against the wishes of uptight religious zealots and incontinent old white people, minorities are making progress. Some of it has shown in comics recently. Marvel celebrated its first gay wedding a few years ago. It has a black/hispanic Spider-Man and soon, there will be a black Captain America to go along with a female Muslim Ms. Marvel. I can already hear Glenn Beck bitching and moaning about it and it’s a beautiful thing. But with all these new developments, it’s easy to miss that Storm has been pissing off these uptight, racist, misogynistic assholes for decades. She is one of the most prominent characters in all of X-men. She’s a leader, a lover, a friend, and a badass weather goddess that nobody dares piss off. Yet she has rarely had her own solo series to call her own. Meanwhile, Wolverine has had a fuckton of solos where his biggest contributions to minority relations is boning foreign women. Now as Marvel finding out that there is a market for badass women, it has decided to give Storm another shot at a solo series. I want to applaud this move, but then I realize it’s fucking 2014 and this is one of those things that should’ve happened a couple decades ago. But since I was high as fuck for most of the 90s, I’ll look past it and embrace Storm #1 as yet another sign that the Fox News crowd are losing.

It seems everything Storm does is an affront to everything Rush Limbaugh stands for. She casually flies into a poor foreign country wearing clothes that show off her beauty. She does so with a grace and power that would make every man’s balls shrink in shame. And she arrives with the intent to stop a natural disaster that would irreparably harm dozens of innocent people utilizing a special power that only she wields. She couldn’t possibly be more opposed to right-wing assholes without including free birth control. What makes it all the more awesome is that there’s a nice string of inner monologue offering insight into how she wields this power over the elements and how she perceives herself. She acknowledges that she has been a goddess in the eyes of many, but that doesn’t stop her from maintaining her humility. I think that’s her subtle way of saying, “Kiss my ass, Zeus!”

She then proves that she’s capable of utilizing her god-like powers to do more than just seduce mortals and churn out illegitimate demigods. In a display that would probably make Greenpeace cry tears of joy, she single-handedly diverts an incoming tsunami. She doesn’t do it with creative engineering or rapid evacuations either. She does it with fucking tornados. It’s exactly as awesome as it sounds. And the villagers share my sentiment. As they watch her save their village and their lives, one of them even smiles and greets her.

It makes for a beautiful moment with the girl. After the tsunami is diverted and the village is saved, the little girl runs up to Storm and hugs her. But unlike every other god or goddess in the history of the world, she actually responds. She doesn’t even demand that she sacrifice a chicken. She just does this because she has the power and it’s the right thing to do. What a fucking concept, right? The whole village cheers her. I doubt any of the other gods they had ever worshipped ever did something like this and took the time to pose for pictures as well. It shows just how inadequate our gods truly are, but I don’t mind in the slightest because Storm makes it look so damn awesome.

This could have been the most awesome religious moment that Mel Gibson didn’t profit from, but like the Richard Dawkins of the world, a cold dose of reality ruins the moment. This time it comes in the form of some asshole in a uniform with a big gun claiming this place, which is apparently called Santo Marco, has a strict no-mutant policy in the same way that Uganda has a strict no-gays policy. It’s a real dick move to someone who just saved hundreds of lives. It would be like telling a doctor who just performed life-saving surgery on a thousand orphans to piss off, but that’s exactly what he does. Storm could have easily gotten Old Testament on his ass, but she chose not to because she’s not that kind of goddess. For her, fire and brimstone is so 18th century.

Storm returns to the Jean Grey Institute with her head held high and why not? She saved so many innocent lives and did a great thing for the world. It would take a monumental douche to not let her take the time to appreciate that. Unfortunately, the Jean Grey Institute still employs Hank McCoy. He just has to prematurely end her good mood, but not because she was rude to the asshole with the big fucking guns. One of their students is acting up. Considering how many teenagers attend the Jean Grey Institute, that’s like telling her that a skunk’s rotting corpse smells terrible. However, one student in particular is causing trouble and for once it isn’t Kid Omega. And since Wolverine isn’t around to solve the problems with his claws, he needs Storm’s help. I guess if anyone is going to deal with the shit storm of a teenager, it might as well be a goddess like Storm.

