It should come as no surprise that the X-Men’s resident “goddess,” Storm, comes from a lineage of women as remarkable as she is.
The first such woman is the “Rain Queen,” Ayesha of Balobedu. The Balobedu or “Lodedu” are a present-day people of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. They are a tribal society which, at its center, has a matriarchal monarchy, succession being passed between mother to daughter with male heirs excluded. The title “Rain Queen/Modjadji” is the name given to their queen, whom they believe has the ability to influence the weather. The last Rain Queen Makobo Constance Modjadji VI died in 2005. Presently, the Lobedu are under a regency from Makobo's brother until her daughter, Masalanabo Modjadji IV, comes of age in 2023. When exactly the practice of the Rain Queen started is disputed, with the people's origin being reputed to be in different parts of Africa. The numbers attached to her name represent the number of Rain Queens that the western world has been aware of and should not be seen as indicative of the amount of Rain Queens there has been. “Rain Queen” Ayesha was, in fact, a mystic of great renown and was fabled to be the sorceress supreme of her time period. Her supernatural powers may have given her the ability to alter the weather. She lived between the year 10,000 BC to 4000 BC, likely granting herself longevity through magical means. What became of her is lost to the sands of time. She has yet to appear on panel and to date has merely been spoken of. [Marvel Tarot #1]
[Note: The name Ayesha references the 1887 adventure novel “She: A History of Adventure.” The book depicted a hidden African kingdom with their ruler a “white queen” having supernatural powers and named “Ayesha” or “she who must be obeyed.” A sequel to the novel, titled “Ayesha” was also published.
Two other women with the same name of Ashake are also ancestors of Ororo. The first Ashake
appeared in New Mutants (1st series) #32 and was originally active in 11th century BC in Cairo. As with her ancestor Ayesha, Ashake was an adept sorceress displaying a versatile set of skills, such as illusion casting, telepathy and force-field creation. She was not without her limitations, claiming she lacked the ability of foresight that she said was prevalent in her bloodline. To that aim, she created aids in an early version of the Tarot that she called the bone cards, which used the major arcana cards from present day Tarot. Ashake was also an ardent worshiper of Ma'at (also called Oshtur), one of Earth's elder goddesses, who had trained in her in the mystical arts. While in the service of the goddess, she fought alongside a time lost Magik and Danielle Moonstar when they were temporarily trapped in ancient Egypt. Both girls marveled at her appearance, as she was a doppelganger of present day Ororo Munroe, possessing both her trademark features of blue eyes and white hair. She has claimed that Ororo is her granddaughter many times removed, however this is in doubt. While aiding her goddess and other worshipers against the demon Chthon, she was inadvertently transported to the future and was last seen in the company of a young sorcerer named Ian McNee. Unless Ashake had at least one child before her departure, or she somehow returns to her own time period, it is unlikely she is Storm’s direct ancestor. [Mystic Arcana: Sister Grimm, New Mutants (1st series) #32, Mystic Arcana: Magik, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #160, Uncanny X-Men Annual 2006]
The second Ashake was the ruling queen of Meroe, the capital city of the Kingdom of Kush (now located in modern day Sudan). Ashake was also called “Candace,” which was the title of the Queen or Queen mother of the Kush kingdom. However, the kingdom of Kush had actually been dissolved several hundred years prior to the story, so it can be assumed Ashake ruled a fictitious empire with unspecified borders. As with her descendant, she possessed bright, blue eyes and may have had her trademark white hair (reputably a common, reoccurring trait within the bloodline). However, as her hair was covered by different headgear throughout her only appearance, this remains unrevealed. Unlike Storm, Ashake was not a heroine. Otherwise known as the “Lionness,” Ashake took part in something called the “Royal hunt” in which she hunted and executed captured prisoners of war. There was an implication that her motivation for this “sport” was simply ennui. She met her match when she encountered the adventurer “Marada the She Wolf.” Attempting to hunt the woman to the death, as she had done with others many times before, she found herself bested in single combat by her superior opponent and ultimately required Marada's help to fend off usurpers. Whether or not the encounter with Marada altered the trajectory of Askake’s life in any kind of meaningful way was never revealed. This Ashake was confirmed specifically to be a relative of Storm in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #11 despite the fact that she is presently a “creator owned character” of writer Chris Claremont’s, along with the other characters from his “Marada the She Wolf” stories. Ashake appeared to be a worshiper of the ancient Egyptian gods, particularly Sekhmet, the lion goddess. As Marada was the alleged daughter of Caesar, this places Ashake of Meroe around the time of the beginning of the Roman Empire. [Epic Illustrated #12 (republished in Marvel Graphic Novel #21].
