BIOGRAPHY - Page 8
After she was sufficiently recovered from her injuries, Storm – along with Gambit – infiltrated the President’s home, where a meeting of the world leaders regarding the future policy on mutants was taking place. Storm made Val Cooper, Alexi Vazjin and several other politicians an offer: she suggested a special police task force of mutants policing mutants given worldwide authority – the X-Treme Sanctions Executive, or X.S.E. The heads of state decided to give her idea a green light but, as a test, she was to apprehend the extra-dimensional slaver, Tullamore Voge, in Tokyo. [X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #32-35]
Storm left for Tokyo alone and met with her good friend Yukio there. While visiting a nightclub, they were led to one of an entire network of underground arenas, where mutants fought each other for sport. Seeing one of the combatants about to kill another, Storm intervened and unwittingly became this arena’s new champion. She was warned by Strong Guy, who only recently had joined the arena network himself, to stay away. However, Ororo was excited by the thrill and adrenaline rush and nevertheless returned, taking up the challenge of another champion – Callisto. This battle turned out to be a trap; not only was Callisto sporting new powers – dozens of tentacles in the place of her arms – but also the fight was purely a distraction for Storm to be defeated on a psychic level, by some other operatives of Callisto’s new master, Masque.
For the next few weeks, Storm and Callisto outwardly lived the glorious life of champions, while actually being treated as slaves by Masque. Just as Masque was about to sell Storm as a slave to Tullamore Voge, the two women showed that they couldn’t be broken and made short work of Masque. Now in control of the entire arena network, Storm handed it over to Callisto, intending to use the arena as an organization to offer mutants a safe harbor all over the world. Despite her not capturing Voge, his activities in Tokyo were at least brought to an end, and as such the X.S.E. was given the go-ahead. [X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #36-39]
Thanks to the arena episode, Storm seemed to sport a new, much more aggressive attitude and her teammates weren't yet sure what to make of the change. Shortly after Ororo had returned to her teammates, she learned of the devastation of Manhattan at the hands of a madman claiming to be Magneto and the death of her close friend, Jean Grey. Putting aside their different views on Xavier’s dream, Storm’s team returned to Westchester to help rebuild the Xavier Institute, which now housed both the X-Men and the X-Treme Sanctions Executive. With Professor Xavier having departed for Genosha, Cyclops and Emma Frost replaced him as co-headmasters of the school, though they had no authority over the X.S.E. Instead, Storm’s squad operated out of a carriage house on the school’s grounds, acting as official field marshals for mutant affairs, affiliated with the FBI, Homeland Security and other agencies, thanks to Val Cooper. [X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #46, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #444]
The X-Men encountered a number of threats in short order, including the extra-dimensional Fury, the Weaponeers and a reformed Hellfire Club. Although she still took her responsibilities as team leader seriously, Ororo had not forgotten the wild times she experienced in the arena with Callisto. Just like after her original walk on the wild side with Yukio in Japan, Storm began acting more recklessly and aggressively in combat than she had in recent times. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #449] She also became more open in her personal life, engaging in casual flirtations and dating with her long-time friends, Wolverine and Nightcrawler. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #445, 450, Nightcrawler (3rd series) #5]
On a mission that stretched between the Canadian Rockies and the Savage Land, Storm’s team confronted an army of humanoid dinosaurs seeking to claim the world from the mammals. Rachel was brainwashed by their telepath, and attempted to take control of Storm’s mind, forcing Ororo to strike back with all the elemental fury she could muster. Despite her protests, Storm was soon captured by the Saurians. Realizing the full extent of her abilities, the Saurians devised a scheme to use Ororo’s powers in conjunction with Rachel’s, creating a series of global hyperstorms to destroy all of mankind’s civilizations, leaving the world free for Saurian rule. The plan was implemented, and Storm became the eye of a worldwide weather catastrophe, the ushering in of a new Ice Age. As the hyperstorms grew beyond their ability to control, the fearful Saurians ordered Rachel to sync with Ororo and undo their efforts before the world could no longer support life at all. Their combined efforts not only reversed the spread of the hyperstorms, it also jolted Rachel’s consciousness back to normal, freeing her from Saurian control. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #456-459]
