Ororo: Before the Storm #2

Issue Date: 
September 2005
Story Title: 
Before the Storm part 2

Mark Sumerak (writer) Carlos Barberi (pencils), Juan Vlasco (inks), Randy Green, Rick Ketcham and Sotocolor’s J. Rauch (cover), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Val Staples (colorist), Jared Osborn (production), Nicole Wiley (editor), Cadenhead & Paniccia (consulting editors), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Ororo excels at another of Achmed’s tests, heightening the rivalry between her and Nari. The next day, she, Hakiim and Nari are to find a treasure, the Opal of Ozymandias in a booby-trapped pyramid for Dr. Barrett. Despite the rivalry of the two girls, the traps and Ororo’s claustrophobia, the kids manage to make their way to the pyramid’s center. However, when Nari takes the opal, the stone statues suddenly come to life.

Full Summary: 

Nighttime in Cairo: Ororo runs for her life, chased by others. Suddenly, the rest of Achmed’s urchins are in her way, demanding she stop. Clearly pained, her friend, Hakiim, tells her there is no escape. She has something that belongs to Master el-Gibar and, unless she returns it to them now, they will be forced to take it away from her.

Impatient, Nari pushes him aside, spoiling for a fight. She sics the others after Ororo, but the other girl quickly takes out the rest of the kids, including the hesitant Hakiim. Finally, only she and Nari are left. Nari at first has the upper hand in the fight and mocks that this is all that Teacher’s “prize pupil” has to offer. That title should belong to someone who has earned it. Ororo agrees, as she turns tables on Nari and takes her out.

Achmed joins them and asks for the pocket watch that Ororo kept. He commends her on beating her own record. He is going to have to make this test harder next time. He admonishes her that he hopes she will be able to work with her fellow urchins as well as against them, for the next day a completely different test is to begin.

The next day, Achmed arrives at a Pyramid excavation site, already expected by Dr Barret, who is not amused when Achmed introduces Ororo, Nari, Hakiim as the greatest thieves in all Cairo. He didn’t expect children. However, Achmed convinces him and Barrett explain that within the ruins of this ancient temple lies a stone that was once thought to possess great power – the Opal of Ozymandias. Legend says that he who possesses the opal will become invincible, that he will live eternally in the service of an old Egyptian warlord called En Sabah Nur.

Is that why Barrett wants the stone, Hakiim asks innocently. Ruffling the boy’s hair, Barrett informs him that this merely a myth. He seeks to safely deliver this priceless artifact into a museum before it falls into the hands of some filthy local scoundrel too savage to understand its true glory. He wasn’t referring to them, of course.

He warns them that the temple is riddled with booby traps and dangers that only the most skilled thieves could possibly survive. And then there is a curse… Although he quickly assures the children that most Egyptian curses are nothing more than exaggerated “no trespassing” signs. He translates the curse: “Ozymandias, the eternal, will give life to the stones themselves so to crush all who invade the sanctum of En Sabah Nur.”

What do they receive in return? Ororo demands to know. Barrett explains that they will earn glory in bringing this long-lost wonder to today’s world, but they will also be rewarded in ways far more grand that she ever imagined possible. When do they begin? a stony-faced Ororo asks.

Soon, the three children are in the pyramid, following the map down a corridor. Hakiim gets a fright when he sees a tall figure before him, but it is only a stone statue. Nari teases him mercilessly and wonders why teacher made them bring him. Bad enough she has to work with Ororo.

Nari notices that Ororo is gone and has remained somewhat behind. Ororo apologizes. She does not do well with such small places. Nari calls her pathetic. In Ororo’s stead, she would instead fear teacher’s reaction when he finds out— Ororo slams her against the wall. She has her reasons, she states curtly. She only needs a moment and then they will move on. Hakiim assures her that he is with her and she thanks him.

They move onwards with Nari taking the lead, still wondering what the problem is. Unnoticing, she activates a lever on the floor and suddenly a block of the ceiling comes down on her. Ororo grabs both Nari and Hakiim and forces them to jump to safety.

Hakiim nervously reminds them of the curse: the stone would come alive and crush all intruders. That was it? How disappointing. Ororo grimly remarks that they have plenty enough ahead as before them looms a scorpion-filled chasm. They make their way across the feeble bridge, but Hakiim almost falls before Ororo drags him to safety.

Outside, Achmed patiently waits for his children despite Barrett’s offer to return him to Cairo.

Inside, the kids escape another trap, this time one of fire filled by chasm filled with crocodiles. All the while, Nari is arguing with the other two. Finally, they reach the main chamber, where the opal is supposed to be. Ororo warns Nari of more traps, but the other girl ignores her. She walks up to the stone statue of Ozymandias and takes the opal from his turban.

Triumphantly, she turns to Ororo, not seeing that Ozymandias’ eyes suddenly glow red. In return, several other stone statues’ eyes begin to shine and, while Nari still doesn’t notice, the other two kids watch in horror as four statues come alive.

Characters Involved: 

Ororo Munroe

Hakiim, Nari and other street urchins working for Achmed

Achmed el-Gibar

Dr. Barrett


Story Notes: 

En Sabah Nur is, of course, another name for Apocalypse who would still be asleep at the time.

Ororo is a claustrophobiac due to the trauma of being buried alive next to her mother’s corpse when their home collapsed over them.

Ozymandias was a prince of ancient Egypt, 5000 years ago. Ozymandias came into conflict with En Sabah Nur who punished Ozymandias by turning him into living stone. Ozymandias can also see the future on behalf of Apocalypse.

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