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X-Men: Gold – Storm Approaching

The venerable X-Man takes center stage as war rages on around her!

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When you have a team rich with strong characters like the X-Men Gold roster, it can be a challenge to make sure everyone gets the spotlight. For writer Marc Guggenheim, Storm has become a character he felt he had not quite given enough big moments to. He set out to change all that this January 17 with X-MEN: GOLD #20.

We found him studying the barometric pressure, but thankfully spared a moment or two to rain down answers upon us.

Marvel.com: When we spoke at the start of the “Negative Zone War,” one aspect of personal disappointment you brought up was not really having given Storm a big moment in the run yet. We were focused on other things so I didn’t really explore that with you, but for you as a writer, what makes a big signature moment for the character? How do you “know” when you’ve achieved that?

Marc Guggenheim: Well, I don’t think I ever really know when I’ve achieved anything. For the most part, I leave that up to the readers to decide. That said, GOLD #20 has a couple of nice moments where Ororo has to really dig down deep and demonstrate just how tough she is. She has real steel inside of her and it’s nice to be able to write to it. In #20, she channels her inner Wolverine to—I hope—great effect.

Marvel.com: It was also clear from that brief moment that you have a lot of affection for Storm as a character. What has made her so a great and enduring, in your opinion? Why did you need her on your team?

Marc Guggenheim: Everyone’s mileage will vary, but for me, it’s all about tapping into that inner strength I was talking about. Ororo has been through so, so much over the years. There’s an argument to be made that she’s been through more [expletive] than any other X-Man  She’s lost her powers. She’s regained her powers. She’s been the team leader a few times. She’s had to fight for that position. She’s been married. She’s been divorced. She’s been worshipped as a god and lived in squalor as a child. She has a really, really rich backstory and history.

I guess that’s why I always—always—feel like I’m not doing that character justice. There’s so much to play with there and I feel like I’m always falling short.

There’s a storyline that was part of my original pitch for GOLD, which I still haven’t had the opportunity to do yet. But fingers crossed, someday.

X-Men: Gold #20 cover by Ken Lashley

Marvel.com: At the time of the above-mentioned statement, you noted that those moments would be coming for Storm around #20 and #21. Obviously, without spoiling things, what made the Negative Zone War or just the state of the team at this juncture the right time for Storm to really spring to the forefront?

Marc Guggenheim: Without spoiling things, the team ends up on an alien world in #20 [that] has a weather system that she can’t control. That impediment—and the team’s dire circumstances—force her to rely on that inner strength I’ve been talking about rather than her powers. It really becomes up to Ororo to get the team out of their predicament.

Marvel.com: How did artist Lan Medina help you to realize your vision of an X-Team that has achieved victory but might have expended everything they had left in their tank to do so?

Marc Guggenheim: Simply put: Wide shots. Lan did a great job at very key moments of keeping “the camera” really wide so that we’re constantly selling the scope of this alien world.  For the story to work—for the stakes to maintain—the planet which is trying to kill the X-Men has to be wide and vast and without any resources [the Gold team] can use to their advantage.  The look of the planet is critical to the story I was telling and Lan pulls it off wonderfully.

Marvel.com: To focus on the wider team, the plot description implies their victory maybe a Pyrrhic one. Given what they have gone through as of late and the brutality of this latest storyline, where are they looking for strength? Who or what might give them the mental and physical last push to “survive” their win in the Negative Zone?

Marc Guggenheim: One of my all-time favorite X-Men stories—believe it or not—was X-MEN UNLIMITED #1, written by Scott Lobdell. I wanted to place the X-Men in a similar position, where the plot is brutally simplistic: survive. The result is one of my favorite issues of GOLD so far—but, like I said, I leave it up to the readers to decide.

Marc Guggenheim and Lan Medina’s X-MEN: GOLD #20 storms your way on January 17!