Storm (3rd series) #3

Issue Date: 
November 2014
Story Title: 
Return of the Goddess

Greg Pak (writer), Scott Hepburn with David Baldeon (pencilers), Scott Hepburn with Jordi Tarragona (inkers), Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), David Yardin (cover artist), Stephanie Hans (variant cover artist), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Mike Marts (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Storm receives an invitation to a village in Kenya where they need help with a device to create rain. Intrigued since this is close to her old home, she follows the invitation. She meets an elderly villager named Esther, who reveals that they always knew she wasn’t a goddess, but pretended to worship her in the past because they needed the rain. Since then, the situation has gotten worse, Storm learns from Esther’s frustrated son, Noah. To her surprise, the creator of the device is her former lover Forge, who didn’t mention his presence in the invitation as he was worried it would deter her form coming. He explains that the device only has extreme settings and they need her help with the calibration. After some consideration, she agrees to help. Alone with Forge, she has a stern discussion with him about his behavior in Wundagore and his attitude toward her marriage. She warns him that, if there are signs of someone abusing the device, she will destroy it. Soon Noah wants the device, not trusting either of them. True to her word, Storm destroys it and agrees that they have no reason to trust each other. Maybe they can learn to do so, while Forge and Noah fix it together. When Forge asks if they can be friends, she tells him to stay in the village for a year to help the people; then they can. 

Full Summary: 

The Jean Grey School:
Storm creates a gentle rain in her greenhouse, inadvertently soaking a protesting cat. Storm laughs and shushes it. That’s them in a nutshell, Beast observes. They can save the world, but someone’s going to get rained on.

When she asks what’s troubling him, he admits helping her illegally hack files to track down the runaways is still bothering him, as well as leaving them in the sewer with an arch-villainess.

He knows it was the right thing to do, doesn’t he? she asks. Too much of that right thing can get pretty dangerous for everyone, he sighs. He knows she’s been through a lot recently and has so many communities asking so much of her… What is he talking about? Hank tells her she has an invitation, but it’s a little sketchy… might even be a trap. He offers her a tablet computer, but Ororo is still charged when she takes it and destroys it. Sheepishly, she asks him to just tell her. It’s the unveiling of a new technology that promises to bring rain to the desert in Kenya…

Storm’s mind wanders back to her youth when she was worshipped as a goddess in Kenya.

Soon, Storm is in Kenya, musing that she’s returned here a couple of times over the years. Got shot in the head. Saved a baby, watched an old man die. Rediscovered her whole purpose in life… for a while .But she never made it all the way back here, back home. She lands in front of the stone gate under which she appeared to her worshippers. Home? she asks herself. Is she kidding?

Scene of the crime, eh? a voice behind her chuckles. Storm turns around to see an elderly woman in a tribal dress. She doesn’t think they’ve met, Ororo begins. Not formally, the woman agrees. But how could she forget the goddess?

Ororo apologizes embarrassed. That was a long time ago. She wasn’t really-- She knows, the woman replies, and she is sorry, too. It was a strange time. Years of drought. Cattle were dying. They were just starting to farm. They all knew she was just a crazy girl. But they needed the rain.

She was kind of crazy, wasn’t she? Ororo admits sheepishly and introduces herself with her real name. Ester Shira, the woman replies, takes her hand and thanks her for coming back. More villagers arrive.

In the dried up fields, a young, frustrated man kicks against a non-working spigot. Esther introduces him as her son, Noah. He tells Storm they are honored. She asks if the plants are tomatoes. Sad, aren’t they? Noah sighs. But they have irrigation lines, she points out. Esther explains a relief organization put them in three years ago. They run to the town twenty miles down the road. But someone cut off the water line last year.

Why? Ororo asks. Someone slept with the wrong person? Noah ventures angrily. Someone stole a cow? Who knows. They just have to work out another plan.

Storm and the people follow him back to the village. Looking at a small, solar-based device, Ororo supposes this is part of the plan. Noah explains it takes energy from the sun and pulls water from the air. But it’s only enough for the garden here in the kraal, Esther adds. The crops on the fields are still dying.

So they called her to work with him?! Ororo bursts out as she sees a familiar face coming from the garden. Loaded with a device and building material, it’s her ex-lover, Forge. She knows him? Esther asks. A little, Ororo replies bemused. They’ll let them catch up then, Esther decides diplomatically.

Accompanying him to the fields Ororo, asks what Forge is doing here. It’s one of the most drought-stricken areas in the world, he begins to explain. Storm points out she told him that years ago. She told him what she did here when she was a girl. And he got them to send an invitation to Westchester, knowing she’d have to check it out. But not mentioning he was involved. Putting down the material, Forge admits it seems a little… Just a little, she agrees wryly. He chuckles, then admits he didn’t want his involvement stop her from coming. This thing is too important.

