BIOGRAPHY - Page 13
Miraculously, the Phoenix Force brought Jean Grey back to life, only to finally relent and abandon its claim to her so that Jean could live her own life. [Phoenix Resurrection: Return of Jean Grey #1-5] As Jean gathered a team to carry out her own vision of the X-Men, Storm was drawn back into her best friend’s orbit. Cassandra Nova was distributing Sentinites, microscopic robots that implanted themselves in the brains of human beings, giving them the ability to detect mutants and triggering an irrational hatred of them. Storm was targeted by Cassandra to bring down the mutant-friendly nation of Wakanda and Jean’s team which was operating from there. Storm nearly killed Nezhno and herself before she was neutralized temporarily. Jean saved her by merging T’Challa’s understanding of the technology with a technopath named Trinary and guiding the Sentinite out of Ororo’s head. With new costumes engineered to shield them from Sentinite infection, Jean and Storm’s team operated out of Searebro in alliance with Atlantis. [X-Men: Red #3-4] Ororo remained active with Jean’s Red Team through the end of their conflict with Cassandra Nova. [X-Men: Red #5-11]
The X-Men soon dealt with the chaotic return of Nathaniel Grey, also known as X-Man. Nate had merged with the power of a Celestial Lifeseed, bolstering his abilities beyond Omega-level. He hoped to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity for man and mutant, but needed to tear down the old order first. X-Man empowered Magneto, Archangel, Blob and Omega Red as his Horsemen of Salvation, increasing their might while making them devout to his dream. Storm and the X-Men tried to mitigate the consequences of Nate’s aggressive new order around the world. Archangel’s mind was freed by Psylocke’s psychic blade, and Nate was seemingly trapped inside the mind of a second Omega-class mutant, Legion. This proved to be a mistake, as X-Man rose to the surface and merged his power with Legion to become almost unstoppable. Storm was drafted into the Horsemen in Archangel’s place for a time, but she too was freed by Psylocke. In the end, X-Man used the power of the Lifeseed to collapse himself and all his opponents into a new pocket reality of his own devising. [Uncanny X-Men (5th series) #1-10] Storm and the others spent weeks in this reality before returning. [Age of X-Man: Omega, Uncanny X-Men (5th series) #22]
Despite their rekindled love, Ororo and T’Challa would find themselves driven to remain apart. Just as she was believed dead or missing after the battle with X-Man on Quadra Island, the Black Panther also disappeared for a time. He sought the origins of the Vibranium meteorite that empowered Wakanda millennia ago, and sent a team of explorers and scientists through a wormhole to find it. When they did not return, T’Challa reluctantly left Ororo and Wakanda to journey through the wormhole himself. [Black Panther (7th series) #12] T’Challa was missing for weeks, and Ororo visited Wakanda frequently in his absence. She, Queen Mother Ramonda and Shuri helped console each other, and Ororo also helped Shuri in her efforts to find what had happened to her brother. [Shuri #2-4]
Things would soon change dramatically for the X-Men and for mutantkind as a whole. A returning Professor Xavier and Magneto threw out all the rules to ally themselves with the living island of Krakoa, turning it into a new nation-state specifically for the mutant race. Krakoan bio-technology allowed mutants alone to access the island from teleport gates established around the world. Krakoan flowers produced lucrative medicines sold on the international market, buying legitimacy in the United Nations for Krakoa, and both citizenship and amnesty for all mutants. New revolutions in mutant technology led to the gestalt known as the Resurrection Five, a circuit of mutants able to bring the dead back to life when combined with a cognitive back-up taken from Cerebro. Storm stood as an announcer for the first mutants returning from the grave thanks to the Five. She led the people of Krakoa in recognizing that returnees such as Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Wolverine and Nightcrawler were not copies, but the originals back from the dead. Friends and foes alike were offered sanctuary on Krakoa as the nation grew, and Storm received a seat on the Quiet Council, the ruling body of Krakoa, sitting across from the likes of Sinister and Apocalypse. It was a new day. [Dawn of X event]
