Sunday 9 July 2017

X-Looks: My Favourite Storm Costumes

Toldja I’d do Storm
The point of these is that unlike many other characters where I have a definite preference for one look or costume there are some characters there’s a bunch I like with only very small gaps in preference between them and thus I made them into a countdown for my own benefit and amusement and I’m sharing it with you because you don’t get a choice, cool? This is truer for the X-Men’s Storm than just about any other character I can think of. When I internally debate such things the same thing happens: I think of my number one then in brief succession all the rest and end up with a pile of favourites.
So Storm is a Mutant with the ability to control the weather (except for the time she lost her powers for a while), her mother was Kenyan and her father was African-American but she was orphaned at a young age and grew up in Cairo as a child thief before being worshipped as a weather goddess by a small Serengeti tribe (as you do). She joined the X-Men in Giant Size X-Men 1 as part of the big All-New All-Different X-Men shake-up (which also introduced Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Colossus to the team) and has stayed with them pretty much since except for a while when a racial supremacist married her off to Black Panther. After Cyclops quit the team following Jean Grey’s ‘death’ Storm became leader of the group and even fought and bested her predecessor to remain in the role, when he eventually returned about a decade later she became leader of the X-Men Gold Squad and still leads squads when the writers remember to have her do so. Storm was long-time X-Men writer Chris Claremont’s favourite and he was VERY unsubtle about this in the pages of the books he wrote, as such Storm has a LONG history of being very badass and having villains fall for her, now it’s just an established fact in and out of universe that Storm is made of pure awesome. Rogue’s my favourite X-Man but Storm’s probably the X-Man character I fancy the most on a purely physical level so I’m going to really try and make this not too pervy but even if I fail: know that I have never (allegedly) paid a woman to dress up like Storm and do very rude things to me so at the very least I’m still less pervy than Chris Claremont. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll being.         

7. Outback
Debut: Uncanny X-Men issue 230
There is one reason for me liking this costume so much, it’s not a very good reason but it is the definite reason why I’m so into this look: it’s the outfit used for Storm’s first action figure in the original wave of Toy Biz’s X-Men line. I have a huge (some might say disproportionately huge) respect for the first two waves of X-Men toys, because there’s a crudeness, a toyness to them that I find very charming but also because they’re the start of it all, a pretty blatant case of ‘first instalment wins’ and y’know what? I don’t think some characters (Cyclops, Sauron, Weapon X, Blue & Yellow Wolverine, Iceman and Colossus) have ever been done better. So yeah its…hmm…how to put it?... it’s number 7 by association.  

6. Onslaught
Debut: Uncanny X-Men issue 3351
So Joe Madureira (I think) decided to just go ‘fuck it’ and give Storm an almost completely different look that’d stick around from the start of Onslaught to pretty much Operation: Zero Tolerance (her hair grew out in the end). It’s an odd look but you can see (or at least I can) influence from her previous big two designs, the All-New All Different and Punk looks: we have the radical hair shift from the Punk look with the bare midriff, strange cape and overall costume shape of the All-New All-Different with those random arrows of bare flesh recalling (at least to me) the random holes in the top of her boots, hell her tiara is actually replicated on fabric above her gauntlets. It’s is pretty odd though, it’s purple for one - a colour usually associated with Psylocke, it has random arrows of bare flesh on the legs of the trousers, a strange techno-belt and little booties and if you asked me why I like it so much, cos I do think it looks really nice, I’d probably give you some vague ‘I just do’ bullshit because I can’t really pin down why. Part of it is the hair, with those terrific bangs that allow it to look long and short at the same time and some of it is just that I find the combination of white, purple and brown skin very visually appealing but really I don’t have an overall reason, I just like it, I’m sorry.    

5. All New, All Different
Debut: Giant Size X-Men issue 1
One of those things: Storm has really matured physically over the years and I really like it, Today’s Storm is very much drawn as a grown woman but back here when she debuted, under Cockrum and then Byrne, she looked so much younger and cuter – as well as being really cool it helps both designs and gives them their own appeals. This is cute, curvy Storm in her original costume, the costume that’ll define her design; Dave Cockurm came up with this look (minus the hair) for a character who turned into a cat if you’re interested. So all that bullshit aside why do I like it and why isn’t it number 1 when it’s a classic? Well I like wrapping pretty young women in shiny black plastic as we found out in the last one of these but honestly I just like the way all the elements come together here, I like the black with yellow trim, I like the weird wing-cape, I like the strange two-piece bathing suit with the ring, I like that fucking black tiara, holy shit that tiara, if I was a woman I’d wear that down the shops. As for why it’s not number one it’s subsequently been refined to a better design (as far as I’m concerned) and remember that Counter Culture bias from the Rouge post? Yeah that, so now we veer off into outfits that take influence from Storm’s other main look.  

