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How Does Chris Claremont's 1984 KITTY PRYDE AND WOLVERINE Hold Up Today?

We crack open one of Kitty Pryde's earlier appearances to determine whether the story is still relevant and whether this young Kitty is similar to the character we see today.

The current WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN title is one of my favorite ongoing series at the moment, and it's a book that really made me appreciate Kitty Pryde's character. She's sweet, kind and a little bit sassy, and she's unique. But the character she is in Jason Aaron's ongoing series is remarkably different from the character we saw in one of her earlier appearances, KITTY PRYDE AND WOLVERINE.

I decided to look at both series -- one of her first and one of her most recent -- in order to see how (and if) the character has evolved, and whether the story holds up today.

Kitty is first introduced as a gawky, skinny little kid who is just living her simple life in Deerfield, Illinois before she reveals that she discovered she was a mutant from a young age. It's a great introduction to her character in the very first page of the series' first issue -- even if it is a little bit wordy (executed in true Chris Claremont fashion). I think one of the things I immediately liked about this series is the fact that Claremont lays Kitty's insecurities out really plainly -- even though she is an X-Man, and is a "bona-fide superhero" who saves lives and kicks butt; she was unable to save her parents' marriage. It's an issue that so many kids deal with and really feel helpless about, which is unfortunate, but it essentially makes her a really relatable character.

== TEASER ==
WOLVERINE AND KITTY PRYDE #1

Kitty's protective instinct is evident here in the way that she reacts to an attack on her father; and its something that continues to resonate as a personality trait of Kitty's. At the very start of the first part of this series Kitty barges in on a violent conversation between a group of businessmen who recently purchased Kitty's father's bank from him.

I think anyone that saw his or her parents go through a divorce or separation would begin to feel insecure about their situation. Couple that with seeing one of your parents being bullied into possibly making a decision that goes against their convictions and morals -- that's pretty heavy stuff. The important thing to note here is that although Claremont writes the series in a way that is really easy for people to understand, I think it's important to note that he (Claremont) deals with a lot of heavy issues (divorce, insecurities about parents and one's financial situation) that a lot of kids grow up having to deal with. Depicting a young, teenage Kitty Pryde being forced to deal with serious issues like this really makes her a relatable character. But in this issue alone, Kitty goes from harboring those feelings of insecurities to really coming into her own; to becoming this smart, secure and more adult girl who takes on the identity of "Shadowcat." In the fifth issue of KITTY PRYDE AND WOLVERINE, Pryde really comes to terms with who she is and the way her decisions have shaped her. In this series alone, she really evolves as a character.

Claremont also begins to mold Kitty as a compassionate character. In the final issue of KITTY PRYDE AND WOLVERINE we see Kitty being tested by her mentor. He questions whether or not she is willing to kill. Looking beyond the fact that Wolverine has come a long way (UNCANNY X-FORCE, anyone?) it's still interesting to see this teacher and student scene here. It's also good to note that to note her final decision: she is unable to kill her torturer even after being given a clear shot. I think that's indicative of the character she is even to this day. This scene, I think, really holds up. In fact, we still see moments just like this in comics where a mentor challenges and questions the actions of his or her student all the time.

KITTY PRYDE AND WOLVERINE #6

Kitty is a character that cares, and as a result of her compassion, she sometimes places herself in sticky situations. That's not something that has really changed. In order to be a leader and teacher of young mutants,you have to have a certain level of compassion. I think those qualities we saw in Kitty back in the 1980's when this series was first released, certainly appear here as well. Today, Kitty Pryde is the Headmistress of Wolverine's School where she teaches, guides and nurtures children in her own way -- but not without her clever quips and some snarky remarks.

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #6

Briefly going back to the panel where Wolverine tests Kitty Pryde, I think this is one of the most important scenes in the entire issue. Not only was this a great moment in Kitty's history as a character, but it's also a perfect representation of the friendship and relationship that blossoms between Kitty Pryde and Wolverine's character. There is no question that these two have a long history. They are close friends and share a powerful and mutually respectful relationship -- I think that's important to note. Wolverine was her guide and mentor for years, and that's something that you can still see to this day. Although comic book characters don't age much, it's safe to say that Kitty has matured. As a result she's also taken on leadership responsibilities and, in a sense, begun to follow in the steps of Wolverine as a teacher in her own respect.

It's neat to see a character evolve in this way; going from student to teacher and dealing with an influx of responsibilities. Kitty is certainly not the character she was when she was first introduced, but the way she has changed and evolved makes sense. She's grown up, and her fans have had the opportunity to grow up with her, which is pretty great. In the end, Claremont's story does hold up. It may have a slow start, at first, but it's a great foundation for the character Kitty Pryde would later grow to become. There are some fantastic scenes in this issue that depict Kitty as being this really strong young woman who, after enduring some really hard times and some pain, got through it and matured. There are a lot of parallels that can be drawn between KITTY PRYDE AND WOLVERINE and the current WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN. It's a great Kitty Pryde origin story and is definitely worth reading.

