Greg Pak (W)
Victor Ibanez (A)
Issue two of Storm’s new solo series is, put simply — just as good as the first. Okay, no, it’s better.
The issue begins with a recap by way of a casual date: Ororo and Logan (that’s Wolverine to most people, or does he let people call him James now?), out of the fighting togs, sharing burgers while they discuss Santo Marco and how flustered and upset Hank McCoy is with her choice of actions. Ororo answers to the concern, but doesn’t let Wolverine off the hook — she expresses understandable worry for him still running around doing what he does without his healing factor.
Logan points out something that must be true: that Ororo, having grown up alone in a foreign country*, a street child before she was goddess or queen — must have a wild side she has kept under wraps. The windrider admits as much and that she’s tired of holding it in. Ibanez takes care to note details like those lightning bolt earrings Storm wore during her last mohawk period, during which Storm indulged her wilder side. Even sartorially, she’s thrown off the trappings of being the dignified goddess-queen figure. She’s a woman doing her own thing on her own terms.
*[Editor’s Note: Ororo was born in America, but after being orphaned, she grew up in Cairo and later the Serengeti in South-Western Kenya alone.]
Doing things her own way includes Ororo snatching him by the collar and showing Logan affection to the point where he can’t see straight after one of her kisses. The wildman is brought to incoherence by the kiss of the woman who is literally a force of nature.
The heroic part of the story begins after the lovers part ways. Ororo feels the need to have her feet on the ground, and while walking, runs across a poster for a missing teen. Ororo admits she’s no cop, but she can’t help feeling empathy for a missing teen, given her own past as a Cairo street urchin and thief. A little digging and a little more leaning on Hank gives her a trail to follow: missing teen Angie, who ran from her abusive boyfriend, is found easily enough.
For older readers, this is no surprise, but Pak and Ibanez work together to weave in interstitials of Ororo’s memories: including being buried alive in wreckage as her mother died beside her, resulting in lifelong claustrophobia. Over which she has gained a lot of ground during her time as an X-Man, but the last time Storm went below ground in this particular location, it was to fight the Morlocks to protect Angel and Kitty — against Callisto. Who appears to be the reason for the missing kids.
Ororo heads into the tunnels. There’s a fight — with no love lost, and grudges held — between Storm and the former queen of the Morlocks. Callisto lost the fight to Ororo in their shared past, and it’s still a tender spot for her. Ororo’s bitter point of recall is that Callisto took the loss so hard that every time they meet it’s a grudge match like this one. Storm is only taken down by a cheap shot from behind.
Things aren’t as they appear, though. Storm, in a righteous rage, forces her way into Callisto’s lair — and finds that the kids are not only not kidnapped, but offended that Callisto has been attacked! A moment to listen, and it turns out Callisto’s been taking in strays again — not to build another Morlock army as Storm feared — but simply to give runaways a place they’ll be safe.
For the second time in as many issues, Storm admits her error. As with Santo Marco, Storm realizes that her awesome mutant weather control powers aren’t what’s needed here. And just as she did alongside the oppressed population of that small country, she puts regular old elbow grease to work putting to rights what she blew apart before learning the truth about what was going on.
She goes so far as to charge all the batteries and promise a visit from Nightcrawler with further assistance. Callisto remains distrustful, but Storm attempts to put her at ease, reminding her that the safety and comfort of the teenagers is the common ground they share, despite their mutual animosity. Like Marisol in the previous issue, Callisto begins a reevaluation of the Storm she thought she knew.
As Storm takes to the sky again, free of the claustrophobic underground, she asks Hank to keep an eye on the encampment and for one more favor — which he anticipated, and acted on: the abusive boyfriend.
The story winds down, coming full circle as Ororo meets Logan for another date.
I love the fact that Greg Pak parallelled events from the first issue into the second, and Victor Ibanez’ art is still evocative and beautiful. The only problem I have with the series so far is that Hank seems a bit out of character. He calls himself a doormat in this issue, seems to be eschewing his tendency to use five dollar words, and appears to be rather nervous. Some of this can be attributed to his angst at having brought the All New X-Men to the future and being unable to return them to their rightful time, but it still comes across awkwardly, different from Hank’s current characterization elsewhere.
The book is still an easy recommendation, though — the second issue is a strong read and is building steadily on top of a foundation of existing history — sharing it in small enough pieces that a new reader is not overwhelmed.