Storm Arcana

Intuitive Visionary Coach & Founder of Arcana Academy

Tag: John Cassaday

Heroic Tarot Tuesday: Major Arcana X-Men, Part VI

detail

6 The Lovers: Rogue

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” ~C.G. Jung

Today we continue our look at the Major Arcana of the Tarot through the lens of Marvel’s X-Men comic book characters! Thus far we have discussed Professor X as the MagicianStorm as the High PriestessJean Grey as the EmpressCyclops as the Emperor and Nightcrawler as the Hierophant! This week we celebrate Rogue as the Lovers!

Read More

Storm Sunday: Be My Mutant Valentine

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re taking a look at some of the more prominent couplings of the X-Men.  Although the X-Men’s goal is to bridge the gap between humans and mutants, when it comes to dating they don’t stray too far from their racial or class groups.  They also seem to gravitate towards other members who have endured similar traumatic experiences.  Why go into therapy?  Just find another damaged soul and cling to them as long as you can!

Jean Grey & Cyclops
Jean Grey (Marvel Girl/Phoenix) and Scott Summers (Cyclops) were the first X-Men romance story and since they debuted in 1963 they are basically the Barbie and Ken of the mutant set.  Jean’s Phoenix/Dark Phoenix storyline was the best of her character career, but since Phoenix was retconned to not be Jean after all, that leaves us with a dearth of amazing Jean stories to celebrate her, with or without Scott.  Frankly, I find their romance to be little more than a romantic template for the stories that came later.  Jean and Scott, although a classic X-Men couple, have evolved beyond high school sweethearts.  If and when Jean returns from the White Hot Room, I’d love to see her stay single for a while and perhaps join the Avengers.  I’d rather her be with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes instead of enabling Scott’s current fascist dictatorship, er, I mean Utopia.  Art by Greg & Tim Hildebrandt.

Rogue & Gambit
Rogue and Remy Le Beau (Gambit) are both from the South so they have to date one another, right?  I mean, they both have ridiculous accents and martyr complexes!  Hey ya’ll, mon chere, sugah, mah petite, etcetera….you can’t touch me, but I care for you…I have dark secrets, but I still love you…..Mystique is my mother and she raised me to be bad, but I didn’t mean to permanently absorb Ms. Marvel’s powers.  I don’t wanna be bad…..I made a deal with Mr. Sinister, but I didn’t mean to lead the Marauders to kill off the Morlocks.  I don’t wanna be bad….Ugh.  Perhaps it’s true that like attracts like, but this is ridiculous.  The less said about these two the better.  Art by Mike Choi.

Storm & Forge
Ororo Munroe (Storm) is a native African with white hair and blue eyes, while Forge is a Native American.  Add them together and you have a minority romance made in heaven!  Except you don’t really.  I’ve already written about how I feel about this coupling, but now that I look at the cover to Lifedeath again, it occurs to me how having Storm kneeling in front of Forge is a symbol for her entire role in their relationship.  Can we say servitude, anyone?  Art by Barry Windsor-Smith.

Psylocke & Archangel
Betsy Braddock (Psylocke) is a rich white British model & Warren Kenneth Worthington III (Angel/Archangel) is a rich white American playboy.  Their parents even have ties to the decadent underground party playground known as the Hellfire Club.  Betsy gets tortured and brainwashed after entering the Siege Perilous and becomes the evil Lady Mandarin.  Warren gets tortured and brainwashed after attempting suicide and becomes Apocalypse’s fourth horseman, Death!  Don’t forget the subsequent Crimson Dawn fiasco and then the Kwannon/Psylocke  double identity mess.  Or the fact that Warren’s metal wings fall off (not kidding) and his feathered wings return.  And then his metal wings return and his feathered ones remain, so Warren can switch back and forth.  Wow, with all this body mutilation, it’s no wonder Betsy and Warren were/might still be a couple!  They have so much in common!  Art by Andy Kubert.

Colossus & Kitty Pryde
Piotr Rasputin (Colossus) & Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat, but no one calls her by her code name).  He’s Russian, she’s Jewish.  Make your own conclusions about that.  Peter was Kitty’s first love.  There was a ruckus for a minute because he “dated” some healer lady in a crossover that took place in outer space.  Then he was dead for a minute and Kitty dated another guy named Peter who was everything Peter #1 was not.  Colossus and Kitty were reunited in a storyline basically lifted from Claremont’s oeuvre and then she went to outer space and got fused to a giant magic bullet.  No, really.  When Kitty returns, I bet she and Colossus get together again.  The writer’s clause that states, “This is how it was when I first read the Claremont stories and that’s how it should be” will be to blame for this reunion.  Frankly, I find Kitty’s attraction to Piotr to stem from her adolescent letdown of her parent’s divorce and since her dad is dead, she’s more in need of a father figure than ever.  Not that Piotr knows anything about that, he couldn’t even figure out he fathered a child in the Savage Land (Even after the mother named the child after him).  This couple seems to be  doomed to remain together due to nostalgia rather than character progression.  Just stay out of outer space you two!  Art by John Cassaday.

