Storm #1 Makes An Amazing Debut

It can take a while for new comics to find their footing, sometimes. They feel the need to set the stage for later, bigger movements. Others retread backstory to help reintroduce a character that's been gone a while. Then there's Storm #1, which just hits the ground running, and it is outstanding. (Spoilers below.)

It certainly helps to have a heroine center stage that's A) been around for decades, B) has an immense following, and C) has had some fantastic development over the years. Storm was once revered as a goddess. She had a brief tenure as a queen of an entire nation. She's led the X-Men (with and without her powers). She's succeeded the late Charles Xavier, and is responsible for dozens, if not hundreds of students.

And oh yeah, she controls the weather. Storm kicks things off by breaking up a Tsunami. She grapples with the elements to save hundreds of lives in one go, and that's just her opener. She lands, triumphant, to receive hugs and adulation from the people she's saved... before the obligatory anti-mutant pricks show up.

Storm #1 Makes An Amazing Debut

This much, at least, is nothing new. Mutants are hated and feared by some. Less than there used to be. The fact that Storm just saved their lives means nothing to the militant bad guys. Beast comes through on her radio (Hi Beast!) to assure her they're trying to avoid an international incident. That, and he's working with Santo Marco's opposition party to fight the Anti-Mutant Bill in legislation.

This makes perfect sense, as Beast believes in systems. He's comfortable with pattern recognition, and will do everything in his power to avoid unnecessary conflict.

But that's not Storm. She's been a thief, a goddess, a queen, and most recently, a headmaster. She's above systems, outside them. If the system gives her something she doesn't like, she makes it comply.

What's nice to see is that she has more tools at her disposal than thunderbolts and death stares. She can also use compassion. Well. Eventually.

On the home front, a young teen with plant powers named Flourish (and renamed Creep by her classmates) is miserable. To retaliate, she ruins every scrap of food in the cafeteria with her powers. Storm first approaches her as a headmaster, reciting language fed to her ages ago by Xavier. It doesn't work here, because Creep wants to go home. She's got people she could be feeding, rather than being picked on by other teens who don't appreciate her.

Storm is probably the single most qualified superhero to be getting her own series, right now. All her life experiences, her choices, her indomitable spirit. Storm is a role model, something that a lot of comic books fail to remember. By their very nature, heroes are supposed to inspire.

Look at Magneto, by contrast. He recently got his own series, and he's set out on a bloody vendetta against the same type of people Storm's fighting now. All he's done is kill, hide, and kill some more. His latest efforts include kidnapping and brainwashing mutants to rebuild his own Brotherhood. That'll end well. It's an antihero book, sure, but there's nothing in it that I'd call inspirational.

Storm #1 Makes An Amazing Debut

Then there's Storm. Rather than bow to the obtuse, stubborn, militant faction making Santo Marco miserable, she goes back in and takes the fighting to them. And it is glorious. Here's a woman who's been stripped of her powers before, and has learned not to rely on them alone. Why bother, when an elbow to the windpipe feels just as good?

And that's what she does: Storm inspires entire villages to rise up and fight back, reclaiming their homes. Even half a world away, watching on the news, her students are impressed.

What really makes Storm incredible, in my opinion, is her ability to listen. She acknowledges Creep's point of view, rather than automatically assuming she's wrong, since Storm is the grownup. Storm finds ways to apply her own independent thinking to the scenario, and makes the right decision (at least, in round two). You want to see the bravest two words spoken in this entire issue?

Storm #1 Makes An Amazing Debut

Storm apologizes to Creep, and shows her enough respect to call her by the mutant name she's asking to be called by. Contrast that with the militant jerks who refuse to call Storm by anything but Ororo Monroe. Creep gets to go home, for a while. Storm will continue to re-orient herself, and see where the wind blows her next. It is outstanding.

Between Greg Pak's writing, Victor Ibañez' artwork, and Ruth Redmond's colors, Storm #1 is probably the best comic I've read this month. This is no stumble out of the gate, this is an exemplary showcase of good writing, beautiful artwork, and fully realized characters. This is what comics should be. And I'll be here a month from now, eagerly anticipating chapter two.