By order of the Quiet Council, the X-Men no longer existed as a recognized unit (to aid the transition into a new way of thinking), but there was still much to do. Many nations were reluctant to accept Krakoan sovereignty (much less Krakoan supremacy) and tried to prevent their mutant citizens from emigrating. Ororo, Cyclops and Magneto broke up a laboratory for anti-mutant futurists known as Orchis, rescuing mutant captives but also releasing one of the neo-sapien Children of the Vault. Serafina vanished from the labs, a loose end that would need plucking. [X-Men (5th series) #1]
The Hellfire Trading Company was established with Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw as White and Black royalty to oversee the distribution of the Krakoan drugs. Emma offered Ororo the third seat as Red royalty in the HTC, but she turned it down. Still, Emma encouraged Storm to become associated with Hellfire anyway after Kate Pryde took her offer to become Red Queen and captain of the Marauder. Krakoa needed a pirate navy to guard the supply boats and help liberate mutants being denied access to their countries’ gates. The Red Queen and her Marauders would serve in this capacity, but with a complication. Kate was unable to use the Krakoan gates for unexplained reasons, and Emma feared this meant she would also be incompatible with the resurrection process. Storm and Iceman joined the Marauders to support their old friend, but also to serve as Omega-class mutant bodyguards protecting her from dying a perhaps-irreversible death. [Marauders #1]
Storm also continued to act for the Quiet Council and the X-Men’s ideals. The Children were considered an intrinsic threat to Krakoa, and so a plan was enacted to send a recon team into the temporal folds of the Vault. Storm, Cyclops and Armor attacked the outside of the Vault as a distraction, and Ororo took a serious hit during the mission. [X-Men (5th series) #5] It was later discovered the Children of the Vault had infected Storm with a machine virus during this attack, leaving her with only 30 days to live. [Giant-Size X-Men: Jean Grey & Emma Frost #1] With Penance, Cypher and Fantomex at her side, Storm braved Weapon Plus’ the World complex to find a cure for her condition. Despite the gift of resurrection, Ororo made it clear that she would fight for every life she had. [Giant-Size X-Men: Storm #1]
Shuri’s efforts to probe the other side of the Wakandan wormhole finally bore fruit when T’Challa opened a connection to reach back home. It was a dire situation, for the wormhole had warped space and time during the journeys through it. The original Wakandan explorers had crash-landed more than two thousand years in the past in the home sector of the Vibranium meteor, and founded an intergalactic Empire of Wakanda based on slave labor and preventative conquest. T’Challa had only been missing for weeks, yet had spent nearly a decade fighting against the empire as part of an army of rebels called the Maroons. T’Challa warned that Wakanda-Prime must be prepared to defend its good name and resist the coming of Emperor N’Jadaka to Earth. [Black Panther (7th series) #13-15]
Ororo and T’Challa were lovingly reunited with each other, yet his time away haunted the king. He had seen the inevitable results of Wakandan policies of isolation and nationalism taken to the extreme. Storm respected the Black Panther as a good man and a good king, and lent her support to his Maroons on the other side of the galactic gate as they held off the Imperials’ advance. She also took this time to speak with Nakia, the Maroon officer T’Challa had almost loved before his memories returned. Storm was confident about her relationship with T’Challa, yet she also had the foresight to fear strained relations between Krakoa and Wakanda, and asked Nakia to look after the king if that time came. [Black Panther (7th series) #16-18]