42 Comments
Posted by warpgirl

I've been away from x-titles too long... who knocked up Kitty?

Posted by CombatSpoon86

Wooo. I haven't read this in ages. I should crack open my hardcover and read this.

Posted by RedQueen

Awesome article XD. Kitty Pryde is certainly an awesome character, and looking back, she hasn't changed all that much. She's matured and developed, but still remains true to the original creation.

Posted by DDangelico

Never read KITTY PRIDE AND WOLVERINE but I am loving WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN. I'll have to check it out!

Great write up!

Posted by x_29

Astonishing Kitty is the best.

Posted by Pwok21

@warpgirl:

I think it was the Brood.

Posted by KMART4455

@warpgirl said:

I've been away from x-titles too long... who knocked up Kitty?

Prof. X

Edited by M-Demon

I always enjoyed the old team-up mini-series because it helped justify Kitty as a martial artist (at least to some degree). Sure, she could phase (and rather uncontrollably around that time I might add) but this sort of gave her a little more threat back in the 80's. Back then, not everyone was considered some hand-to-hand expert like most comic characters are today ... so this series helped little Shadowcat mature some. Or was it still Sprite back then...? I forget.

Posted by halfpastwhenever

Great article Babs.

Posted by haydenclaireheroes

Kitty Pryde and Wolverine is personally one of my favorite series. I think Kitty Pryde is a hero that has changed so much throughout the years

Posted by Twentyfive

@KMART4455 said:

@warpgirl said:

I've been away from x-titles too long... who knocked up Kitty?

Prof. X

NO! Really? Really? NO!!!!!!!!!!!

What has happened to my childhood?

Posted by AdrianOpIvy

@Twentyfive said:

@KMART4455 said:

@warpgirl said:

I've been away from x-titles too long... who knocked up Kitty?

Prof. X

NO! Really? Really? NO!!!!!!!!!!!

What has happened to my childhood?

It turned out he was another clone of Magneto

Posted by cmaprice

Babs, read Whedon's Astonishing  X-Men. Kitty's fantastic (well, so is everyone.)

Posted by No_Name_

@Twentyfive said:

@KMART4455 said:

@warpgirl said:

I've been away from x-titles too long... who knocked up Kitty?

Prof. X

NO! Really? Really? NO!!!!!!!!!!!

What has happened to my childhood?

No. No one knocked up Kitty. You should really try reading WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN. That story is explained in the first 6 issues. It's fantastic.

Posted by infonation

@Twentyfive: I don't think Xavier had anyhting to do with it! I think the Brood just decided to use her as a host!

Posted by warpgirl

Will it still make me feel like listening to Smashing Pumpkins and cutting my arms? X-men were emo before the word was even coined.

Posted by devourerofworlds

Probably one of the most underrated x-men characters. Reading some of the old comics where kitty was first introduced (dark phoenix saga) and then Astonishing i realized realize how much she has come into her own and also how much I care for her. She's a solid rock in the X-Men foundation

Posted by JonesDeini

Wish Kitty would make more use of her ninja training

Posted by Aeroman

@warpgirl: she has mini broods inside her that's why she looks pregnant

Posted by Hero4life

I actually have this mini series shown here.

Posted by spidermonkey2099

Great article! I actually just read Kitty Pryde and Wolverine about a week ago. It's one of my favorite stories that features either of those characters. Whedon's run on Astonishing remains my favorite portrayal of Kitty though. I didn't read very many issues of Wolverine and the X-Men, but I can't say I was too impressed with it though. I remember Kitty being one of the few highlights for me in that book, but I much prefer Uncanny X-Force out of the current X-titles.

Posted by dylan671

Kitty Pyrde is pregnant?

Posted by pspin

@dylan671: No it was a new strain of Brood some space bounty hunter invented and infected her with.

Kitty is probably top three best X-Men. Even the writers don't really mess with her, she just keeps getting better through the years. The Kitty-Colossus love story is probably one of the best (and longest running) in comics, since they are faithful to each other despite their differences.

That being said if Kitty somehow snapped and joined X-Force, that would be epic. Her powers could get pretty creative if she killed someone.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

I agree, Claremont's Kitty from that miniseries still holds up to today, even if in the realm of comics she is older now, more mature and refined than her younger years back than when Claremont (best writer of X-Men in my opinion) was at the helm. I really like this article and I think its something you should do with other old miniseries.

Posted by cbishop

Oooo, you found one of my all-time faves! This is one of the first comics I ever read that showed definitive change in a character - it was definitely the mark that moved her from being team sidekick to actual team member. This was a very cool series. :)

Posted by umbrafeline

kitty has come full circle since her debut in X-Men #129 january 1980. once she was but the learner, now she is the master.

in the book xmen and philosphy they made an error saying that she appeared in the uncanny X-Men #129 but in october of 1994

Posted by colleen33408

I actually was reading this miniseries a few weeks ago and found I quite enjoyed it-- but I loved the X-Men at this time. The lineup was so consistent-- the core of Colossus, Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Shadowcat stayed together for a good long run.