[Real world historical information sourced from https://www.britannica.com and the Useful Charts video on the “Rain Queens” from YouTube.
Other members of Ashake’s bloodline remained active in the Great Rift Valley. In modern times, a Queen of the tribe gave birth to a girl named N’Dare. [Uncanny X-Men Annual 2006] Despite her high standing as a princess in this matriarchal tribe, N’Dare decided to go against the traditions of her people and embrace the modern world and became a student in the University of Kenya. It was there that she met fellow student, American photographer David Munroe. David Munroe was the son of Harriet Munroe and her husband. Harriet was one of Malcolm X aides and, when David was a child, she had taken him with her on Malcolm’s trip to Africa. David fell in love with the continent as a child and, when he returned as a man, he fell in love with N’Dare. [Black Panther (4th series) #14] The two were quickly married and relocated to Harlem. Soon, their daughter, Ororo, was born, who unlike her mother sported their bloodline’s trademark white hair and blue eyes. N’Dare was very unhappy in New York. She constantly felt discriminated against because of the color of her skin and feared what kind of future her daughter Ororo would have there. When David was offered a job in Cairo, N’Dare convinced him to take it, as she hoped their family would have a better life back in Africa. Unfortunately for N’Dare, nothing could be further from the truth. During an Israeli-Arab conflict, a plane crashed into the Munroe’s home, killing both N’Dare and David. [X-Men (1st series) #102, Storm (2nd series) #1]
The six-year old Ororo somehow managed to survive and was found by some street urchins. Their leader, Achmed El-Gibar, taught Ororo how to survive and she was soon an expert thief. [X-Men (1st series) #113] Achmed became a mentor, if not a bona fide father figure to Ororo and his teachings over the years have proved invaluable for the X-Men's field leader. How much she respected him was obvious by the fact that she visited El-Gibar on his deathbed and trained his successor, Karima, so the other street children for whom he was caring were well looked after his passing. [X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #7]
Around the time her powers developed, Ororo felt an inner need to travel south and, over the course of a year, she walked about 2,000 miles from Cairo to the Kilimanjaro Valley. An elderly tribeswoman and witch named Ainet became a surrogate mother for Ororo during her stay there. She had a profound effect on Ororo and helped her deal with her new powers and responsibilities. [X-Men (2nd series) #77-78] It wasn’t long before Ororo was being worshiped by villages all across Africa as a goddess. After some time as a “goddess,” Ororo was approached by Charles Xavier and offered a place among his X-Men.
[Note: Years later Ainet would be murdered by followers of the evil god Uovu for refusing to renounce Ororo as a goddess and accept him. Uovu would be defeated by Storm but not before he re-animated Ainet and Storm's biological parents, N'Dare and David, and used them as “zombies” against her. The strain of the event was evident on Storm and she promised herself that she would take a more active role in Ainet's village Azuri. [X-Men Gold #33-35]
Storm had many adventures among the X-Men, and she rarely took leaves of absences from the team. Yet, during one such occasion, she inadvertently learned more about her family’s history while investigating a series of murders in Kenya. Mutants who had lost their powers during the so-called M-Day were being murdered by a warlord named Colonel Shetani. With the aid of her teammates, Storm managed to defeat Shetani, only to learn that Shetani was N’Dare’s brother and, as such, Ororo’s uncle. Just like N’Dare, he had rebelled against the tribe’s traditions but for different reasons. As a man, he felt discriminated against within the female-led tribe and sought to find power elsewhere. Following his arrest, Shetani led Ororo to the Great Rift Valley, where she finally met with her maternal grandmother. The old woman revealed that it was because of Shetani that no one ever came to find Ororo after her mother died, as Shetani had threatened to have Ororo killed should anyone even try. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #474, Uncanny X-Men Annual 2006] In addition to Colonel Shetani, Storm also had a cousin named Abuya. It was never specified if she was the daughter of Shetani or another as of yet unseen aunt or uncle. She appeared only briefly in Amazing X-Men Annual #1, having been targeted by an enemy of Storm named Meruda. She was subsequently rescued by the X-Men. She did not display any powers or the blue eyes/white hair traits that have been historically present in Storm’s bloodline.
