“X-Men '97” is poised to adapt a big Storm, Forge comic book arc

Here's what that character appearance in the last moment of episode 3 means for the show moving forward.

Warning: This article contains spoilers from X-Men '97 episode 3, "Fire Made Flesh."

Hope is not lost for the Mistress of the Elements after a tragic turn for the character.

The second episode of X-Men '97 saw Storm (voiced by Alison Sealy-Smith) lose her Omega-level mutant powers to control the weather after she was hit with a specifically engineered blaster that fired concentrated radiation beams from the terrorist known as the X-Cutioner. One of the most powerful characters in X-Men canon was made helpless as she desperately put out her hand to caress a breeze she could no longer feel, and for the first time since she was a child, she became spooked by a lightning strike.

Storm proceeded to leave the X-Men behind and grieve the loss of her powers alone, but episode 3, titled "Fire Made Flesh," changed things up for her.

<p>Marvel Animation</p> Storm (voiced by Alison Sealy-Smith) in 'X-Men '97'

Marvel Animation

Storm (voiced by Alison Sealy-Smith) in 'X-Men '97'

While most of the core heroes were busy dealing with Madelyne Prior, the Jean Grey clone who's been secretly living with them for... only Mister Sinister knows how long, Storm is seen drinking away her sorrows in a bar in Texas. Then in walks Forge (voiced by Gil Birmingham). The familiar face, who's both a mutant and sorcerer taught by the Cheyenne tribe, arrives to let Storm know he can help her.

Some X-Men fans with familiarity with the comics have suspected where Storm's journey might lead her after the events of episode 2, but episode 3 now confirms it: X-Men '97 is about to tackle an adaptation of Lifedeath.

Written by Chris Claremont and the comic book's artist Barry Windsor-Smith, the Lifedeath arc, first published in 1984, saw Storm attacked by a weapon that stripped her of her powers — which clearly mirrors the events of X-Men '97 so far. Forge takes her in and the two bond over their respective losses; Forge lost some of his limbs and, with the help of his mutant ability to instantly understand how mechanical devices work, gave himself artificial appendages.

<p>Marvel Comics</p> The cover of Marvel Comics' 1984 issue 'Lifedeath'

Marvel Comics

The cover of Marvel Comics' 1984 issue 'Lifedeath'

The storyline gets pretty serious, as both mutants contemplate suicide. They eventually find love with each other, but it's later revealed that Forge built the very weapon that took Storm's powers, and she leaves again to wander on her own. Lifedeath II was a continuation of that comic, released in 1985. Storm returns to Africa, where she learns to accept the loss of her powers.

X-Men '97 has already signaled that an adaptation of this storyline is in the works for season 1. Episode 4 (on Disney+ April 3) is titled "Motendo/Lifedeath — Part 1," while episode 6 (on Disney+ April 17) is titled "Lifedeath — Part 2." The subject matter aligns well with what season 1 showrunner Beau DeMayo planned for the show, prior to his unceremonious firing from the series.

“It’s always interesting to take Xavier’s dream and turn it on its head,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “When I first came to this, I was thinking about what the world of the '90s was like, even issues of social acceptance and what does it mean to be different? It was so much more simplistic than it is today. [The X-Men] spent years telling humanity to embrace the future, walk into the future together. What happens when they get hit with a future they didn't see coming? What does it feel like to be on the other end when you feel like that future is leaving you behind?”

Storm eventually does get her powers back in the comics, but will she in X-Men '97? If so, when? Season 2 is already in the works, so perhaps there's a bigger plan in place for one of the most revered Marvel characters.

New episodes of X-Men '97 premiere every Wednesday on Disney+.

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