Havok &Polaris
Alex Summers (Havok) & Lorna Dane (Polaris).  He suffers from an inferiority complex because he’ll never be as cool or together as his brother Scott (Cyclops).  Lorna suffers from an inferiority complex because she’ll never be as cool or together as her father Magneto (also known as Max Eisenhardt,  Magnus and Erik Lehnsherr).  She’s been evil/possessed by Erik the Red and Malice.  He conveniently dated  his brother’s estranged wife Madelyne while pretending to be dead in Australia.  Then he was seemingly killed, but actually shunted to another dimension where he dated an alternate reality version of Madelyne Pryor, only to “date” a nurse in his mind (Her son was telepathic and was playing matchmaker).  Havok left the dimension and came out of his coma and tried to marry this nurse, but Polaris interrupted the wedding because her mind had snapped due to absorbing the deaths of millions of mutants on Genosha.  Havok and Polaris are now in outer space fighting aliens alongside some other aliens and are getting along just fine.  Art by Billy Tan.

X-FactorNation

Alison Blaire (Dazzler) & Longshot became a couple not long after a random teleportational explosion dropped off Longshot in the Danger Room.  Both of them are refugees (She from Disco, he from Mojoworld) and best of all they are both blonde!   There was some flirtation between Longshot and Rogue (And every other female thanks to Longshot’s innate something or other), but Dazzler quickly staked her claim on him.  They were a couple for a little while and then Professor X revealed that Alison was pregnant.  The two lovers moved to Mojoworld (Worst vacation spot ever) and the pregnancy was never mentioned again (Unless all those X-Babies are hers! I kid, I kid!).  Longshot lost his memories of their relationship and is now a member of X-Factor.  Alison is back with the X-Men living on Utopia.  They reconnected in the flesh in the recent X-Factor Nation X crossover.  Art by Valentine De Landro.

White Queen & Cyclops

Emma Frost (White Queen) & Scott Summers (Cyclops) are certainly the poster children for a post modern X-Men couple.  After years of trying to kill the X-Men, Emma now leads them alongside Scott.  Scott had a mental affair with Emma when Jean was still alive, but was given Jean’s blessing (from the afterlife) to be with Emma.  Convenient, yes?  Emma certainly gives Scott an edge and makes him more interesting to read about (Is his new Utopia stance a result of her influence?  I don’t mean to say I think she’s controlling him.  Not at all.  I just think his tactics are more similar to her Hellfire Club ways).  Cyclops is no fool;  he knows Emma’s past and present peccadillos and still trusts her.  The heart of the ice queen may have melted, but only for Scott.  One wonders if Emma’s reformation would revert without Scott to love her, but perhaps the memory of her dead students (the Hellions and those lost in Genosha) is enough to inspire her to continue leading the remaining mutants left over from M Day.  At the moment, she and Scott are the world’s premier mutant couple and one of the top power couples in the Marvel Universe.  Art by John Cassaday.

Black Panther & Storm

Ororo Iqadi T’Challa, née Munroe (Storm) & T’Challa (Black Panther).  Black Panther is not a mutant and is not a member of the X-Men.  However, since this Sunday is dedicated to Storm, I could not pass this one up.  In an ideal world, Ororo and T’Challa’s relationship would have been given time and story to develop so their marriage could have been more accepted, perhaps even supported, by fandom.  In an ideal world, Storm and the Black Panther would be given equal billing on the cover of a comic to reflect their power couple status of the world, much like Emma and Cyclops are at the moment.  Unfortunately, their marriage is seen as a rush job by some, with some fans feeling that Storm was paired with the Black Panther based on their cultural heritage alone or as a sales stunt.  The fact that their marriage was part of the Civil War crossover demeans their union (Iron Man & Captain America face off on their wedding cover!!!) .