I think Kitty is currently being underused in Wolverine & the X-Men. It's sort of unrealistic for her to be running a school for aliens. I prefer her in costume, kicking butt, not scolding kids just slightly her junior.

Posted by charlieboy

kitty pryde is my absolute favorite marvel character and i love this series. and i love wolvie and the x-men because they give kitty a prominent position with the x-men. love love love. love dazzler too. but love kitty a little more. 

Posted by umbrafeline

@colleen33408 said:

I actually was reading this miniseries a few weeks ago and found I quite enjoyed it-- but I loved the X-Men at this time. The lineup was so consistent-- the core of Colossus, Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Shadowcat stayed together for a good long run.

I think Kitty is currently being underused in Wolverine & the X-Men. It's sort of unrealistic for her to be running a school for aliens. I prefer her in costume, kicking butt, not scolding kids just slightly her junior.

and which costume do you think the artists should put her in? i was always fond of her classoc blue outfit with the mask, gloves and belt

Posted by Miss_Garrick

I think the part of Wolverine testing whether Kitty is going to kill a man is hardcore cool.

Posted by christopherwalken

Different haircut?

Posted by sj_esposito

Great article. It's cool to see the evolution of a character laid out like this, and I'd like to see more pieces follow this formula. Also, it brings to light the fact that a good origin story will hold up to the test of time.

Posted by fodigg

Kitty Pryde is one of Marvel's leading ladies, and is my favorite female X-Man (unless Storm has a mohawk). She's one of those characters that grew up with the readers, which you do a good job of showing in the article. I think she deserves more spotlight, and I remember being annoyed they used Rogue as the young character in the X-Men films instead of her.

Posted by jcbart

I love Kitty. She is a staple character in the comic book industry that is quite under the radar, but everyone loves. She has matured and developed, but has always stayed true to herself, which is a rarity in comic books.

Can we all just agree that there should be a series set in Japan starring Kitty, Wolverine, Psylocke and Yukio?

@M-Demon: Agreed. Kitty being trained by Ogun meant a lot back then. Now it's all, "Oh great, she knows kung fu. Who doesn't?"

@JonesDeini: Yep agreed. I adored the Shadow & Flame mini series where she went to Japan and dealt with consequences of her training with Ogun and her clash with Silver Samurai.

Posted by KMART4455

@Babs said:

@Twentyfive said:

@KMART4455 said:

@warpgirl said:

I've been away from x-titles too long... who knocked up Kitty?

Prof. X

NO! Really? Really? NO!!!!!!!!!!!

What has happened to my childhood?

No. No one knocked up Kitty. You should really try reading WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN. That story is explained in the first 6 issues. It's fantastic.

Noooooo!!!!!! lolol I was only kidding. hahaha I wasnt trying to be serious about that. My bad lol

Posted by Or35ti

I definitely think it's important to reinvigorate the idea against killing in superheroes today.

Posted by Wonder Princess

This is one of my faves from my childhood. I think it still holds up great. Kitty is a character I really do feel as if I have grown up with. She is the heart of the Jean Grey School now.

Posted by Katie24

I just picked up the trade for Wolverine and the X-Men cause I just finished Joss Whedons run on Astonishing X-Men (which was AMAZING!!) and it sparked an interest in Kitty Pryde for me. I will have to check out Kitty Pryde and Wolverine next and maybe Ultimate X-Men. I have know idea why this post is in bold, but I can't get the font back to normal >.<

Posted by Jerell20

Shadow Cat has always been one of my favorite characters. I never got to read Kitty Pryde and Wolverine and will defiantly try and find it now. Loved the article.

Posted by bacchusV2

i think in over 15 years of my reading and following the stories of Shadowcat since 6th grade, writers over at wolverine and the x-men should really tap more into this corner of Kitty's character especially now that she's become co-head of a school of young mutants. why isn't she teaching any fighting classes? i understand she runs a school and focus should be on the upbringing of these mutants to be responsible and all that, but it should also be imperative that Kitty should instill in some if not most of the kids the discipline of fighting skills she has learned over the years.

She has been under Wolverine's tutelage, Ogun's student, a secret agent for SHIELD, a good pilot, worked with British spies, sorcerer's, time-traveller's, warrior aliens, and whatnots. I love this new direction they have for her being head of the school but Kitty can't be tied up with the paperwork pushing pins.

This article just really goes back to her roots as the character she really is and should be portrayed today. I wonder if her appeal to readers like me have the same impact as the readers of today's generation... she should be a more pro-active character now considering her growth, maturity, and inspiration to all the other kids. And since i can't think of any loose thread with her history, she should be pushed forward to greater characterization like the good Claremont days.

Posted by stumpy49er

I agree that Kitty Pride and Wolverine is an excellent story and absolutely holds up today. I disagree however, that Wolverine and X Men is even worth reading.

Edited by umbrafeline