The X-Men aren’t strangers to being wanted fugitives, but last week Storm was her own with the FBI and a U.S. senator out to get her.
Since the debut of Greg Park’s Storm series in 2014, Ororo has acted as a humanitarian and helping hand to those in deepest need, even – and oftentimes – in areas of political and physical strife. In the wake of her whirlwind romance with Wolverine (and his death), Ororo Munroe has learned about diplomacy but also when other actions must be taken – and those actions have brought down the wrath of U.S. Senator with the pull to get the FBI to take her into custody. The events of Storm #7 revealed that it’s not so easy to hold a woman like Ororo, but that issue kicked off a new status quo for the long-time X-Men, one-time Avenger, and sometimes Wakandan queen on the run.
Newsarama: Greg, you’re just past the six month mark for Storm. What’s it been like for you, the reception writing Ororo’s first solo series?
Greg Pak: It's been tremendous. I was totally swamped on Twitter the day the book was announced. And it's been amazing to meet Storm fans at conventions and signings over the past few months. A few folks have nearly cried while talking to me about the character. It's a real privilege to be able to work on a character who means so much to so many people -- and a particular thrill to be writing a black female superhero that’s the star of her own book.
Nrama: In these first seven issues, one thing I keep being hit on is how Storm always roots for the underdog. I know you’re a well-read fan of Storm, so how did that aspect of her become known to you and how do you feel about playing it up here in this story?
Pak: The truth is that almost every superhero sticks up for the underdog -- that's typically what makes them heroes and it's why we love them. What makes Storm stand out is that over her life she’s spent time with so many different people and communities — she identifies with many different people, not just mutants, for example.
Nrama: That being said, the upcoming covers and issue solicitations promise a dark time for Storm – being wanted and hunted. Can you say what’s coming down the pipe for her?
Pak: Anyone who stands up for the right thing runs the risk of getting knocked down by people who benefit from the wrong thing. Storm’s cut loose over the first six issues of the book, doing the right thing regardless of the consequences. Now she’s going to have to deal with the consequences as the big villains of the series make their presence felt in a huge way.
Nrama: Will this status be reflected at all outside the Storm book?
Pak: Anything's possible!
Nrama: Working with you on this series has been artist Victor Ibanez. I know you’ve done art in the past and you tend to think visually when writing; what’s it like working with Victor, and knowing he’s the one taking your scripts on and making them comic book pages?
Pak: I cartooned when I was younger, but I don't have anything approaching the kind of skill that artists like Victor bring to the table. But I like to think I have enough visual sense to understand what can or can’t happen in a panel or page of a comic book, which I hope makes life easier for my collaborators. But my greatest joy is getting layouts and pages back and seeing that artists have gone above and beyond, finding a nuance or bringing an energy to the images that I could never have come up with on my own. Victor was an amazing artist to launch the book with. He totally delivered with the huge power displays that make Storm glorious, but most importantly he’s an amazing character artist — in every panel, he gave Storm and all the supporting characters a human believability and emotional accessibility that made the book sing.
Al Barrionuevo’s drawing issues #6 to #8, and he’s picking up right where Victor left off, keeping the characters believable and real while cutting lose with the big action in a hugely fun way.
Nrama: Along those lines of fitting in, how do you see Ororo and the Storm series fitting into the larger tapestry of the Marvel Universe, especially with what’s going on now with events and such?
Pak: We tied into the “Death of Wolverine” event because it had a direct emotional impact on Storm and made total sense. We're not going out of our way to tie into events that don't necessarily have a clear impact on Storm. It's a bit of tricky line to walk -- many, many readers say they hate it when books cross over into events all the time. At the same time, crossing over into events does help sell a few more books. We're just approaching it on a case-by-case basis and trying to do the best thing we can to tell the best stories we can.
Nrama: A few weeks back concern cropped up amongst fans that Storm might be in danger of cancellation, prompting a “#SaveStorm” campaign which you’re participating in. What can you say about the status of Storm going forward, and the grassroots campaign that’s started?
Pak: Our editor Daniel Ketchum and I have planned out stories through issue #12, so the book is not in immediate threat of cancellation. But of course any mid-range book can face cancellation questions eventually. So I'm enormously grateful to Brett White, BlackNerdGirls.com, VixenVarsity.com, MarvelPolitics616.com, and everyone else who's helped spread the word about the book in the last few weeks. There’s absolutely a much bigger audience out there for this book and for comics of all kinds these days and you’re helping us reach them.
Y’all are the best.