Nerd Factor: Weather or Not

Dr. Mike ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

An old saying goes– everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Unless you live in the Marvel Universe. There, some superheroes like Thor and Storm can and often do control atmospheric conditions. It must be strange to live in a world where weather control exists. 

Unsurprisingly, weather is usually a weapon for Thor. As the Norse God of Thunder, Thor will summon down lightning and let loose terrible storms to smite his enemies. Thor prefers clonking his foes with his mighty hammer Mjolnir. The thunder and lightning arrive when Thor faces a particularly dangerous opponent that provokes his anger or frustration. These downbursts pummel monsters and drive down armies.

While not quite as powerful as Thor, Storm has a greater range of weather control. All forms of weather are hers to manipulate. Storm will often use thunderstorms in battle too, but she can also create blizzards to freeze her foes or fog to obscure the movements of her X-Men teammates. While technically not a god in the sense that Thor is, Storm was regarded as a goddess in her younger days. Storm’s powers are directly linked to her emotions. A bad mood could unintentionally lead to a thunderstorm. A good mood could mean a beautiful day. For many years in the X-Men comics, the need for Storm to control her moods frustrated her. This was also a thematic representation of her move from Africa to the United States. Storm often longed to return to the free spirit days of her time living in Kenya (these days she is Queen of Mars, but that’s a different story altogether).

Every real-world meteorologist has some funny and frustrating stories about how the public actually blames them for the weather, like it’s the forecasters’ fault that it rained on a picnic. In the Marvel Universe though, there really is someone to blame. 

Did your basement flood because of a terrible downpour? “Thor, you jerk! Was it really necessary to fight the monstrous Fin Fang Foom like that?” 

Did you miss the ballgame because it was rained out? “Thanks a lot Storm! These schedules are published in advance. Maybe next time you and your friends take on the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants you could do it during an away game day?”

The average Marvel Universe person probably does not even know when weather is happening naturally or because of superpowered influences. I have always loved the slow arrival of a thunderstorm in the summer, that sense of the energy in the air. Anybody living in this fictional world must also wonder what superhero battle is coming their way. 

Does that oncoming storm mean a big fight with the Sentinels or the Masters of Evil is also rolling into the neighborhood? Meteorologists in the Marvel Universe probably have to issue watches and warnings about superhero activity: “Well, if you look closely at the radar here, you’ll see a lot of magnetic interference in the area of this thunderstorm over Westchester County, specifically in this storm cell near Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. The weather service has issued a Magneto Watch. Folks in our viewing area should head to their plastic shelters right now!”

There must also be a terrible temptation to bribe these heroes as well. Got a wedding day coming up? Or a graduation? Try to find Storm and see what it costs to make a sunshine day. 

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