Kitty Pryde

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Contents

Facts

Katherine "Kitty" Pryde is a character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #129 (Jan. 1980) and was created by writer-artist John Byrne.

A mutant, Pryde possesses a "phasing" ability that essentially allows her and objects or people with which she is in contact to become intangible. This power also disrupts any electrical field she passes through, and lets her simulate levitation. At the time of her membership, under the codename Shadowcat, Pryde was the youngest person invited to join the team of mutant superheroes the X-Men. Pryde also used the names Sprite and Ariel briefly.

During her early years, she is portrayed as a "kid sister" to many older members of the X-Men, filling the role of literary foil to the more established characters. In the years since her introduction, she has aged and matured, and has become a main character on her own.

Kitty Pryde was portrayed by actress Ellen Page in the 2006 superhero film, X-Men: The Last Stand.

Publication history

Uncanny X-Men artist John Byrne said he named Kitty Pryde after a classmate he met in art school in Calgary in 1973, telling her he liked her name and receiving permission to use it for his first original comics character. Kitty Pryde first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #129 (Jan. 1980), by writer Chris Claremont and artist Byrne, as a highly intelligent, 13-year-old girl. Claremont said several elements of the character's personality were derived from those of the daughter of Claremont's and Byrne's acquaintance Louise Simonson, Julie. Claremont and Byrne made the new character a full-fledged X-Man in issue #139, where she was codenamed "Sprite". She was the main character in the issues #141-142, the Days of Future Past storyline, where she is possessed by her older self, who time travels into the past to prevent the mass extermination of mutants. The six-issue miniseries Kitty Pryde and Wolverine (1984–1985), written by Claremont, was a coming-of-age storyline in which she matures from a girl to a young woman and receives the new name "Shadowcat".

The fictional Kitty Pryde also had a profound effect on the real-life Kitty Pryde: the latter became so overwhelmed by attention from Shadowcat fans after the publication of the X-Men comics that she abbreviated her name to K.D. Pryde to avoid association with her fictional counterpart. She has since stated that she has mixed feelings about her fame, saying that she values Byrne's comics for their entertainment and artistic value, but wishes that more people would appreciate her as more than just Shadowcat's namesake.

character biography

Katherine Anne "Kitty" Pryde was born in Deerfield, Illinois, to Carmen and Theresa Pryde. Of Jewish descent, her paternal grandfather, Samuel Prydeman, was held in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Kitty started to have headaches at age thirteen, headaches which signaled the emergence of her mutant powers. She was approached by both the X-Men's Charles Xavier and the Hellfire Club's White Queen, Emma Frost, both of whom hoped to recruit her for their respective causes. Kitty was unnerved by Frost, observing that the White Queen had looked at her as if she were "something good to eat." She got along better with Xavier and the three X-Men who escorted him to his meeting with her and her parents, becoming fast friends with Ororo Munroe. Ororo told Kitty who she really was and about the X-Men, which made the teenager even more enthusiastic about attending Xavier's school.

Their conversation was cut short, however, when they (along with Wolverine and Colossus) were attacked by armored mercenaries in the employ of Frost and the Hellfire Club. The X-Men defeated their assailants, but were subdued by the White Queen's telepathic powers immediately after. In the confusion, Kitty had become separated from the X-Men and therefore was not captured along with them.*'Uncanny X-Men #129* She managed to contact Cyclops, Phoenix, and Nightcrawler.*'Uncanny X-Men #130* With the help of Dazzler and Pryde, those X-Men rescued their teammates and Xavier (who had also been captured) from the Hellfire Club.*'Uncanny X-Men #131*

The White Queen appeared to perish in the battle, which meant she was no longer competing with Xavier for the approval of Kitty's parents. Unfortunately, Kitty's parents hadn't heard from her in more than a day, because during that time she was first being pursued by the Hellfire Club's men and then working with the X-Men to save their friends. All they knew was that Kitty had left with Xavier's "students" to get a soda, there had been reports that the soda shop had been blown up, and that Kitty had been missing since. Understandably, they were angry at Xavier when he finally returned with Kitty in tow. At first, it seemed like there was no chance of Kitty being allowed to attend the school and join the X-Men. Phoenix then decided to use her considerable telepathic power to erase the memories of Kitty's parents and plant false ones, resulting in a complete shift in their attitude towards Xavier. Questions concerning the morality of tampering with minds in such a fashion aside, Kitty was then allowed to enroll at Xavier's school with her parents' blessing. She was the youngest person to join the X-Men up to that point.

