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X-Men: Storm's Biggest Weakness Has A Tragic Marvel History

Most superheroes have a major weakness to combat their powers and make even the mightiest characters vulnerable. There are those that are bizarre, such as Green Lantern's weakness against the color yellow, Power Girl being weak versus any raw unprocessed natural material, and Iron Man formerly needing to charge his suit. Some weaknesses, including Superman's aversion to magic and kryptonite, make god-like figures seem human for a brief amount of time. However, one of the more tragic vulnerabilities is Storm's struggle with claustrophobia, making the incredibly powerful mutant shut down in certain situations. 

Storm's weather-manipulating powers are largely unrivaled by her fellow heroes and mutants. As an Omega-Level Mutant, Storm's powers don't have an upper limit, meaning her true potential is not quantifiable or capable of being registered. As a result, her Omega-Level Mutant status puts her in an impressive group including Iceman, Hope Summers, Magneto, Legion, Kid Omega, and Jean Grey. Those mutants still have their own range of weaknesses, even Storm, as overusing her abilities can cause major exhaustion. But, despite being able to control and bend weather to her will, she struggles greatly with being stuck in confined spaces, which is directly tied to the death of her parents.

Storm's tragic past led to her major weakness

In the comics and on the small screen, Storm's claustrophobia has been featured as one of the fan-favorite hero's core struggles.

The first mention of Storm's claustrophobia comes in "X-Men" #101 (by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, Frank Chiaramonte, John Costanza, and Bonnie Wilford). In the story, amidst a confrontation with Juggernaut and Black Tom Cassidy, the saying of the word "tomb" sends Storm spinning (much to the confusion of her teammates), as she struggles to breathe while thinking about the confined space. Storm calls out for her mother, sobbing uncontrollably, and the next issue reveals why she's so upset. When Storm was a child in Egypt during the Suez War, her home was destroyed by a downed fighter aircraft, leaving her stuck under the rubble with her dead family nearby. The trauma from the event continues to impact Storm in future stories.

The traumatic weakness is adapted on the "X-Men: The Animated Series" episode "Captive Hearts," where the X-Men train inside the Danger Room. As the walls begin to close around them, Storm starts to panic as she tries to stop it, as she has flashbacks of her childhood and rubble piling up around her. Crying and screaming, Storm eventually passes out as her powers stop the threat. When she awakens, she questions how she can lead the team while struggling with claustrophobia. However, Professor Xavier dismisses the concern, telling her she might have no choice but be forced to confront it when put in a perilous situation.

Did Storm ever overcome the weakness?

Storm continues to struggle with claustrophobia, but in "X-Men" #169 (by Chris Claremont, Paul Smith, Bob Wiacek, Bob Sharen, and Tom Orzechowski), she reveals she's worked to deal with her fears. As the X-Men travel through tunnels, Colossus asks Storm is she's doing okay as they navigate through the tight space. Storm tells the team that while her claustrophobia still exists, it's under control as she leads the team throughout the confined area. 

Future Storm stories show how she's put in effort to overcome her trauma. In "Uncanny X-Men" #490 (by Ed Brubaker, Salvador Larroca, Jason Keith, and Joe Caramagna), Storm is buried alive. When she emerges, she tells her captors that she doesn't like confined spaces, but all that trapping her did was make her mad, as she appears significantly less threatened by the incident. In today's comics, where Storm about to star in her own upcoming title with a new costume, her claustrophobia doesn't impact her nearly at the same level as it once did. But, her fears, rooted to her traumatic childhood, are a great reminder that even the most divine, god-like figures still struggle with some very human problems. Storm may never fully get over what happened to her, although she's clearly made strides in letting it affect her.

To read more about the powerful mutant, check out Storm's entire backstory explained.