After her run-in with the government of Santo Marco, Storm’s new hands-on approach to life continues to set the tone for her adventures under series writer Greg Pak. This Ororo Munroe is older, wiser, but a far more playful and joyous character than I have seen her in recent years, often pigeonholed as the somber matriarch of the X-Men. This series so far has been about taking chances and learning from mistakes, a theme core to superhero fiction as a whole, and together Pak and Ibanez are steering this title into interesting directions.
This done-in-one issue sees the return of Callisto in her latest encounter with Ororo, as Ibanez’s cover promises. When the X-Man embroils herself in the case of a missing young woman, Ororo follows the clues to the tunnels beneath New York City where she finds the Morlock waiting for her. As with the last issue, Ororo’s proactive outlook brings on new trials and tribulations for both her and the long-suffering Hank McCoy, serving as Ororo’s only somewhat chagrined partner-in-crime. And as with the last issue, there is a steep learning curve for the weather witch, when a surprising revelation hammers home for Ororo that things aren’t always what they seem on face value.
The thematic core of this book is Ororo’s growth as a hero, and this issue develops on the foundations of the last with satisfying results. Pak’s scripting is great, from the light character banter to Ororo’s dramatic narrative voice, establishing that balance and duality within Ororo’s own nature. Her relationship with Logan is a lovely counterpoint to that nature, from the triumphant mohawk to her stubborn tenacity, with Logan slowing down as Ororo herself gains momentum through action. These subtle intimate moments, like Ororo’s banter with Hank and her playful dynamic with Logan, lend to some touching exposition without slowing down the pacing.
Artist Ibanez proves himself a highly competent storyteller through his clean line work and page designs. He has this incredible knack for making Ororo look absolutely statuesque, both in and out of costume, emphasizing the true strengths of this character even when she isn’t at her strongest. With colorist Ruth Redmond’s alternating use of warm earth tones and cool blue palettes, this is a solid visual reading experience from the first page to the last. Another satisfying offering from this creative team.