4. Punk Storm
Debut: Uncanny X-Men issue 173
But last time you said you preferred Evolution Rogue because she was an Alternative, why isn’t this number one? Both of my reasons seemingly contradict that Rogue list too but I will try to explain: the first is that this isn’t Rogue in her civvies this is Storm’s costume and while the ‘street clothes for stage clothes’ is very fitting for a punk character it’s slightly uncreative. What I liked about Evo Rogue’s civvies (other than just being hot) is that it incorporated elements for her costume, this doesn’t, in fact no attempt has been made to costume or ‘X’ it up - which is kind of odd as it’s not like Punks weren’t known for daubing stuff on their clothes. The other main reason is that for the time she was Punk, Storm’s entire physique changed: she became far less voluptuous and far slimmer, wirier, tougher looking, even her bust shrunk (not something that happens to female characters in comics very often). It’s not an issue in concept because people’s body shape does change from time to time, eating habits, jobs, all sorts of things cause it and when women lose weight often the boobs go with it but it’s an anomaly with Storm and I just prefer her physique when she has her fuller figure – not strictly for pervy reasons just for ‘how I imagine the character’ reasons. “But that didn’t bother you with Rogue” not quite – it didn’t bother me so much because in both the cases I discussed (X-Men The Movie and X-Men Evolution) it was a young Rogue in another media (not the source material) and in the comics the Rogue of similar age had the same physique (and I picked the Movie Rouge who had the physique closer to my preferred build for the character) so it wasn’t a case of other media being inaccurate and thus I didn’t mark it down for that. With Storm it’s just a random anomaly in her designs and it sticks out. Or I’m a hypocrite, whatever. 

3 Bloodstorm
Debut: Mutant X issue 1
So everything I said about number 4 isn’t true for Bloodstorm. Bloodstorm is an alternate reality Storm where Dracula turned her into a vampire, she as a recurring character in Mutant X, a series that followed Havok, a book I really like. Bloodstorm is wearing a costume that incorporates her counterculture elements – which is far more Goth Punk than the straight up Punk of 616’s Storm, another reason I prefer it (I veer more towards Goth/Metal than Punk when it comes to dress) – and she has a much fuller physique closer to her regular build. For a long time this was my favourite look for Storm (numbers 1 & 2 having not shown up until after 2007).

2. Uncanny X-Force Volume 2
Debut Uncanny X-Force Volume 2 issue 1
I rejected this outfit outright when it was debuted because it replaced a costume that I thought was pretty much perfect (spoilers for number 1) but I’ve since more than warmed up to it. what did it for me was realising it was a pretty perfect combination of her previous looks – her punk hair, her All-New All-Different cape and black and yellow colour scheme – they even threw in some white to recall her early 90’s look (the one they used in the cartoon), it’s the best of both worlds and it’s pretty clever and the more I thought about it the more I really liked it and now I fucking love it. It also involves a huge Mohawk and is very sexy.

1. Manifest Destiny
Debut: Uncanny X-Men issue 487
I had no idea what to call this outfit, with the odd tweak (I think it became a two-piece at some point) Storm wore it from Manifest Destiny to the end of Avengers vs X-Men (that’s August 2007 to December 2012) and that’s a timeframe that took in a lot of events and appearances, it was pretty much her Wolverine & The X-Men cartoon look AND it was the costume used for a bunch of video games including Marvel vs Capcom 3, Avengers: Battle for Earth and Marvel Future Fight. Still The Extremists (Uncanny X-Men 487-491) was when this revision of this costume debuted and that was part of Manifest Destiny so I’m using that event’s name for it. So yeah ‘revision’, this is Salvador Larocca’s amending of a costume designed by Alan Davies for when Chris Claremont came back to the title, I don’t really like the Alan Davies version so much, it had this awkward sash with lightning bolt pins and a lightening design/shape for the cape and I thought both looked awkward - It was a design in need of streamlining and Larocca came along and did just that and I think it’s a perfect, literally perfect, design for a Storm costume - it’s her classic All-New All Different look redesigned for an adult woman and a former queen who’s comfortable with herself. It’s a classic look refined to excellence, and I think it’s really sexy. Larocca’s tweaks seem small – he removed the awkward sash, gave her classic cape and red gem and made the bracelets that hold her cape on much bigger, these sound like little things and they are, but they helped the outfit’s balance (to me), sometimes all you need a little something or a shift in proportions to make something look more pleasing (to me). You could argue that it’s just a swimsuit with a cape and boots and you’d be wrong, it’s a swimsuit with a cape, boots and tiara. Nah I kid, it IS very simple and that’s exactly why I like it, over-complicating or over-designed costumes generally make me unhappy, not just because I find them too busy but because they’re hard to draw over and over again at various sizes by various artists and that makes no sense for a character in comic book where it’s required to do all of those things. To me this is Storm at her most Storm – sexy, regal and shiny black vinyl.

And I’m done, by god I can waffle on about costumes can’t I?

1 this costume also appears in Onslaught: X-Men which I think came out just before this issue or at the same time, however Adam Kubert draws it so off-model I’m not counting it, it’s also coloured wrong (it’s black in that issue).

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