The teenager in question is a girl named Creep and she’s as much of a bitch as her name implies. Her powers involve turning everywhere she goes into a swamp, which sounds about as useful as body odor on date. And for some reason, she’s not fitting in at the Jean Grey Institute. I guess making everyone feel like they’re in a fucking swamp isn’t a good way to make friends. Storm tries to go from goddess to counselor, as she often has to do, but this is where it gets a little more personal and not in the ways that would make a good article in Hustler.

Creep goes off on this rant that puts into question the entire premise of the Jean Grey Institute. She claims they just take in mutants and indoctrinate them into this whole X-men ideology the way Rick Santorum wishes schools would do for his fucked up ideology. She calls out Storm for basically just being part of the X-men’s mission and not practicing what Xavier preached with respect to using their powers. She’s not entirely wrong either, although she does sound like she’s just bitching and pissed off. Normally, having a heated argument with Storm is a good way to get a few dozen lightning bolts up the ass, but when that argument has some merit, she will listen. It’s yet another quality that makes her better than any other god or goddess ever worshipped.

She actually takes Creep’s criticisms seriously and in an act that no god or politician ever dreams of doing, she actually decides to change it. So despite running the risk of pissing off some warlord who uses captured prisoners for target practice, Storm returns to Santo Marco and helps them clean up the damage done by the tsunami. Naturally, they’re all overjoyed to see her. And this time, she doesn’t just rely on her powers to make people want to worship her. She actually gets her hands dirty, picking up garbage and helping to rebuild homes. The idea of any god or goddess getting their hands dirty when they can be off starting wars or inspiring suicide bombers sounds so outrageous, but it shouldn’t be. And that’s the biggest impact of this story.

At times, Storm has been a stern leader who will inspire anyone to spit in the devil’s face and oppose any asshole who gets in her way. At times, she has been a loving caretaker that everyone turns to when they need a good hug and a pep talk, assuming Wolverine’s method of applying whisky and profanity to every problem doesn’t work for everyone. For a time, she was even a queen, even though it required a bullshit marriage that couldn’t end fast enough. But this story shows that at her heart, Storm is a just an overall loving, caring person that seeks to do the right thing for the right reasons. Again, that shouldn’t sound so outrageous, but in this age of fallen heroes and pissed off anti-heroes, it might as well be as revolutionary as it is awesome.

As expected, someone eventually comes along to put a stop to all this compassion and charity. For once, it isn’t Hank McCoy. The same asshole from earlier who kicked Storm out of the country because she happened to be a mutant wants her to leave again. And just because he has a death wish, he demands that everyone in the village leave to in order to make room for some fancy resort for rich people. For some reason, Storm has a big problem with that. And instead of respecting shady business deals and bullshit politics, she decides to kick their asses. An army of thugs versus a fucking weather goddess? That sounds about as fair as it needs to be. She already stopped a natural disaster and saved hundreds of lives. She might as well save more lives by beating the shit out of armed thugs in the process, as if she hasn’t proven herself to be awesome enough.

Her deeds should be celebrated. Of course, Beast finds a way to be annoyed by it because he has to deal with the authority figures bitching and moaning about how anyone could have the audacity to protect innocent people. He’s got his work cut out for him, but the rest of the X-men approve of her badass approach to helping the poor and needy. Even Creep, the girl who whined at her earlier is impressed. It’s probably not going to go over well with the Ugandas of the world. They’ll probably use this as an excuse to make even harsher anti-mutant laws and they’ll probably have the full support of the Pat Robertsons of the world, but that won’t stop Storm from being badass on a divine level. And if Beast doesn’t like it, he can kiss her ass.

And she’s still not done being awesome. After returning to the Jean Grey Institute again, she confronts Creep and admits something no god or goddess has ever admitted before: she has a valid point. Creep clearly isn’t fitting in. She doesn’t belong at the Jean Grey Institute. She wants to go back home to her family and Storm gladly escorts her. If at this point the gods anyone else worship don’t seem like assholes by comparison, I don’t know what more Storm can do without ending world hunger or erasing every season of the Jersey Shore from public memory. She’s not just a goddess. She’s a compassionate, badass X-man capable of being awesome on a truly divine level.

