BIOGRAPHY - Page 11
Ororo soon found her ties to Wakanda renewed as T'Challa finally gave up his "sabbatical" in Hell's Kitchen. Bast, the Panther God, anointed T'Challa once again as her Black Panther, making him King of Wakanda's Necropolis and keeper of the spirits of all past rulers of the land. Thus, Ororo was a queen once more. [Fantastic Four (1st series) #607-608] Now split between duties to three countries (including Utopia), Storm did her best to meet all her responsibilities, such as serving cooperatively with the Avengers and X-Men during an alien prisoner escape from SWORD's Peak station. [Uncanny X-Men (2nd series) #9-10]
Her time to the Avengers came to a sudden but inevitable conclusion, however, when Captain America summoned all Avengers rosters to warn them of the coming threat of the Phoenix Force. Realizing the ramifications, Storm walked away from Avengers Mansion (and her husband) without another word. [New Avengers (2nd series) #24]
On Utopia, Storm and the X-Men prepared young Hope Summers for the Phoenix's arrival, believing the two of them united might end the Decimation and restore mutantkind to its former state. When Captain America arrived on Utopia with a SHIELD Helicarrier and a battalion of Avengers to take Hope into protective custody by force, Storm stood against T'Challa and the other Avengers in defending Utopia and Hope's presence on it. [Avengers vs. X-Men #1-2]
After Hope fled to meet the Phoenix on her own terms, the Avengers and X-Men scattered to find her, following a series of false trails. Storm joined Dr. Nemesis, Rachel Grey, Magma and Danger in Wakanda, where she again faced her husband in battle. Their already crumbling marriage fell apart on that battlefield, as the Black Panther unleashed counter-measures specifically designed to neutralize his wife in combat. Seeing this, Ororo lashed out at T'Challa for his stubbornness, his secrets, the distance he insisted on keeping between them, everything. As the fight descended into hand-to-hand brawling, Storm only stopped when the X-Men moved on to another lead on Hope, and left her wedding ring in the dirt as they departed. [Avengers vs. X-Men #3-4, AVX: Vs #5]
In the days that followed, the power of the Phoenix was claimed by five members of the Extinction Team instead of Hope. The Phoenix Five initially seemed devoted to ushering in paradise on Earth. However, when the Avengers once again stepped in and kidnapped Hope from Utopia, things turned sour. Cyclops declared a worldwide manhunt for the Avengers, and when Namor located them hiding out in Wakanda, he committed an act of war, bringing floods and devastation to Wakanda, killing many. This and the hellish Limbo prison created by Magik and Colossus for captured Avengers was enough to turn Storm from Utopia's side. She began organizing X-Men in abandoning Utopia to assist the Avengers.
In Wakanda, however, things could not be so easily fixed. When she approached T'Challa about her change of heart, the Black Panther coldly rebuffed her offer to help in the restoration. He informed Ororo Munroe that their marriage had been annulled by order of the high priest of the Panther Clan... him. Namor's actions were considered a declaration of war by Atlantis and Utopia, and the X-Men were no longer welcome in Wakanda. The former queen of Wakanda was now officially an enemy of the state, to be shot on sight. [Avengers vs. X-Men #6-9, AVX: Consequences #1]
Heartbreak aside, Storm continued to assist the Avengers and the quickly marshalling X-Men forces against the Phoenix Five. She fought in the final conflict where Charles Xavier was killed and the power of Dark Phoenix was drawn out of Cyclops and used by Hope to restore mutant births to Earth. [Avengers vs. X-Men #11-12] In the aftermath, Storm and the X-Men who came in were mostly granted amnesty, but the Phoenix Five and rogue members of the Extinction Team remained at odds with the Avengers. Despite herself, Storm could not turn in Colossus or Magneto, after seeing how much they had suffered for their actions. [AVX: Consequences #4] She was, however, quickly accepted by Headmistress Kitty Pryde as the newest instructor for the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. [Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #19]
Ororo was experiencing a number of changes to her life in rapid succession: the annulment of her marriage, the fall of Utopia and her return to Westchester. She was also quickly named headmistress of the Jean Grey School in Kitty's place after Shadowcat stepped down in order to personally instruct the five original X-Men, who had been brought into the future by Hank McCoy in a desperate attempt to change Cyclops' path. To honor this new chapter in her life, Storm returned to her previous, wild Mohawk hairstyle, as well as beginning a "friends with benefits" relationship with her co-headmaster, Wolverine. [All-New X-Men #6, Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #24]
Life went back to normal (so to speak) for the X-Men, as Storm resumed her leadership role with the team and helped guide them through conflicts with the Hellfire Academy and the Brotherhood of an alternate future. [Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #29-38] One day, Storm accompanied Psylocke on a mission to Los Angeles looking for Spiral. Over the next few days they were forced to deal with the emergence of a powerful new mutant, the return of the infamous former X-Man Bishop, a Revenant apocalypse led by an alternate future Cassandra Nova, and a struggle with Stryfe the Chaos-Bringer. [Uncanny X-Force (2nd series) #1-16]
Storm and Betsy's adventure in Los Angeles was harrowing, but it also showed Ororo the need for a functional strike team at the school, in addition to a teaching staff. The arrival of the multi-billion year old techno-bacterial entity Arkea provided Storm with the opportunity to assemble just such a strike team. Storm is building upon the security network she previously coordinated for Utopia's Security Recon Team in order to maintain a well-informed fighting force to protect the X-Men and mutants at large. Her currently contentious relationship with Rachel Grey has made her the perfect second-in-command, and Ororo is confident in Rachel to speak out when she believes Ororo is making a bad call. [X-Men (4th series) #1-4]
As Wolverine is currently dealing with the loss of his healing factor, Storm's position among the X-Men is stronger than ever. She remains headmistress of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, overseeing the student body, teachers, and recently graduated teaching assistants, as well as acting as field leader for the X-Men's primary strike force away from the school. For a time, Ororo Munroe attempted to leave the X-Men behind, losing herself in the role of wife and queen. If her current high spirits are any indication, Storm has finally found her way back where she belongs: with her true family, the X-Men.