As far as comic canon continuity goes, there isn’t much to base a romance on besides a youthful flirtation and then a retconned mini-series of that adventure of years past.  Nothing was written in the Black Panther or X-Men titles to help me understand why Storm, a leader who has consistently put her mutant tribe before her own desires, suddenly decides to marry a man with a kingdom of responsibilities.  This came at a time when mutants were more vulnerable than ever.  To many fans, it seemed that Storm abandoned her friends, her community and Xavier’s dream all at once, just so she could become the “Bride of the Panther.”   I do think Ororo and T’Challa are compatible.  However, I do not think this is a marriage of equals.  T’Challa is too used to being unanswerable to anyone.  As a patriarchal ruler, his condescending “my lady” outdated chivalrous behavior  treats her more as a figurehead or object.  He needs to recognize that Storm is more than capable of holding her own and that if she helps him fight his battles that makes him no less of a man.  I would hold that the opposite is true.  It takes a strong man to recognize a strong woman can be his teammate and his beloved, and to give her the respect she is due as his equal.  It would also help if writers quit writing them as Beyonce and Jay-Z (No thanks to Reggie Hudlin for creating that out of character meme).  Art by Salvador Larroca.

We’ve learned that the X-Men are a dysfunctional group, especially when it comes to dating.  It’s hard being a superhero and one’s love life certainly takes a beating in the process.  I’ve summarized what I think of a lot of X-Men relationships, and before anyone asks about Husk and Angel (eww!) or Magneto and Rogue (huh?), let me just say that I focused on the couplings that seemed to have the most “screen time.”  I also chose to not feature any human/mutant pairings like Nightcrawler and Amanda Sefton or Archangel and Charlotte Jones.   Out of the couples represented in this post, which do you think still have some life left in them?  Are there some that you were fans of for a while, but then grew tired of?  Do you think it’s odd that the white folks, Southerners, minorities and body-damaged seem to only seriously date each other?  Let me know in the comments and in this poll!

[polldaddy poll=2700080]

Storm Sunday: Simone Bianchi

In celebration of last Wednesday’s debut of Astonishing X-Men #25, Storm Sunday is focusing on the amazing art of Simone Bianchi! Perhaps you were one of the many who were reading Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s run on Astonishing X-Men (#1 through #24 & ending with Giant Size Astonishing X-Men #1) and were a bit uncertain on how the new team of Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi would fare on the title? Well, worry no longer! I am pleased to say that I found myself enjoying the issue quite a bit in spite of some reservations I had (I still remember the excruciatingly painful Storm mini-series in 1996 also penned by Ellis). 
 
Ellis’ script is tight, setting up characterization and a little bit of plot.  He has a lot to introduce to the new reader as much has changed for Marvel’s mutants.  The X-Men have a new headquarters in San Francisco (Yay!), a new status quo as an endangered species and new member Armor (Whom I’ve yet to warm up to).  Ellis moves it all along nicely while giving Bianchi room to make his mark on the  book.  I recommend you give the new issue a try and see for yourself.

 

As is the perogative of any artist relaunching a title under their pencil, Bianchi redesigned all of the costumes of the Astonishing house cast. I’ve posted Storm’s sketch below. For more of Bianchi’s designs including Cyclops, Wolverine, Angel, Emma Frost, Nightcrawler, Beast, Colossus and Dazzler go here. What to make of all of the beads and bangles going on in this ornate ensemble?  Is it too much?  How does Storm’s tiara stay on when it’s floating in front of her face like that?  When did she start wearing jewels on her third eye?  What possesses Storm to carry around yards of fabric as a cape but still choose to wear butt floss?   And what exactly is that striped mess at her crotch and at her knees?  Would anyone really wear scrunchy 80s boots over top of their thigh boots? 
 
*Whew*  Those are the main questions I find myself thinking about when I stare at this new costume.  It’s a far cry from the simplified elegance of her Alan Davis-designed costume, that’s for sure, but did the lightning edged cape and unitard really suit a Queen?  I mean, Storm’s a superhero but she’s also representing a country now.  Shouldn’t she be dressing like it?  That said, I really appreciate Bianchi incorporating some of Storm’s classic costume elements (the tiara, the O ring on her stomach) while creating a more dramatic look.  It’s busy, perhaps even overwrought, but I appreciate the intention behind it.  I’d rather Storm be presented in over the top regalia than look like plain window dressing (like in the pages of *cough* Black Panther *cough*).
 
Costume nitpicking aside, I really enjoy how Bianchi draws Storm as a woman.  She feels like a real person to me.  Heck, she even looks African!  Sometimes the art feels a bit heavy and dark, but the characters really have weight on the pages.  Bianchi makes each person feel three dimensional, all the way to the seams in Storm’s gloves. 

This older piece by Bianchi shows Storm in a more traditional costume.  Well, if you consider women in bathing suits with thigh boots and evening gloves as traditional, and in comics, yeah, that is traditional.  Is it better than the newer one with all the bangles?  I’m not sure.  I do think that Storm is more complicated as a character than she ever has been before and that her new costume represents the many facets of her personality as well as the many roles she has to play in the Marvel Universe.  I’m curious to see how other artists will translate Bianchi’s design in their drawings of Storm in Uncanny X-Men and Black Panther.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén