Being a fan of Storm from the X-Men, I was very happy when Ta-Nehisi Coates decided to explore Ororo Munro’s goddesshood in his (2016) Black Panther run. We then had Marc Guggenheim explore it in his (2017) X-Men: Gold series. And while I appreciate such focus on the character, it seems the Marvel writers handling Storm in their respective books aren’t on the same page yet.
I’m going to begin with Coates’ take on Storm and then move on to X-Men: Gold, because Guggenheim’s run is what caused a few problems in the Storm fandom. Coates took his time to position Ororo as a God-like being in his Black Panther series. While Ororo is known to have God-like abilities and has been worshipped, she is still made of flesh and bones. Her mortality is what’s used by certain comic book fans, during discussions about Ororo’s goddesshood, to state she isn’t actually a god and can’t be placed with the likes of Thor, Loki, etc.
What I found interesting about Coates’ run is how he explored the concept of godhood. Can one only be born a god like Thor and similar beings? Or is being worshipped enough to ascend a mortal to godhood?
In 2016’s Black Panther, not only did Coates repair Ororo and T’Challa’s relationship (the two are meant to be together!), he also made Ororo realize her divinity. Having people believe in her, including T’Challa, is what gave Ororo the divine power to take down a being like the Adversary in Black Pather Issue 172.
Of course, she doesn’t possess impenetrable skin or immortality yet, but Coates made it clear Ororo possesses the gift of Godhead (passed down from her ancestors) and it being “more than a mutation.”
During the same time, Marc Guggenheim turned Ororo into a literal goddess by bringing back Stormcaster in X-Men: Gold Issue 25. Through Stormcaster, Guggenheim explored another aspect of Storm’s divinity. The ‘Godwar’ arc from Issues 33 to 35 sent Ororo back to the village she was worshipped in and pitted her against a god named Uovu.
While some Storm fans appreciated her getting Stormcaster, some found such a development to undermine Coates work. Why would Ororo require the hammer to become a true god when she already has the gift of Godhead and has achieved divinity?
Furthermore, X-Men: Gold Issue 35 had a couple of contradictions. Uovu stated that even if a god doesn’t have any worshippers left, once godhood has been attained, it is eternal and infinite. By using this logic, even if we ignore Storm’s Godhead from Coates’ Black Panther, Ororo should still be a god even if people don’t worship her anymore or she doesn’t have the hammer.
The fact that Guggenheim doesn’t mention Coates’ Godhead gift from Black Panther or where Storm’s goddesshood status lies in X-Men: Gold is what has disappointed certain fans. For many of them, it seems Guggenheim introduced the Stormcaster to do away with any development Coates achieved. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. But it will be interesting to see what other writers handling Storm will do with the character.
Will they mention Ororo’s Godhead or will they ignore Coates and continue writing her as a mere mutant? Time will tell.
With the X-Men: Gold run coming to an end with issue 36, Storm can still be seen in Tom Taylor’s X-Men: Red. While I am enjoying Taylor’s writing, Ororo is yet to have a character-centric arc in the seven issues which have been released. It will be interesting to see if Taylor decides to follow in Coates footsteps and explore Ororo as a character and a goddess or if he will ignore the development occurring in the Black Panther series.
Guggenheim’s writing has also made certain fans bring about issues related to racism. Why do we continue having comic book series explore Jean Grey’s power levels in team books (with and without the Phoenix), but Ororo’s rich heritage and abilities aren’t? Why are Ororo’s powers diminished to prop up other members of the team? Is she just put in a team to tick the African-American diversity box for points?
Like I said, it will be interesting to see how Taylor continues handling Ororo in his X-Men: Red run.
As for Coates, he continues to build on Ororo’s goddesshood in his current (2018) Black Panther run which shows T’Challa in space.
I’m also looking forward to seeing how Nnedi Okorafor will handle Storm in the upcoming Shuri solo series. Will Okorafor mention what Coates has done? I can’t wait to know!
Also, if Okorafor does mention Ororo’s Godhead, it will be very telling to see how certain writers are interested in exploring such a concept while other writers tend to ignore it.
Ororo also appears in the preview panels released for the Uncanny X-Men “Disassembled“ epic series being written by Ed Brisson, Matthew Rosenberg, and Kelly Thompson. So, it will be interesting to see how a team of writers handle her. According to an interview with CBR, Rosenberg has a “soft spot” for Storm.
I hope Marvel writers are able to come on the same page when writing Storm and work together to explore such an iconic fictional character. Also, Marvel needs to allow Coates to write a Storm solo series so he can give Ororo the development she deserves.
What do you think of Storm and her Godhead gift? Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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