She wants to see what he’s got. His device creates a mini rain shower. Adorable, is the word she uses. That’s setting number one, Forge explains. The problem is it’s that or— He presses a button and a full blown localized thunderstorm appears out of nowhere. Stopping it, Forge explains he needs to calibrate the device. Which is where he could really use her help.

Ororo admits this is incredible but warns him. As she learned about her powers, she recognized her limits. Making it rain somewhere for a week could cause a drought a thousand miles away. Forge admits he didn’t know that, but that’s why he asked her for help.

Instead of replying right away, Storm spends some time with the village people, talking with the grown-ups, playing football with the kids. Noah is impatient. Forge assures him she will help. Help! Noah spits. His grandfathers didn’t need that. Esther gently reminds him that was a different time. The drought will only get worse.

Noah bristles at always being dependent on foreigners. Forge assures him that’s not his plan. He’s Cheyenne. His ancestors roamed the plains too. But all that got stolen away. So he thinks he gets it. But he’s not part of their village. He couldn’t tell them how to adapt. That’s for them to decide. He’s only trying to give them some tools to help them survive until they figure it out. When it’s ready, the controller will belong to them, not him. Storm interrupts, asking them what they need her to do.

Later in the evening, Storm and Forge are in the fields. They get ready to record her power manifestations. He tells her to start with a small rain and then continue up until a full-blown thunderstorm. The machine will analyze her EKG through the process and model its own process accordingly.

As she begins the rain, she addresses him and reminds him that, years ago, he took away her powers. By accident, Forge assures her. And then he did everything he could to— He lied about it, she interrupts. He apologizes. He was working for the government back then. But he’s solo now. Funded through foundations, NGOs, and his own patents. He promises her— Lightning strikes nearby.

Undeterred, Storm continues about the time she saw him at Wundagore, where he rambled on about rejection and humiliation and then he tried to save the world by opening a portal to a universe of monsters who wanted to kill them all. The logic never quite made sense to her. That wasn’t him, Forge assures her. There was something broken inside his brain. Cable helped him fix it. No! she cuts him off and rises into the air. He spat out her married name like it was poison. Maybe he was crazy but that emotion came from somewhere. She holds no grudge and she hopes the same can be said for him. But she warns him she’s going to destroy every piece of equipment if he gives her the slightest reason to suspect his motives. Lightning strikes around them.

A little later when the storm has died down, Noah approaches Forge, who tells him the system works now. He’s just locking off the upper range now. Why? Noah demands. Forge explains the machine’s a little too powerful right now. They don’t need anything more than a gentle rain. He said he’d give them the tools, Noah reminds him angrily, and they’d decide how to use them. He raises his hoe threateningly. Forge has done what he came to do. He can go now. Esther tries to calm him. Noah tries to wrestle the machine from Forge.

The wind rises and Storm’s lightning destroys the whole machine.

Esther berates Noah for his foolishness. Storm points out that he isn’t foolish. He just doesn’t trust them, just like they don’t trust him. And why should they? They don’t really know each other. Let’s say it all went according to plan. What happens when Forge leaves – and the machine breaks down? What happens if the climate changed even faster than expected and that trickle of rain he promised isn’t enough? What happens if a warlord crosses the border to steal the tech?

On the other hand, what happens if Noah Shirah has the power of a god? What would he do to this village or the town down the road that cut off his water? She’s no goddess. She doesn’t know the answers. But maybe by the time Noah and Forge have rebuilt the machine they’ll have figured it out together.

Esther hits Noah on the head, calling him stupid. Then she hugs him and tells him he’s lucky.

That was pretty stunning, Forge tells Ororo Does she still… he means… he stammers. With a smile, she tells him she’s seeing someone. That’s great… he was just hoping that maybe they could be friends. Storm considers it. How long does he think it will take him to fix all this? Maybe a month, he figures. A year, she corrects him. He’s not just fixing machines. She’ll come back in a year. And if he’s still here, still working with these folks, maybe they’ll be friends. A year’s not too long, he figures. She agrees and helps the people with their work.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Esther Shira
Noah Shira

Story Notes: 

Storm’s memories of the things that happened when she returned to Kenya occurred in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #194-198.

Forge accidentally stole Storm’s powers and lied about it in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #185-186.

The confrontation at Wundagore when Forge was insane occurred in Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #29-30.

Cable helped restore Forge to sanity in Marvel Now Point One.

Cable and X-Force #15-17 revealed the Adversary may have been behind the insanity.

A kraal is a small African village, usually enclosed by a fence.

Written By: