The Goddess, Storm, Queen of Wakanda — of the many mutants in Marvelverse, Ororo Munroe has possibly been given or taken on the most names. She is one of the most powerful figures in Marvel’s canon, and her story has resonated both with women and the queer community since she first took the stage in the 70s.
The elements marshal their infinite might at my beckoning! Power seethes in the roiling clouds! Now, at my command – STRIKE!
Introduced in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (1997), Ororo was created along with Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Thunderbird as new mutants to wake up the franchise after a few year stall in publications. Originally Typhoon, a male character, Dave Cockrum swapped him into Storm by combining Typhoon’s look, powerset and personality with The Black Cat’s gender and costume.
In Uncanny X-Men #102 (December 1976), you learn about Ororo’s past. N'Dare, her mother, was the princess of a tribe in Kenya and descended from a long line of African priestesses and sorceresses. N'Dare falls in love with and marries an American photographer named David Munroe. With them, Ororo is born in Harlem, NYC.
After the family moves to Egypt, they die from an aircraft bombing during the Suez Crisis, leaving six-year-old Ororo as an orphan. The accident leaves her traumatized, which manifests itself later in her life through violent claustrophobia.
As an orphan, Ororo lives as a thief in Cairo under the master Achmed el-Gibar (where she meets and steals from an abroad Professor Charles Xavier) and later leaves for the Serengeti. In Marvel Team-Up #100 (1980), Storm rescues a young T'challa (Black Panther) from a racist white supremacist called Andreas de Ruyter — setting the stage for their love affair and decades-later marriage.
Storm’s history is a long one; she’s had decades of continuous appearances across Marvel and the X-Men to accrue it. She’s strong, weathered, and she stands outside the X-Men as much and as truly as she supports and leads them.
Storm was one of the very first black comic book characters, and the first black female protagonist between both Marvel and DC Comics.
“Both Marvel Comics and its rival, DC Comics, have created many comic book characters that have defied time and mercurial societal trends. Storm is a prime example of this success. The two defining aspects of her persona are her racial identity and her social status as a mutant.” — Gladys L. Knight, Female Action Heroes: A Guide to Women in Comics, Video Games, Film and Television
The X-Men have always symbolically represented marginalized people and minorities and the original series coincided directly with the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Storm, specifically, was made right alongside the era of blaxploitation films.
Her struggles and the stigma levied against her were used as a vehicle for her to show leadership skills - the best out of the X-Men, with Scott stepping down at her lead - and to develop one of the most complex and consistently strong characterizations of the Marvel Universe.
Storm’s punk phase, her trouble adjusting to western culture, her commitment to her spirituality and devotion to Wakanda, and her complete domination of every new step in her life have all made her the supreme deviant and progressive punk figures in the X-Men. She’s a Queer, Feminist Icon, and a symbol of Black Power and pride.
Giant Size X-Men (1975) #1
The Uncanny X-Men (1981) #142
The Uncanny X-Men Annuals
Magik (1983) #1-4