Joining the X-Men

Kitty joined the X-Men,*'Uncanny X-Men #138* and assumed the costumed identity of Sprite. *'Uncanny X-Men #139* Early in her career as an X-Man, Kitty's adult self from an alternate future took possession of her body in the present to help X-Men thwart the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly by the second Bortherhood of Evil Mutants.*'Uncanny X-Men #141-142* Kitty then single-handedly defeated a N'Garai demon.*'Uncanny X-Men #143* Kitty also briefly attended the White Queen's Massachusetts Academy.*'Uncanny X-Men #151-152*

During her teen years, Kitty fostered a number of close relationships with others at the school and in the X-Men. She developed a crush on Colossus and became close friends with his little sister Illyana Rasputin. Initially uneasy around Nightcrawler and other mutants with physical deformities, Kitty finally overcame her fears and became close friends with him. Kitty also befriended Lockheed, a highly intelligent alien resembling a dragon,*'Uncanny X-Men #166* who followed her home after a mission in outer space.*'Uncanny X-Men #168* Lockheed is extremely loyal to Kitty, and the two of them share a psychic bond. Wolverine became something of a mentor to Kitty despite his usually gruff personality. Storm came to view Kitty as the daughter she never had.

Kitty was later assigned to the New Mutants,*'Uncanny X-Men #167* a team of younger mutants established in the absence of the X-Men while they were in outer space. Kitty convinced Professor Xavier to allow her to remain a full member of the X-Men on the basis of her high intelligence, maturity, and the fact that she was already a fully-trained member of the team. Kitty was later abducted by the Morlocks and nearly forced to wed Caliban.*'Uncanny X-Men #177-179* She was then abducted by the White Queen, but rescued by the New Mutants.*'New Mutants #15-17*

During this time, Kitty began to "date" Colossus, but this did not last long. Colossus developed feelings for an alien woman named Zsaji whom he met on the Beyonder's planet in the first Secret Wars. Colossus' feelings toward Zsaji were primarily a side effect of her own unique healing abilities, which she had used on him after he became injured. Regardless, Colossus' feelings were real and he returned to Earth consumed with grief after Zsaji's death. He admitted to Kitty that he loved Zsaji, which hurt her deeply and ended the budding romantic relationship.*'Uncanny X-Men #183* Kitty had made good friends with a local boy from Salem Central named Doug Ramsey around this time, but her feelings for him never went as deep as his for her, and they never actually dated, though they remained close, even more so after Doug's status as a mutant was revealed and he joined the New Mutants under the codename Cypher. They remained friends until his death some time later.

Ogun

During the 1985 Kitty Pryde and Wolverine miniseries, Kitty is possessed by a demon, the ninja Ogun. Ogun psychically bestows upon Kitty a virtual lifetime of martial arts training. Kitty was brainwashed by Ogun into becoming a ninja assassin, and was sent to attack Wolverine. Kitty is able to resist Ogun's influence with Wolverine's help and the two form a strong teacher/student bond. Kitty returns to the X-Men, no longer the innocent they once knew, and officially adopts the codename Shadowcat.*'Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #1-6*

Morlock Massacre

Kitty was badly injured by Harpoon's energy spear during the Mutant Massacre story arc, in the massacre of the Morlocks, with the result that she lost control of her power and was stuck in an intangible state and count not regain her solidity.*'Uncanny X-Men #211* She was rushed to Muir Island along with other surviving casualties of the Massacre to be tended to by Moira MacTaggert. MacTaggert was able to keep Kitty's condition from deteriorating to the point where she completely lost physical substance and ceased to exist, but wasn't able to do any more to help her. At this time, Kitty's natural state was to be intangible. Where she once had to make a conscious effort to phase, she could now only maintain her solidity through an act of conscious will. She was saved by Reed Richards, Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, but not without trouble. The X-Men had gone to Richards for aid, but he had initially refused because he was not sure he would be able to help (Reed was in a struggle with the rest of the Fantastic Four about their origins. They thought that Reed deliberately caused their accident which turned them into the Fantastic Four, thus making him very uncertain about his personal motives and abilities). Having nowhere else to go, the X-Men turned to Richards' enemy Doctor Doom. This created a moral dilemma for both the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. Both teams fought each other because the Fantastic Four were trying to stop the treatment while the X-Men were determined to save Kitty's life. In the end, both the personal crisis of the Fantastic Four and the life of Shadowcat were saved. It was Franklin Richards, with the help of Lockheed, who brought both teams to their senses.*'Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men #1-4* Kitty has since recovered from this state and now has full control over her power again.

Excalibur

Kitty Pryde as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D
Kitty Pryde as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D

Among the others injured and brought to Muir Isle were Colossus and Nightcrawler, although Colossus left the United Kingdom shortly after being released from MacTaggert's care to join the rest of the X-Men on their mission to battle the Adversary. The X-Men sacrificed their lives to defeat the Adversary, and the battle was televised and broadcast across the world. The X-Men were resurrected later, unknown to the world at large, but chose to keep a low profile and perpetuate the belief that they were still dead. This strategy was enforced to more effectively fight their enemies. This meant avoiding contact with friends and family, including Kitty. Thinking the X-Men were dead, Kitty and Nightcrawler joined Rachel Summers, Captain Britain, and Meggan to form the Britain-based team Excalibur.*'Excalibur Special Edition #1* For a brief time, Kitty studied at St. Searle's school for girls in Britain.*'Excalibur #33* During her time with Excalibur, Kitty developed a crush on Professor Alistaire Stuart which went unreciprocated since Alistaire was attracted to Rachel. Later, she was romantically involved with former Black Air agent Pete Wisdom, but they ended their relationship a short time before Excalibur disbanded.