Emperor N’Jadaka rallied his forces and overpowered the Maroon moon base defending the gate. The battle fell back to the galactic gate itself as the Maroon starships tried to blockade the incoming Imperial fleet. Shuri and Nakia commanded their twin flagships, while Ororo meditated in her garden. Even the Hadari Yao needed time to prepare her rapport with the energy patterns supporting so many life support systems… and micro-climates. Once she was prepared, Storm targeted the air supply, temperature and atmospheric systems of every Imperial vessel, rendering them uninhabitable to life. The existing fleet fell within moments, but N’Jadaka’s Klyntar symbiote kept him safe and he called upon reinforcements, so the battle continued. In the end, it was Nakia who sacrificed her ship and her life to hold back the renewed fleet of warships. The final battle was fought on the streets of Wakanda itself as the nation’s allies fended off the invading Imperials. In the end, T’Challa killed N’Jadaka and found himself reluctantly assuming the role of emperor to a distant galaxy. [Black Panther (7th series) #21-25]
The Marauders responded to a call for aid from Shinobi Shaw (Black Bishop of HTC) when his ship the Upstart was attacked in Madripoor harbor. Storm and the Marauders faced soldiers outfitted with Russian power-dampening armor by a local anti-mutant group called Verendi. They confiscated Verendi’s ship and the stockpile of armor, but the Red Queen believed it too dangerous to bring the armor to Krakoa. The Marauder would take the refugees back to Krakoa at top speed, while Kate took the slower ship to Island M for safe-keeping. The Red Queen gently dismissed Storm and Iceman, saying she didn’t need to be babysat. [Marauders #5-6] After diverting back to Island M, Storm was amused to find Callisto waiting for them. It seemed Emma recruited the Morlock leader as her White Knight. Storm and Callisto had nothing but respect for each other by this point, although they still whipped knives at each other like it was nothing. [Marauders #7]
Emma and Storm’s worst fears were realized when Kate did not return from her voyage, and Bishop ultimately found her body in the water while investigating Verendi. Storm was furious with Emma for allowing Kate to die, but her rage quickly gave way to shared grief and the two women vowed to find out what happened to the Red Queen. The Five struggled at first to revive Kate, lending fear to the idea that she may not return. Storm busied herself with Forge as they confirmed the Russian armor was based on his old Neutralizer designs. An old DOD friend of Forge’s with a photographic memory had been kidnapped and forced to work for their foes. The man was rescued and, in time, Kate was resurrected thanks to an insight from Emma. Storm welcomed her friend back to life and her relationship with the White Queen only improved from this experience. [Marauders #8-12]
When the Quiet Council was formed, Apocalypse brought a secret with him. Krakoa had once been part of an ancient mutant kingdom called Orakko, until the demon hordes of Amenth split the living island into Krakoa and Arakko. Apocalypse’s first Four Horsemen (his children) and his wife Genesis took Arakko through Otherworld into Amenth to battle their foes for eternity. Now, Arakko had fallen to Amenth and Genesis had been forced to take the mantle of Annihilation, leading the demon hordes to march across Otherworld and reclaim Krakoa for themselves. Majestrix Saturnyne of the Starlight Citadel had enough power and sway in Otherworld to force the armies of Arakko to submit to a contest. Ten Swordbearers from Krakoa and Arakko would meet in a tournament. If Krakoa won, Arakko would give up their claim of conquest. If they failed, though, Arakko would sweep through the Krakoan gates to grab dominion over all the Earth.
Saturnyne chose the Swordbearers using a prophecy which identified both the wielder and the unique weapon that would serve as a key to enter the tournament, in three days’ time. Storm recognized herself among the prophecies and, disturbingly, the sword she was meant to wield. Skybreaker was a sacred relic of Wakanda, a Vibranium sword forged by the first king from the still-cooling meteor. It was the first Vibranium technology of Wakanda, from which all other developments came, and it could not be touched by anyone but the king, much less wielded in battle. Ororo reached out to T’Challa immediately, but he was unable to return her calls, busy with the Avengers, the Empire of Wakanda or other matters. Storm traveled to Wakanda directly, as former queen and ambassador from Krakoa, to plead her case before Queen Mother Ramonda and Princess Shuri. The royal women understood the threat of Arakko and eagerly offered many fine Wakandan blades to Ororo. But Storm shocked them by mentioning Skybreaker, and they insisted that only T’Challa could grant this request.
