Ororo Munroe, aka Storm, has had some pretty interesting relationships and flings in her life — nothing out of the ordinary for a superhero. She’s been linked with some of her fellow X-Men, including Wolverine, Forge, and Gambit to name a few. She has also captured the attention of Thor, Dr. Doom, and, at one point, Dracula. Her most notable and well-known relationship was with the king of Wakanda, T’Challa, the Black Panther. Storm could really be the Tiffany Pollard of the Marvel universe if there was ever an I Love Storm comic series (a la I Love New York). All of those relationships have been special in their own way, but her most impactful encounter would be more akin to a one night stand. Storm meets Yukio at one of the most important times for her character arc as she transitioned into the iconic mohawk Storm phase. While their encounter was brief, Yukio undoubtedly had a huge impact on Storm.
Storm had been dealing with a rising inner conflict before the X-Men arrived in Japan for Logan’s wedding — where she meets Yukio. Leading up to the wedding, Storm was dealing with tremendous self-doubt. She didn’t know who she was or what purpose she served the world or even herself, and she never truly had a grasp of either, to begin with. She was a very young child when her parents were killed, forcing her to grow up quickly for her own survival. Storm’s childhood was virtually nonexistent. She killed in self-defense at a young age and swore off taking another life thereafter. It’s not until the X-Men’s encounter with the Brood Queen in Uncanny X-Men #167 that she begins to truly question her ability to stay true to her own personal oath.
On top of everything else, Storm is also dealing with feelings of rejection. When Kitty Pryde awakes after being knocked unconscious, she’s elated to see Peter and Illyana. Kitty’s reaction to them makes Storm feel alone, abandoned even. Her response is extreme, and even she’s aware of how ridiculous it is to feel the way she does. Those feelings of rejection and abandonment are magnified due to Storm’s assuming a motherly role in Kitty’s life, perhaps her way of dealing with Jean Grey’s untimely death. Kitty joined the X-Men shortly after and Storm instantly took to her, growing in her a deep affection for Kitty, which Kitty returned.
As things continue to change for Storm, so does her handle on who she is and what she wants. She begins questioning her moral code shortly after returning from space with the rest of the X-Men, and her emotions begin affecting her powers. The situation escalates even further when she leads the X-Men to save Angel, who had been kidnapped by the Murlock leader Callisto. Storm almost kills Callisto by stabbing her right through the heart, shocking both Nightcrawler and Colossus with actions that were so unlike the Storm they thought they knew.
Things finally come to a head after Charles Xavier makes Rogue an X-Men despite her torrid past with them and the way she harmed Carol Danvers. Carol, of course, is not in support of what Charles has done and leaves the X-Men. The entire ordeal, from Rogue’s arrival to Carol’s departure, has Storm ready to finally figure out if she will remain an X-Men or go back to the life she lived prior to Xavier showing up. She even finally admits to some resentment she’s been holding against Charles for bringing her into a life she isn’t even sure she wants. Regardless of her choice, Storm understands she is no longer the woman she once thought she was.
Yukio is the person who finally helps Storm feel at ease with rebelling against who she and others believe she’s supposed to be. When Storm meets her after saving her life, Yukio is exhilarated and enthralled by the near-death experience. This reaction intrigues Storm — and honestly, might have turned her on a little. Yukio is having fun living so dangerously, a luxury Storm was not afforded from the moment her powers first manifested. Her top priority had been keeping herself alive while she lived on the street and then ensuring the safety of others. Her powers require a level of serenity because her emotions have an effect on her ability to control them.
Storm and Yukio spend the night trying to stay alive, but it’s one of the best things that could have happened to Storm as a character. Yukio’s uncaring and light-hearted demeanor in the face of certain death encourages Storm to embrace uncertainty and relish the moment. You only live once and Storm finally does so thanks to Yukio, using her powers deliberately to cause her attackers pain — and she enjoys it.
As they fight for their lives, Yukio’s presence creates a space for Storm to be okay with embracing this new woman she was becoming, a space she was not afforded under the direction of Charles Xavier. She’d gone from an orphan trying to survive to becoming a member of the X-Men, with no middle ground in between. She’d also never truly addressed her trauma, instead choosing to adopt a life as a superhero and letting that be her identity, never figuring out who she was or wanted to be outside of an X-Men or a goddess to non-mutants. Yukio was the final push Storm needed to embrace Ororo Munroe, both the goddess and the X-Man — but also Storm the rebel.
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