Around the same time Ororo met Shetani, T’Challa, the king of Wakanda and known as the Avengers’ Black Panther, proposed to her as the time had come for him to finally select a bride. T’Challa and Ororo had first met and fallen in love as teenagers, during the time that Ororo was traveling through Africa. [Marvel Team-Up (1st series) #100] Having crossed each other’s paths several times in their crime-fighting identities, they were both aware that they still had feelings for each other. After considering the responsibilities involved, as well as her duties to the X-Men, Ororo decided to accept his proposal and become T’Challa’s wife. [Black Panther (4th series) #14-15]
Prior to their wedding, T’Challa used the resources of Wakanda to track down Ororo’s relatives on her father’s side. He tracked down Harriet Munroe and her husband to their new home in New Jersey. From them, Ororo learned that her father had had a sister, who had died too soon but was survived by a son named David, after Ororo’s father. Unfortunately, the woman had become a drug addict and eventually died of AIDS, leaving her young son David in the care of his loving grandparents. [Black Panther (4th series) #16] After reconnecting with both sides of her family, Ororo was now ready to be wed and married T’Challa in a ceremony in Wakanda that was attended by both branches of her family and most of the superhuman community.At the ceremony, her maternal grandmother was sitting with two women and one man. The man appeared to be a spouse of the woman. It is possible this was Abuya and her parents. [Black Panther (4th series) #18] The marriage between Storm and T’Challa did not last. During the Avengers vs. X-Men conflict, a Phoenix-possessed Namor had attacked Wakanda, killing many. As Storm had sided with the mutants in the conflict, T’Challa as head of the Panther religion (the religion in which they wed) annulled their marriage in retaliation.
The line of the goddess
While the relationship between of Storm and her former husband disintegrated in the core universe, in other realities the union has proved more fruitful. In a post-apocalyptic reality overrun by the android Ultron and his forces, a son of Storm and T’Challa named Azari served as a member of teen Avengers group. His parents, along with most of the world’s population, had been killed and he was surviving under the protection of a future version of the Hulk. Eventually, Azari (along with the other members of his team) escaped to the past and was last seen in the service of on-again, off-again Shield director, Maria Hill. Azari has inherited some abilities of his mother and has shown the ability to manipulate lightning. [Avengers World #9-11, 14, Avengers (4th series) #1-6]
Another likely child of Storm and T’Challa was Kymera, who originated from the so-called Jean Grey School 25-years later reality. While she had inherited her mother’s looks, she was not shown as having any of her powers. Instead, she seemed to possess a psionic connection to a giant, black panther with vibranium markings. Her “Storm” was killed when Kymera was relatively young during the assassination of President-Elect Alison Blaire in her home reality. The two apparently had a difficult but respectful relationship prior to her passing. Kymera’s own life also proved to be short. After having a brief sojourn in the core universe, she returned to her own timeline, only to be killed in Shi’ar space as collateral damage during a confrontation between the X-Men and Deathbird. T'Challa was never expressly confirmed as Kymera's father but, given all the panther “motifs,” it was heavily implied. [Uncanny X-Men: Winters End #1, Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #36-37, All-New X-Men (1st series) #17 & 28, X-Men (4th series) #6, 11, 14-17]
Storm also has another alternate reality son with another partner, the time traveler Cable. Their son, Alexander Summers (presumably named for Cable’s uncle Havok) was from a reality overrun by war. A being called the X-Ential had created a pocket reality in which he had saved some mutants and Atlanteans. Storm and Cable’s son, going by Major-X, served in the police force for the nation that was founded by these beings. As time moved on and the X-Ential's powers weakened, he failed to stop an attempted coup by renegade Altanteans, who had fled to the past in an attempt to alter the timeline. Major X pursued them, encountering younger versions of both parents. The conclusion of the story was somewhat ambiguous, with Major X remaining in the past in an effort to prevent his own timeline occurring (despite the fact that his prime motivation had been to secure his timeline throughout the story). Major-X had the inherited Storm’s ability to generate and project lightning but did not appear to have access to her full elemental arsenal. Storm had apparently passed when he was a young boy, so he was very happy to get the opportunity to meet her in the past. [Major-X #1-6] Whether Storm will continue her proud bloodline in the core universe herself is yet to be seen.