Storm was given private quarters and asked to wait until T’Challa returned to fulfill her request. Ororo had no time to waste waiting for T’Challa to acknowledge her need, and so she prepared to steal Skybreaker instead. Ororo used knowledge she gained as Queen of Wakanda to infiltrate the Temple of the Heart of Wakanda to retrieve the sword. She was interrupted by Shuri, who became suspicious of Ororo earlier than night. Storm fought and beat Shuri, but was unable to escape without setting off the alarms. Within sight of Wakanda’s Krakoan gate, the Black Panther finally showed. T’Challa was hurt that Ororo would steal from him, from Wakanda, and that he would have gladly given it to her if she asked. Storm rebutted the king that she DID ask, and did not have time to wait for him to get back to her with an answer when it suited him. The Black Panther stepped aside. In the days that followed, the tournament was won at great cost and Skybreaker was returned to its rightful home. But the rift between Wakanda and Krakoa (and the man and woman who helped guide those nations) remained. [X of Swords crossover]
Kate and Emma Frost investigated the Red Queen’s death and learned Sebastian Shaw had been responsible. Storm arrived as they were extracting vengeance from the Black King, and helped keep the Quiet Council from looking into the punishment Shaw suffered. With Kate’s resurrection, it was confirmed she no longer needed Storm’s protection, and Ororo began to consider moving on from the Marauders. [Marauders #16] She joined Cyclops and Marvel Girl when they responded to the Shi’ar Empire on a distress call. Xavier’s daughter, Empress Xandra, had been kidnapped by Stygians. The end of the Kree-Skrull War had decimated the galactic economy, and the Stygians sought compensation from their Majestrix. Storm fought the leader of the rebellion directly and rescued Xandra, earning her the favor and gratitude of one of the most powerful galactic empires. [X-Men (5th series) #17]
Storm received an odd request from Callisto before leaving the Marauders: Kill me, please. Callisto had been without her mutant powers since the Decimation. Resurrection from the Five would restore her gifts, but Krakoan custom was to “earn her death” by fighting in ritual combat called the Crucible. Apocalypse had previously stood as the ultimate opponent for any mutant entering the Crucible, but he had retired to Amenth with his family after the Swordbearers tournament. Now a mutant entering the Crucible must bring their own executioner, and the Morlock wanted the Goddess to finish what she started years ago. Storm still had difficulty with the concept of taking a life, and initially turned down Callisto’s request. After Callisto reminded her how she felt when her powers were taken, Storm appeared at the Crucible. Although the old rivals started the match with knives, Storm quickly ended the fight by killing Callisto with an electrified punch to the chest, stopping her heart and showing just how lethal Ororo could be all the time if she chose. A grateful Callisto was fast-tracked through the resurrection queue and soon returned to Krakoa with her super-senses intact. [Marauders #17]
The Hellfire Gala was a major event for all of Krakoa, hosted by the White Queen to meet and greet dignitaries and representatives of foreign governments and friendly powers. Krakoa’s sister island of Arakko had become a small problem since the Swordbearers tournament, with its warlike population of powerful mutants. Magneto came up with a solution that would solve the problem and serve as an incredible show of force by Krakoa to end the evening’s festivities. Storm and the nation’s Omega-level mutants gathered to make a new home for the island of Arakko on Mars. The combined might of a dozen Omega mutants reshaped the red planet, reconstructing the composition of its planetary core, adding oceans and atmosphere, and finally transporting the island and all its inhabitants across space. In a single evening, several citizens of Krakoa did what mankind had dreamed of for generations and colonized Mars, the new Planet Arakko. [Planet-Size X-Men #1]
Abigail Brand wasn't done, as she used the terraforming of Mars as a statement of intent for the rest of the galaxy. Representing the Krakoan-operated S.W.O.R.D., Brand brought together the ruling powers of the neighboring galaxies and announced her intent for all galactic powers to recognize Arakko as the capital of Sol, i.e. the entire solar system. For this recognition, she offered to solve the collapse of the galactic economy caused by the peace between the Kree and Skrulls, using a new S.W.O.R.D.-derived exotic material called Mysterium as a galactic standard of currency. Victor von Doom crashed this meeting and cut through the politicking, demanding to speak with Brand's so-called "Voice of Sol", the regent of Mars. A better entrance line could not be given, as Storm arrived through Manifold's teleportation portal, declaring herself for all the known worlds and the new speaker for her entire solar system. [S.W.O.R.D. (2nd series) #6]
The choice of Ororo was widely successful. She was already broadly known by the galactic powers, from her relationship with Xandra of the Shi'ar and her ties to the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. Closer to home, she was a warrior born and an Omega mutant, necessary qualifications to sit on the Great Ring of Arakko. Occupying both the Quiet Council and the Great Ring, Storm was both liaison to Krakoa and holder of the "Seat of All-Around-Us", central spot of the Three Seats of the Day in the Great Ring, deferred to in times of peace and holding an additional vote in all matters. It was not an easy role to hold -- Storm was renowned in Arakko already from the Otherworld tournament, but she still faced regular challenges to her rule, and MUST account for each of them in the Circle Perilous so long as she remained regent. [S.W.O.R.D. (2nd series) #7-8]
A tribal princess at birth and once a queen by marriage, Ororo Munroe is now ruler of a nation, regent to a world, and voice of a star system, through her own power and the strength of her arm and her character.