There aren’t a lot of people or things in this world I think are worthy of worship that don’t involve efficient means of delivering alcohol and weed into my blood stream, but I would put Storm right up there with Jack Daniels in terms of figures worthy of worship. This whole issue is a testament to why she’s not just one of the greatest X-men of all time, she’s a damn fine human being capable of the kind of compassion that would make Ayan Rand shit herself. She has the power and grace of a goddess, but wields the humility and heart of a thousand Mother Theresas. What other god, fictional or otherwise, warrants that kind of worship? And like some gods that demand a goat sacrifice just to stave off plagues, Storm doesn’t demand worship. She just sees suffering in the world and uses her powers to heal it. On top of it all, she has a great ass. That makes her a true goddess in every sense of the word. Storm #1 gets a divine 10 out of 10. Now I know I’m going to offend a lot of religious people by saying this, but it needs to be said. Compared to Storm, the gods of every other major religion suck. Not because of their power or how many adherents they have, but because Storm actually earns the right to be called a goddess and she does it while looking sexy as hell. Nuff said!


  1. Why did you decide to try and go political at the start of this? Marvel has been a pioneer in racial equality for decades and everyone knows that. Instead you took time to perpetuate some myths about conservatives. Please don't be political. The internet is already ruined by that and some of us like comics so we can escape trash like that. Stick with the comics and good one liners. Your good at it.

  2. Uhm, a little biased wouldn't you say? Thus is a decent comic but other than a hardcore fanatic (which you obviously are) there is nothing in this issue that makes it the new testament you are making it out to be. Are you getting paid by Marvel? This used to be my second favorite site to check out after comics released, you just blew it. Reviewers need to be fair and partial, obviously you are neither. Too bad.

  3. "Reviewers need to be fair and partial..." Yes, a valid point BUT in this case I myself cannot help but COMPLETELY agree with Jack Fisher.
    'Storm #1 gets a divine 10 out of 10.' I so agree!
    Thank you DAVE COCKRUM for the look and feel of the marvel character Ororo Munroe aka Storm.
    Thank you LEN WEIN for the names 'Ororo Munroe' and 'Storm'.
    Thank you CHRIS CLAREMONT for her backstory, molding, shaping and defining her for 17 years!
    Thank you Greg Pak, Victor Ibanez and all the others that made Storm 1 possible, for going forward with elevating Storm to becoming Marvel Comics' LEADING LADY!
    To me, Storm is marvel comics' Wonder Woman.

  4. Anonynous: "Why did you decide to try and go political at the start of this? Marvel has been a pioneer in racial equality for decades and everyone knows that. Instead you took time to perpetuate some myths about conservatives. Please don't be political. The internet is already ruined by that and some of us like comics so we can escape trash like that."

    Not sure if you realize this, Anonymous, but the X-Men have been an allegory for real-world bigotry and overly conservative ways of thinking for *quite some time*. There's a reason mutant-haters in the Marvel Universe are often also religious zealots, for example.

    There's nothing out of place about Jack's political commentaries on a book that's arguably a political commentary.

  5. great job like always jack.
    i loved reading storm 1,great issue.

  6. I like the diversity. However, why so new minority and female characters have to be copies of existing ones? I'm more interested in a new compelling character instead we get shameless grabs for readers that don't last. Besides, wasn't a black Cap already created?

    1. The reason it's done that way is because the existing brands like Thor and Cap are received better and get more attention, even from people not into comics. It's easier to get people's attention, both inside the comics fandom and without, by making use of that existing brand.

      If you do create a new character, you also have to go that route. Unfortunately, though, there aren't a lot of new characters coming along these days, and the reason for it is that comic creators have little incentive to create new characters for Marvel or DC since they will then become the publisher's property and the creator may never even get to use the character again, much less make money off the character themselves.

      The big comics publishers are kind of stuck in this vicious circle as a result of all that. Meanwhile, you get a lot of Marvel and DC fans who decry moves like this, saying they should just make new characters when they want to do something diversifying, even as these same fans of the big two look down on "indie writers" who actually have the incentive to create new characters.

      I don't see it changing any time soon.

      The one bright side in all of this, though, is that if a character performs well while filling the shoes for someone like Thor or Cap, they could then be kept around (presumably their fans will stick around too) when Thor/Cap makes their inevitable return to the role.

      Basically, think about what was done with Eric Masterson/Thunderstrike. Except for that whole dying thing.