Saturday, May 25, 2024

Women of Wonder! May 2024: Storm X-Men '97

April showers bring forth May thunder and lightning, heed the call of Storm! Click the link as Diary of a Dorkette checks in on the Mistress of the Elements: Ororo Monroe aka Storm.

Unless you've been living under a rock, it is difficult to avoid hearing about the recent X-Men '97 series on Disney Plus. A continuation of the beloved '90s show, X-Men '97 has proven to do what the X-Men films tried to accomplish and never quite could; adapt comic accurate stories on screen in a seamless and emotionally engrossing way. Say what you want about pacing or character development, but X-Men '97 felt so true to its original source. This series has the kind of energy I'd love to see in a live action X-Men film.  

I was in from the beginning, and the first episode did not disappoint. But it was the second episode, and the emotional fate that fell upon Storm, that made me realize this wasn't just about nostalgia for a cartoon from the '90s. This show was here to elevate the rich history of the X-Men in a way that was pushing these characters and their stories into a familiar yet new and dynamic direction. I have cried, jumped up and down, held my mouth in shock; unable to breathe because I don't know what the heck was gonna happen next... I never skip the opening credits and my crazy behind is always dancing and busting out my super hero poses as the opening song and team roster splash across the screen. The show has simply been everything.

Storm is one of those characters that I have always looked up to. While I am able to see traits of myself in characters like Rogue or Jean, Storm is like Wonder Woman for me. I love both of those characters so much, because I want to aspire to be as regal and noble as they are. Their strength and wisdom make them perfect in a way that they become such beacons of hope. Not unlike how some see Captain America or Superman. 

Some people might forget, but the X-Men had a lot of us in a chokehold in the '90s. The comics, animated series, and toy line ruled so much. That property was so popular that Fox was even willing to take a gamble on a live action Generation X made for tv movie that didn't quite get the chance to become the series it hoped to be. 

Wolverine may have been the most popular, but so many people knew about the whole team and everyone had their favorite. It was still a time where collecting toys and reading comics was not "in" or "cool" but even those who weren't dorks were aware of the X-Men.

Storm was the first figure I got from the original wave by Toy Biz. Much like when I was younger and had my Super Powers Wonder Woman or She-Ra, I took Storm with me wherever I went. I was around 9 or 10, so it was a lil frowned upon that I was still bringing an action figure with me on my travels. I didn't care. Storm was everything. 

As the years went on, Toy Biz (and then eventually Hasbro) would keep on making one cool Storm figure after the next. I remember in the summer after 9th grade there was a Storm figure by Toy Biz, it was the Water Wars line, that was hitting stores. (I was always calling toy stores and asking which items they had in stock. I was that annoying person. Had the Toysrus numbers in my area memorized) That summer I wasn't at an age to drive so I asked my dad to take me to Toysrus first thing in the morning to get her. I even declined plans with friends so that I wouldn't miss that trip. Walking with a brisk pace to the action figure aisle, I was so thrilled that she was still on the shelf. Relieved too.

As a figure, Storm just gets better and better. I love that Marvel Legends doesn't shy away from making a variety of Storm figures in her various suits. Toy design has come such a long way, and I am glad I have been here to witness many changes in her design.

Storm also had a really great arc in this new series. Alison Sealy-Smith returned with her iconic voice to breathe more life into the weather goddess. Alison's version of Storm commands every scene, her tone and dialogue, it is simply perfection and has not changed a bit. This is probably my favorite version of Storm from a scripted show. (I loved both live action Storms, but the problem with the films has always been a slight misstep to who this character is, which is no fault of the actresses portraying Storm and more so the creative direction of the films.)

One final piece I want to share has everything to do with this '97 ML figure. This new Storm is pinless, which is great. Joints are tighter, plastic feels sturdier, and previous Storm heads can snap on to this new buck, which solves the problem of some earlier ML versions where legs would bend outwards too much due to weak plastic or just be incredibly wobbly at the knees.

With all these details and so much excitement with the first season of X-Men '97 wrapped up, it was a no brainer for Storm to be the top spot for May. I had so much fun taking these photos and thinking about Storm and the new show. Ready for what comes next!

What do you think? Did you watch X-Men '97? Have you been collecting the new figures? Let me know, and be back in June for an all new Women of Wonder!

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