Growing up, the only comic book heroine I mostly identified with was the brilliant Ororo Munroe. She was the first black superhero I saw when I was growing up thanks to the animated X-Men series being shown on Fox Kids after school. *cue the theme music*
That led me to become an avid X-Men comic book collecter, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
And yet, the movie portrayals of her so far have been lacklustre in my opinion. In the comics, she’s a strong leader, a warrior, intelligent and sensitive, cunning and opinionated….but in the films, she’s been shown as having almost no personality and can only fling lightening bolts, or make it slightly windy.
The coolest thing she ever did was in X-Men 2 where she made all those tornadoes appear to fend off the US airforce chasing The Blackbird Jet: Here
THAT MOMENT WAS SICK….But as soon as that happened, they immediately went back to making her so quiet and reserved that she hardly did anything, and that saddens me so much.
Yes there have been some points in the comics where I’ve disagreed with her character development but overall, mohawk and 90s Storm are my ultimate favourite renditions of this icon character.
Then there’s Misty Knight from Luke Cage.
Being honest, I’d only known about her fairly recently due to the show more than the comics. I had seen images of a badass black female cop…with a metal arm…and thought “Fuck yes, afro cyborg woman!!!
Then after seeing Simone Missick’s portayal of Misty Knight in Luke Cage, I was blown anyway and felt even more empowered.
What a time to be alive! All these beautiful black people from the comics are being portrayed by great actors on TV and Film really well! I still have faith and look forward to seeing a much better portrayal of Storm from the MCU whenever they decide to retcon the X-Men Universe…
But you three… Okoye, Nakia and Shuri… My god…
To see you 3 running things in Black Panther with such grace, strength and intelligence literally made me lose my shit.
I feel like I’ve rambled long enough but to put it simply;
For a dark skinned young woman who has been struggling to feel like she and her fellow sisters were being represented on screen as characters more than comic relief or other stereotypical tropes history has associated with WOC, especially black women…
Seeing you 3 on the big screen being so beautiful and dynamic made me feel even prouder of the followng:
- Myself, my own spirit and my own sense of self as well.
- My own prowess and drive
- My own unique beauty and personality (because they are as unique and individual as humans are – that’s a lesson I keep learning)
- My family and our heritage.
- Our people’s versatility
- Our amazing natural hair
- Our collective heritage
- Our collective dynamic strength
The empowerment levels in this movie, both silently symbolic and obvious, are off the scale. It finally shows women (irrespective of them being comic book characters) having depth, motives, and just being so much more multifaceted instead of just being “the love interest” or simply being there to please the audience in some way (like comic relief or the token *insert an ethnically diverse character here* so the studio can tick that box, or whatever).
Thank you for reminding me once again that my blackness and uniqueness is beautiful, special and badass.
When the time comes to choose a cosplay costume, I’m really going to struggle now. Before it was between Storm, Misty Knight and Zoe from Firefly…and I’m so fucking happy that the list is growing.
Love from NikNak.
PS: Bring on Black Panther 2!