I of the Storm
Credits: Chris Claremont (writer), Robert Atkins (pencils), Rick Ketcham with Sandu Florea (inks), Wilfredo Quintana (colors), Dave Sharpe (letters)
Summary: Ghost Panther charges ‘Ro with more electricity and unlocks her memories. ‘Ro is taken back to the day the Genoshan army invaded Salem Center and kidnapped her and the New Mutants. ‘Ro was taken by the Genegineer to be used as a Trojan horse against Cameron Hodge. He created a clone of ‘Ro, designed to restore mutant powers. The clone grew to adulthood faster than the Genegineer expected, but he was forced to use her in his plan. With Pipeline’s help, the adult clone took ‘Ro’s place and restarted the powers of the X-Men in Cameron Hodge’s custody. Pipeline was soon killed in the collapse of the Genoshan Citadel, however, leaving the digital file he created of ‘Ro to be later discovered by the Consortium. Shortly after the Consortium took ‘Ro to New York, she escaped and discovered the X-Men. Tony Stark soon discovered Storm’s life energy, and later as a tribute to his slain friend, created the Ghost Panther armor for Storm. Today, following her defeat, Perfect Storm swears revenge.
- All of the flashback events are set during the “X-Tinction Agenda” crossover. Storm was a child at the beginning of that crossover, which took place after Nanny kidnapped and de-aged her.
- ‘Ro doesn’t have her memories because they were lost when the Consortium attempted to open the digital file Pipeline created of her. (Pipeline teleports by transforming people into digital files and uploading them in a new location.) ‘Ro returned to her physical body while the energy form of Storm was released.
- Yet another member of the Trask family, Ingrid, appears in ‘Ro’s flashback as a Consortium member.
- Ghost Panther explains that Perfect Storm (the adult clone of Storm created by the Genegineer) became evil after her mind touched the Shadow King’s while battling him on Muir Island. Since the Genegineer had spliced the ability to absorb other mutants’ powers in her genome, “that fleeting contact somehow grafted a measure of his malevolence onto her.”
Review: It’s the big info dump issue, which in any other title might be an annoyance, but here it’s almost a blessing. I don’t doubt that Claremont had a plan in mind when he introduced Perfect Storm and ‘Ro in the early issues of this title, but given the history of his projects, the odds of the audience ever reading an actual explanation for this insanity was about 50/50. It’s possible the impending cancellation of this title influenced Claremont’s decision to just put all the exposition out there at once, which isn’t his usual modus operandi, even if it is a welcome break from the title’s usual pattern of teasing ideas and then leaping on to a different plot before anyone’s really sure what just happened. And for an issue clearly designed to please a continuity purist, it’s pretty effective. I’m not sure why the Genegineer felt the need to create a clone of Storm in the first place, and it was never established at the time that Pipeline was killed when the Citadel fell, but these are fairly minor points. Claremont himself didn’t use Pipeline during the rest of his stints on Uncanny X-Men or X-Men, so he’s playing fair on that account (even though I think Pipeline did appear later during Claremont’s Fantastic Four run, it isn’t canon in this reality). And the motivation for creating a clone of Storm isn’t too hard to No-Prize out…looking back, it seems as if Claremont’s implying that the Genegineer created the clone to avoid altering Storm’s DNA, but that still doesn’t answer the fundamental question. Regardless, the major questions regarding Perfect Storm and ‘Ro are answered this issue, the continuity lines up surprisingly well (especially considering some of the previous uses of continuity in this book), and overall it’s a treat for longtime fans. As a kid, I never understood how exactly Storm was transformed back into adulthood during “The X-Tinction Agenda,” and now I have an overly elaborate explanation for what actually happened back in 1990. I realize this is catering to what’s likely an extremely small faction of the readership, but it’s hard to complain about a comic you feel like is specifically made for you.
Now, if only we had an info dump issue to explain why Nathan’s a preteen now, where the rest of the X-Men went, what actually happened on the moon during X-Factor’s battle with Apocalypse, how the Muir Island Saga “really” ended…