Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Kitty Pryde

With "Kitty Pryde: Shadow and Flame" having come out this past week, I'm taking a look back at the Kitty Pryde that I fell in love with. I have to reiterate that Kitty means a lot to me personally, as she's the reason I got into comics. When I was around eleven, I began collecting Marvel Universe (series one) trading cards because some of the other kids on the street were doing so. I saw Shadowcat's card and immediately fell in love with this pretty girl holding her purple dragon. I soon discovered that she was part of this superhero spin-off team named "Excalibur," and I tracked down every issue of the series, falling deeper in love with this smart, opinionated, normal girl from Chicago. I loved her temper, her naivety, her tenderness...and such feelings have remained to the present day. I went back and bought the issue of "Uncanny X-Men" where she originally joined the team and read some of my favorite "X-Men" stories like "The Dark Phoenix Saga (her first appearance)" and "Days of Future Past." Everything new I read just added to my affection until there was no going back. I soon got around to stories of Kitty from "Uncanny" where she discovered her cute dragon Lockheed among the Brood, where he stole away with her and became her constant companion (well, except for at the end of Excalibur where he kind of just...wasn't there). I read "The Demon," where Kitty demolishes the mansion when she'd been left there alone on Christmas and a demon attacks her, and there were classic moments like warding off Dracula with a star of David. I wish everyone could have experienced the character's growth through these adventures. It wasn't until "Kitty Pryde and Wolverine," the mini-series spun out of "Uncanny X-Men" that Kitty had her first real spotlight. There, she met with a demon in Japan named Ogun who possessed her and bequeathed ninja knowledge unto her until she battled Wolverine and expunged the demon. He is probably considered her greatest enemy, although Joss Whedon so expertly pointed out in "Astonishing X-Men's" debut issue that the White Queen of the Hellfire Club (Emma Frost) was the first villain she ever encountered and stood for evil in her eyes. I almost think that Sat-yr-9 from "Excalibur" is her ultimate villain, as the alternate reality version of Courtney Ross replaced the real one of our Earth and continued to be a mother figure to Kitty until she revealed the switcheroo and attacked the team well into the series. It was devastating. Kind of confusing to hear about, but devastating. Speaking of devastated, I was such when "Excalibur" was finally cancelled at issue #125 (I won't even mention the atrocious attempts at revitalizing that series that have occurred since). Other mini-series adventures that Kitty had been on were "Pryde & Wisdom," an X-Filesish adventure with her then-boyfriend Pete Wisdom, "Kitty Pryde: Agent of SHIELD" with Ogun resurfacing, and "MechaniX," a total screw-up of the character by Clairmont. Since then, Kitty has had some tough losses. Moira MacTaggert (a mentor), Illyana (her closest friend), and Colossus (her first and true love) all died in the past decade (isn't it a little strange that Colossus, Illyana and Darkstar were killed off in quick succession - all Russian superheros?). Anyways, Joss Whedon revitalized the character with "Astonishing X-Men," true to the character and making her lines sharp and perfect as ever. She is understood thoroughly by Whedon and depicted in a manner that reminds me of why I fell in love with the character in the first place. (And such attenion bringing about a few busts to snatch up, plenty of wonderful Kitty comics and a role in X3 is a great consequence.) The new mini-series "Kitty Pryde: Shadow and Flame" just debuted and I hate to say much about it after one issue, but I can't help but appreciate the focus on Kitty's relationship with Lockheed, and bringing her back to Japan and Ogun with ninja action ala "Kitty Pryde and Wolverine." I love the art of Paul Smith and definitely think fans of the character will enjoy it. I'll do a full review after the final issue comes out, but as it is, I am pleased. Long live Kitty!! (Or Sprite or Ariel or Shadowcat...)


Scoffie Mariz said...

Hi did you know what is going on with Kitty Pryde since the last Astonishing number??

Dave Ferraro said...

Nothing, as far as I know...But I'm glad to see Marvel making Kitty prominent in their books that take place in the past like "Wolverine: First Class" and "X-Men Forever."