Storm, AKA Ororo Munroe, has been a fixture in the X-titles since she first appeared in Giant-Size X-Men #1 in 1975. She’s a complicated character, a powerful mutant, a deft leader, and her role as Regent of Arokko (the entire planet Mars) makes her a pivotal part of the next big Marvel event: Destiny of X.
Marvel’s Destiny of X is the big mutant event for this year, welcoming in the next phase of the Krakoa era of the X-Men and their like. Jonathan Hickman’s revamping of the mutants with their own nation, and now their own planet, has been a huge success in terms of storytelling and sales for Marvel Comics, and that success doesn’t look to be slowing.
Destiny of X is already underway, spinning out of X Lives of Wolverine and X Deaths of Wolverine, the Second Krakoan Age has introduced Immortal X-Men and a second volume of Marauders. This month is seeing even more new series along with the existing mutant stories: X-Men: Red, Knights of X, and Legion of X. Storm will be at the center of all of it.
She hasn’t always played such a prominent role, however. From the lowly Morlocks to Wakanda to Mars, here are the essential Storm comics.
Giant Size X-Men #1 by Len Wein, Dave Cockrum, Peter Iro, and Glynis Oliver
While it rings as tokenism now, Giant-Size X-Men #1 introduced a whole slew of new, diverse X-Men to replace a team of five white teens and their white mentor. Flying high among this new group was Storm, the Black mutant with the power to control the weather.
The Claremont Years
Chris Claremont had a long, legendary run on the X-Men, including many of the essential Storm comics.
The X-Men #102 by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, Sam Grainger, and Bonnie Wilford
Yes, this issue is about Juggernaut and Black Tom Cassidy. It’s also one of the essential Storm comics when her claustrophobia is revealed, along with being the first time her origins in Cairo with the master of thieves is revealed.
The Uncanny X-Men #170 by Chris Claremont, Paul Smith, Bob Wiacek, and Janine Casey
As the conflict between the X-Men and the Morlocks threatens to boil over, Storm sees a way out. She challenges Callisto, the Morlock leader, to a fight to the death for leadership of the underground group of mutants. This is what leaders do: risk everything for their teams, families, and doing the right thing.
The Uncanny X-Men #173 by Chris Claremont, Paul Smith, Bob Wiacek, and Glynis Oliver
This issue is better known as the story in which Rogue proves herself and officially joins the X-Men, but it’s essential for Storm. In the aftermath of losing her powers, here is where she decides a change is in order, shaving her long hair in favor of a mohawk. This well-worn physical signal for a woman taking control of her life is always effective.
Lifedeath by Chris Claremont, Barry Windsor-Smith, Terry Austin, and Glynis Oliver
The Uncanny X-Men #186 is a cornerstone issue, one of the absolutely essential Storm comics. Accidentally shot by one of Forge’s weapons, Storm has lost her powers. At times considered a goddess, Ororo must reckon with her powerless self and her relationship with Forge, which has blossomed into romance before the accident.
The Uncanny X-Men #201 by Chris Claremont, Rick Leonardi, Whilce Portacio, and Glynis Oliver
If it worked once, why not try it again? Storm doesn’t like how Cyclops is running the X-Men, so she challenges him to a fight for leadership of the team. One catch: she is without her powers. Despite his incredible optic blasts, Cyclops is beaten by Storm’s skills and strategy. Never doubt Ororo Monroe.
The Uncanny X-Men #216 by Chris Claremont, Jackson Guice, Dan Green, and Glynis Oliver
Storm has always carried an air of arrogance about her, which controlling the weather naturally brings. In this issue, she is depowered and being hunted by a superpowered group of vigilantes. Betrayed by her friend, she must hold out on her wits and skills alone until Wolverine can arrive to assist.
X-Men Annual #9 by Chris Claremont, Arthur Adams, Al Gordon, and Petra Scotese
As with most annual issues, there’s a lot going on in this book. X-Men, Asgardians, and even Warlock are all in the mix. So why is this an essential Storm comic? Ororo Monroe is worthy of Mjolnir, picking it up and becoming the Goddess of Thunder in actual continuity. That alone is worth the read.
Modern Storm Comics
It is lamentable that Storm was exclusively in the hands of white writers for a long time. While I applaud those writers bringing diverse characters to the forefront, it is only recently that Black writers and creative teams, like Reginald Hudlin, have taken on more Storm stories, bringing their own lived experiences to the page.
Ororo: Before the Storm by Marc Sumerak, Carlo Barberi, Juan Vlasco, and Val Staples
While The Uncanny X-Men #102 told Storm’s origin story for the first time, this four-issue miniseries from 2005 focused entirely on her origin, digging much deeper than ever before. From her childhood as a thief to her awakening powers, this is the definitive origin for Ororo Monroe.
Bride of the Panther by Reginald Hudlin, Scot George Eaton, and Kaare Andrews
For decades, Storm and Black Panther have had an on-again, off-again relationship. Their friendship dated back to pre-X-Men times, but here it culminates in their marriage. Morlock leader. X-Men leader. Goddess of Thunder. Queen of Wakanda. This is definitely one of the essential Storm comics.
X-Men: Worlds Apart by Christopher Yost, Diogenes Neves, Edgar Tadeo, and Raul Trevino
You just knew that when Storm became Queen of Wakanda, this would eventually cause issues with her role in the X-Men. Enter the old Shadow King. Using his mind-control powers, he poisons the people of Wakanda against her and even control Black Panther in his attack. Now, Storm needs her old mutant buddies to protect her new homeland.
Planet-Size X-Men #1 by Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz, and Marte Gracia
This list begins with Giant-Size and ends with Planet-Size, which is fitting. There’s a lot going on in this oversized issue, but here are the bones. Mutants have terraformed Mars into a mutant planet colony called Arrakko. Who is in charge? Storm, Regent of Arrakko. Oh, and the galactic community has named Arrakko the capital of the Sol System. So, she’s the boss of us all.
Black woman. Leader. X-Man. Queen of Wakanda. Regent of Arrakko. Goddess of Thunder. It’s no wonder that Marvel is putting Storm in the middle of Destiny of X and so many great stories that have come before it. What’s your favorite Storm comic?