One of the most significant members of the X-Men is Ororo Munroe, better known simply as Storm, and in the 40 years since her debut she’s become one of the best-recognized mutants of the team. Storm made her debut in Giant Size X-Men #1 in May of 1975 as part of the second generation of the X-Men.
Storm was created by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum; she was originally conceived as a combination of two of Cockrum’s other characters, the Black Cat and Typhoon. Marvel editor Roy Thomas didn’t like how the new X-Men was shaping up to be an all-male group, and so Thomas suggested to Cockrum to turn Typhoon into a woman. Cockrum outfitted Typhoon with the Black Cat’s costume and a new haircut, and thus, Storm was born.
As one could guess by her name, Storm’s primary powers are control over the weather. She has the ability to create tornadoes, thunderstorms, blizzards, and all sorts of atmospheric calamities. Besides this, her ancestry lent itself to the use of witchcraft, as her ancestors were sorceresses and priestesses; that said, very rarely does this potential actually manifest. She’s also a gifted hand-to-hand combatant and a skilled thief as well.
When Chris Claremont followed Wein as the writer of the flagship X-Men book, he continued to use Storm as a significant supporting character in storylines such as “God Loves, Man Kills” and “The Dark Phoenix Saga.” These storylines would serve as the basis for many of the X-Men films, leading to Halle Berry’s portrayal of Storm receiving a lot of screen time.
After spending time as a major supporting character in the X-Men series, Storm would go on to lead her own team of the X-Men in the early 1980s after Cyclops left the team, and again in the early 1990s as the leader of the “Gold Team” while Cyclops led the “Blue Team.” Claremont left the X-Men creative team in 1991 and was replaced by Jim Lee, who continued to write Storm as a strong and convincing leader. Storm also finally got her own mini-series in 1996, during which she is transported to an alternate dimension and has to fight Mikhail Rasputin.
Claremont would return to the X-Men in 2001 and created the X-Treme X-Men series, which again featured Storm as the leader and central character. Also in the 2000s, Storm would marry Black Panther, a character that had been established as one she had a pre-existing relationship with; the marriage tied into the “Civil War” storyline that Marvel was running at that time. Black Panther and Storm also briefly joined the Fantastic Four alongside the Human Torch and the Thing during the aftermath of the Civil War itself before Storm returned to the X-Men. Most recently, Storm has been featured as a member of the team in Amazing X-Men as well as starring in her own solo series.
Storm’s significance in the comic book world is immense, as not only has she been one of the leading ladies of the X-Men for 40 years, but she was also the first black female character to play a significant role for either Marvel or DC. Her 1975 debut was preceded by only a few other male characters – Black Panther, The Falcon, and Luke Cage from Marvel, and John Stewart from DC – and no other women. Since her debut she can easily be considered the most successful and best-recognized black superhero.