In the weeks that followed, Storm was part of a group of X-Men that struggled with the partially restored Phoenix Force, which briefly reanimated Jean Grey to serve as its host once more before seemingly leaving Earth for good. [X-Men: Phoenix – Endsong #1-5] Forced to watch one of her closest friends die once more before her eyes, Ororo retreated somewhat from full status with the team. The X.S.E. squad became less active, and Storm left the day-to-day operations of the group to Bishop and Nightcrawler. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #460]
When mutated animals turned up in the politically unstable country of Niganda, Storm insisted on joining Havok’s squad to investigate. The overthrow of the dictator M’Butu left his military to their own devices, and they began executing so-called “undesirables.” Meanwhile, with the ruling government in chaos, bandits and kidnappers roamed the streets unchecked. With the entire country turning on each other, Ororo stepped back into her role as a storm goddess to intimidate the up-risers into submission. She also encountered her childhood flame, T’Challa the Black Panther, king of neighboring Wakanda. The entire experience reawakened her concern for the people of Africa, and Storm chose to remain behind when the X-Men completed their mission. However, when T’Challa offered to make her his guest in Wakanda, Ororo refused his offer (and the unspoken second offer behind it) to make her own path. [Wild Kingdom crossover] She did, however, encourage T'Challa to send a young Wakandan mutant named Nezhno to Xavier's School. Nezhno was considered an outsider by the Wakandan people, not because he was a mutant but because his father was not from Wakanda. Although her time with the X.S.E. frequently kept her away from the school, Storm became Nezhno's sponsor and he became part of her training squad. [X-Men: Worlds Apart #1]
Storm was still in Africa when M-Day struck and mutantkind was decimated. She asked Cyclops to send her team to join her, but he disagreed, believing the X-Men needed to congregate in a united front against the retaliation that would surely follow. Ororo remained firm in her position, and chose to stay in Africa to protect the former and surviving mutants of the area from retribution. [Decimation: House of M – The Day After #1]
Storm’s instincts were right, and she soon came across several former mutants who were tortured and murdered. Some had been the sole protectors of their villages, and were killed as a lesson to others once they could no longer defend themselves. A local warlord named Shetani was exterminating these Decimated mutants in order to secure his rule over the lands where Kenya, Ethiopia and the Sudan met. Ororo confronted his soldiers on several occasions on the veldt before pinpointing Shetani himself at his base in Turkana. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #469-474]
Storm summoned her squad of X-Men to assist in dealing with Shetani without destroying the city around him, but she underestimated how much Shetani wanted her dead. The X-Men’s hotel was caught in a barrage from Predator UAVs, and Ororo once again found herself buried alive. With a supreme effort, she managed to free herself and took the fight directly to Shetani. She was taken completely by surprise when she learned Shetani’s reason for hunting mutants in Africa: he was her maternal uncle. Because power typically passed down from mother to daughter in Ororo’s tribe, Shetani grew bitter at being passed over, and created a power base of his own. With Shetani neutralized, Ororo finally managed to reunite with her mother’s people in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya after nearly 30 years, including her grandmother. [Uncanny X-Men Annual (2nd series) #1]
During her blood war with Shetani, Ororo was also dealing with matters of an even more personal nature: the sudden proposal of T’Challa, the Black Panther. A king pressed with continuing the royal line, T’Challa had been unable to shake Ororo from his thoughts since their recent reunion in Niganda. Although she still harbored some resentment from their separation as children, Ororo agreed to accompany T'Challa to Wakanda. After meeting with his mother and considering her own feelings, Ororo consented to be his wife.
In preparation for the big day, T'Challa helped Ororo locate other members of her lost family, her grandparents from her father's side. Former activists from the 60's, David Munroe's parents had been living in semi-hiding from the government along with Ororo's nephew, David Jr. They had often wondered if the white-haired mutant Storm on the news had been their grandchild, but never had the courage to reach out before that moment. [Black Panther (4th series) #14-17]