Saturday, February 18, 2012

The eye of the Storm

After reading both the Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past I was very struck by the development of Storm's character. Throughout the Dark Phoenix Saga she was kind, charismatic, and loyal. She became friends with Kitty Pryde right away in the Icecream shop, she was genuinely worried when Jean Grey became the Dark Phoenix, and her fighting tactics were always defensive, and well thought out. She did not deliberately kill or hurt her enemies, but rather used her control of the elements to escape them, or get herself and the other X-men out of direct harm. However, during Days of Future Past Storm had become darker, she had become broken, to the point were she no longer had inhibitions or control of her anger. She started killing her enemies and no longer regretted it.
One of her redeeming qualities during Days of Future Past however, was that she had become the leader of the X-men. I found this inspiring and empowering. She asserted her leadership, reminding Wolverine to trust her, as she was the leader now, not Cyclops. She was the alpha-FEmale, empowering women and girls with her role. Not only this, but she was one of the first prominent black characters in comic history, the first female black character too.
This made me want to do more research on Storm, to find out more about her later role in the X-men. While she does remain leader of the X-men, and even stands up to Cyclops when he finally returns, I have to say I was disappointed with what I saw. I'm not talking about her character change, I'm talking about her costume change. Now, I know in the Dark Phoenix Saga Storm's outfit is already skin tight, revealing, and has much sex appeal. And even after she's captured by the White Queen, she is tied up in a very provocative way, but as discussed in class, there was something special about Storm. She never seemed to be overly sexy, or objectified. She had an air of royalty and charisma that made me look past the costume and see a genuine character.
The images I found were disappointing. Yes, some of them still show her as a strong, independent woman, but again the costumes are too much. They made me take a step back and reevaluate the inspiring woman I thought she was. Costumes are supposed to be a symbol of the superheroine. They are supposed to be the first thing you see, and tell you exactly who you're looking at. What they're not supposed to do is take away good qualities from a character. They aren't supposed to make me appreciate Storm less than before. What I'm referring to is the difference between these two images.

These differences, though subtle, make a big impact in my opinion. The high cut leotard, and the massive amount of cleavage, detract from her appeal in my eyes. Yes, it has more sex appeal, but that's not the point for comic books. The point is to show the characters as strong and powerful, not as the next playboy bunny. It troubles me that as time goes on, a superheroine's costume becomes more and more revealing. This along with other female role models and images only fuels society's pressure for young women. If we keep on the path of fashion trends that we are on already, in 20 years we'll all be walking around naked, or very close to it. There comes a point when costume updates go too far for superheroines, and sadly, for many that point has long been reached.

Images take from:


  1. I agree that the change in Storm’s outfit does make me think less of her character. It especially makes her seem less regal and more objectified. She did seem independent and empowering to me as well, and I agree that her new outfit takes some of this away. Instead, they make her come across as less like a leader. I even think that the image on the left makes her look almost like a villain because of both her outfit and the lightning coming out of her eyes, compared to the one on the right where she seems to be more respectable. The change in outfit seems to detract from the nobility that she had early on.

  2. I agree with the previous comment and the post itself, this costume change detracts completely from the royal aura that Storm lets off of herself. I have always believed, and I have always been taught, that one should dress more modest if they are in a position of power for one can not be taken seriously if they're dressed provocatively. I do understand that Storm is a superheroine and should not be held to the same standards as a normal person, but I do feel as though the artists are intentionally adding to her sex appeal and I, as a reader, feel that this change is not a positive one, but rather completely takes away from her high authority power.


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