Thursday, 7 May 2015

Storm, Volume 1: Make It Rain Review (Greg Pak, Victor Ibanez)

Like Cyclops and Magneto, Storm is the latest X-Man to get her own solo series – and it’s not bad!

There’s no real story arc here, just several one-shots and a two-parter at the end. Storm deflects a tsunami, saving a small island nation from devastation; looks for runaways in Noo Yawk; works with Forge to set up an irrigation system in an African village; and helps an old Wolverine character, Yukio, maintain her power over some underground gangs.

The first story about the tsunami, and the evil paramilitary organisation Storm decides to beat up, was definitely the best. It instantly showed you how powerful a character she is and how grossly under-used she is in the ensemble titles she appears in. Greg Pak writes her character well so we see the person behind the superhero as well – it’s a very humanising portrayal.

And that’s essentially what this book is: a character sketch, rather than a story-driven comic. The second issue has the best couples’ scene with Storm and Wolverine on a dinner date. Seeing this statuesque woman towering over this short, brawny man and the two making lovey faces at each other was so sweet, not to mention convincing – full credit to Victor Ibanez for his excellent artwork. I loved that panel afterwards when Wolverine leaves her and it’s raining outside except for wherever Wolverine walks and he looks up and smiles; that one panel sums up their relationship and makes it more real to the reader.

The third issue with Forge in Africa also has the single best explanation for Storm’s powers that I’ve ever read. She’s essentially a weather witch who can do whatever she wants with the elements. You might ask yourself, why doesn’t she solve drought in places like Africa, full stop? And then you read her reasoning for how her powers work and ooohhh, that actually makes sense! Kudos to Greg Pak!

These moments here and there are really nice to see but the stories themselves go from good at the start to disappointingly boring by the end. And that’s the thing with character portraits is that the lack of story can occasionally make the overall book suffer. Storm looking for runaways ties into her character’s past (she was an orphan in Cairo) but doesn’t make for a terribly thrilling issue. She and Forge work together to help an African village have fresh water – eh… not a very engaging read. And that two-parter at the end with Yukio was just nonsense – an exercise in flexing to show strength and nothing more.

Ultimately Storm, Volume 1: Make it Rain doesn’t leave much of an impression because of the directionless nature of the book – there’s no story arc here and doesn’t seem to be one being hinted at for later books either so it’s not very memorable. And while it’s a decent character portrait, Pak doesn’t tell us a whole lot that isn’t already known about the character. That is, unless you’re completely unfamiliar with her in which case you’ll walk away from this comic knowing quite a bit about Storm. Even then, despite Pak’s efforts to make her a more rounded character, she still seems a bit too distant for the reader to feel close to. 

Storm fans will love it because it’s all Storm, all the time, but I think, while it has its moments, Make It Rain is just an ok comic overall. A stronger, more focused plot would’ve pushed this over the top.

Storm, Volume 1: Make It Rain

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