This weekend, during Wizard World Chicago, Marvel Comics announced the release of Storm: Worlds Apart—a 4 issue mini-series exploring the globe-spanning duality of Ororo Munroe’s life as wife of the Black Panther and Queen of Wakanda and her role as one of the most prolific members of the X-Men. With the artist still being determined, the writing chores of the book will be handled by X-Force writer, Chris Yost.
Newsarama was fortunate enough to sit down and talk with Yost, as well as project editor, Daniel Ketchum, about the new mini-series as well as some of the character traits that defines one of Marvel’s most popular mutant characters.
Newsarama: What can you tell readers about Storm: Worlds Apart so far?
Daniel Ketchum: Storm: Worlds Apart is a four-issue limited series, running October 2008 through January 2009. While we’re still in the process of auditioning artists for the interiors, I will tell you that we have a fantastic roster of cover artists lined up. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say who yet, but the first cover will definitely be previewed in just a couple weeks.
Chris Yost: Well, anyone familiar with my work on New X-Men and X-Force knows that I like a nice leisurely tale, wherein many a philosophical debate takes place, usually over a glass of wine. So, you can expect that here. It's really an examination of Storm torn between two lives, the X-Men and the Black Panther. With murder, fighting, and super-powers.
Storm is one of the most formidable women on the planet. She led the X-Men. Black Panther considers her his equal. This mini-series is going to show you why.
NRAMA: Storm has had responsibilities elsewhere along side her husband, T'Challa--does this limited series begin her return to the X-Men? She's showing up in Warren Ellis' Astonishing X-Men later this year as well. Is her relationship with her husband going to become more of an estrangement?
DK: In some ways, you’ve answered your first question with this one: This series is meant to explore Storm’s unique position as a leader to the mutant race and a leader of an African nation. And while Wolverine might be able to play on five teams simultaneously, Storm finds the arrangement to be a bit taxing. One minute she’s hopping dimensions alongside her husband with the Fantastic Four and the next, she’s fighting for the fate of her species in “Messiah Complex.” This book is going to examine that dual tug between her two families and the kind of conflict it can lead to.
NRAMA: Has her marriage to T'Challa been beneficial to either of the characters so far? Could their marriage be seen as something kind of anchors these characters to one another--you know, without one, the other can't be far behind? Is there a challenge to coordinating a relationship between two notoriously independent characters?
CY: I assume it's been beneficial to T'Challa and Storm, with them being in love and all. I have to believe they both knew that they'd continue to have their separate responsibilities after they got married. Storm has a unbreakable connection to the X-Men and mutant-kind. Black Panther will always be connected to Wakanda in ways Storm just can't be. Black Panther plays things so close to the vest, has so many diplomatic, kingly duties... he's going to have to do his own thing occasionally, as will Storm (eg Messiah Complex).
That being said, if you want to see the two of them working back to back - check out the Secret Invasion issues of Black Panther. I've read the scripts, and they're phenomenal.
NRAMA: Who else will be showing up in the limited series?
CY: Nehzno. The Dora Milaje. Cyclops. Panther. X-Men. Storm's worlds are about to collide. Or be torn apart. Maybe both.
NRAMA: Will more of the relationship between Storm and the Black Panther--prior to their adulthoods--be explored?
DK: Probably not here, given the focus of this series. If you’re pining for tales of Storm and T’Challa back in the day, check out Eric Jerome Dickey’s Storm mini, which was a prequel to the couple’s wedding in Black Panther #18.
CY: This is more about the hard choices Storm has to make now that she's leading two lives, X-Man and Queen.
NRAMA: What is it about Storm that sets her apart from all of the other female characters in the Marvel Universe?
DK: In developing this project, the thing Chris and I agreed on immediately and more than anything else is that Storm needs to get the attention and treatment she deserves and has been lacking recently. Simply put: If Marvel has a goddess, it’s her. She has a presence that maybe no other female character in the Marvel U can match. She’s beautiful, powerful (in terms of her character, her mutant powers, and in terms of political clout), and—at her best—extremely independent and proactive.
CY: Storm is a literal force of nature. And like nature, she's beautiful and gentle one minute... and then she can turn around and shake the pillars of heaven the next. She stands shoulder to shoulder with gods, hangs out with thieves, and enjoys gardening and knife fights. What is not to love here?
NRAMA: Does this story take place pre- or post- Secret Invasion?
DK: Post. I’m not sure to what degree we’ll address the events of Secret Invasion in this story, if at all, but this story is set following the events of Black Panther #39-41, our Secret Invasion story.
NRAMA: When you think of iconic moments in the history of this character--what pops into your mind right away?
DK: Chris actually asked me a similar question when I first approached him about writing the series. I think my answer was that I really enjoyed Storm in the early issues of X-Treme X-Men. I went through phases or reading the X-Books and then not, and I remember really enjoying Storm in those first couple arcs of X-Treme. But, if you’re looking for an genuinely iconic moment, I can vividly picture those panels in Uncanny X-Mem where Storm knife-fights Callisto and delivers the final stab; the look of shock on Callisto’s face and those shots of Storm walking away nonchalantly…so good.
CY: Uncanny X-Men #201; she took on Cyclops for the leadership of the X-Men, and won—without her powers.
NRAMA: Are there other female X-Men who could benefit from a solo mini-series like this? Why?
DK: I’m not sure that anyone immediately springs to mind. With Storm, there’s just so much story to tell. There are guys in our Licensing Department who are constantly asking me when Storm is going to get her own ongoing series. She’s got a hand in everything these days, not just the X-Men, so she lends herself to this sort of thing. I will say that a project on my wishlist is a Dazzler mini written by Joss Whedon. I think he’d do a great job with the character.
CY: Jean Grey. She lives on in my heart.
NRAMA: Are there any other missing female characters that seem to be getting talked up a bit in the X-Office in your opinion?
CY: Firestar. She got shanghaied by the Avengers office! She needs to buy herself a ticket to San Francisco.
NRAMA: Has Storm’s absence had an effect on the X-Men?
CY: I think so. Storm brought a certain level to righteousness to the team. When she was around, there always seemed to be a little less of the gray area the X-Men seem to be in now. I'm less worried about Emma finding out about X-Force as I am Storm. It will be interesting to see Storm and Cyclops discuss the current state of the X-Men…which they will.