After Excalibur's dissolution, Shadowcat, Nightcrawler and Colossus return to the X-Men. While returning, they faced a group of imposters following Cerebro, in the guise of Professor X. During the six-month gap, Kitty visited Genosha. Whatever she experienced there is unknown (although presumably connected to her father, living on Genosha at the time), but it had a profound effect on her. She cut her hair and began to act rebelliously, also using one of Wolverine's bone claws broken off during battle as a weapon. Kitty remained with the X-Men for a while before leaving after the apparent death of Colossus. Trying to give herself a normal life, she attended the University of Chicago. During this time, her father was killed when Cassandra Nova’s Sentinels destroyed Genosha. Kitty later finds a recording of his death due to exploring footage of the attack. She is also kidnapped by William Stryker, but the X-Treme X-Men team helped her escape and she assisted them on several missions. At some point between the end of the six-month gap and leaving the X-Men, Kitty also came into possession (possibly by theft) of the Destiny diaries, for reasons unknown.

Back to the X-Men

Shadowcat and Colossus on the cover of Astonishing X-Men #6. Art by John Cassaday.
Shadowcat and Colossus on the cover of Astonishing X-Men #6. Art by John Cassaday.

At the start of Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men, Kitty once again rejoins the X-Men, despite having extreme reservations about working with the former White Queen, given their history. However, this was the primary reason why Frost herself wanted Kitty on the team, as a sort of "safety" should Frost ever revert to type. Frost reasoned that the person who trusted her least would be most likely to spot such behavior. On one of the team's first missions, Shadowcat discovered Colossus was alive. After some initial awkwardness, Kitty and Peter resumed dating.

Kitty Pryde appeared alongside Colossus in the "Blinded by the Light" arc in X-Men. They are the two X-Men left to look after the students while the rest of the X-Men leave for Mystique's home in Mississippi to check up on Rogue, during which they are ambushed by the Marauders. Kitty and Colossus, meanwhile, attempt to protect the students from a faction of the Marauders led by Exodus. It is revealed over the course of the story that Kitty, worried of the Destiny Diaries' safety, devised a plan with Cyclops and Emma Frost to hide them and have Emma wipe the location from her mind. The location could only be revealed by a code word spoken to Kitty. The arc concludes with a battle between Iceman and Cannonball against the Marauders for the diaries, during which they are destroyed by Gambit.

In the "Torn" arc, the latest incarnation of the Hellfire Club begin an assault on Xavier's School. Kitty fulfilled the role that Emma Frost envisioned, personally taking down Frost and imprisoning her, only to fall under a telepathic delusion created by Hellfire member Perfection, who claimed to be the true, unreformed Emma Frost. Under this delusion, Kitty was made to believe that she and Colossus had conceived a child, which was later taken away by the X-Men because its potential mutant abilities were supposedly dangerous. Kitty reacts in the delusion by attempting to rescue the child from a near-inescapable "box" in the depths of the school, unaware that in reality she is freeing an alien entity, "Stuff," who contains the trapped consciousness of Cassandra Nova, the apparent ringleader of this new Hellfire Club. A newly awakened Cyclops revealed that the new Hellfire Club, including Perfection and Nova, are actually mental projections created by a piece of Cassandra Nova's consciousness; which became lodged in Emma's mind during the X-Men's last confrontation with her, playing on her survivor's guilt over the Genoshan massacre, and utilizing Emma's telepathy to both confound the X-Men and orchestrate her (Nova's) escape from the "Stuff" body. As Cyclops killed the mental projections, Emma tried to force Kitty to kill her to get rid of Nova. Undeterred, Cassandra Nova switched her focus to attempt to transfer her mind to Hisako Ichiki. It appears that Nova did not succeed, as the team was transported to S.W.O.R.D.'s air station en route to Ord's Breakworld for the "Unstoppable" arc that concludes Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men.

Breakworld

As the team prepares to end the confrontation with the Breakworld leader, the team splits up--with Kitty on the team appointed to stop the missile pointed at the earth. Kitty phases into the missile to disrupt its circuitry noting that it is composed of the same material as the rest of Breakworld, making it difficult and exhausting for her to phase through. After phasing for a mile into the missile, Kitty finds the center only to discover it empty. The missile is fired, causing Kitty to pass out inside of it as Beast discovers too late that due to its shape, trajectory, and lack of internal circuitry, the Breakworld's weapon is not a missile, but a bullet. As the bullet hurtles toward Earth, Kitty lays unconscious within it. As the situation becomes increasingly dire, Emma establishes mental contact with Kitty, reassuring her that she will come out of this fine, though it eventually becomes clear to both that the situation will be grim. Kitty and Emma come to an understanding and reconciliation, Emma stating that she never wanted something like this to happen to her. Kitty then phases the bullet through the earth, but is trapped within. At the end of Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men, Scott Summers mentions that Dr. Strange, Reed Richards, and some "top men" tried to save her, but believe she has fused to the bullet, as it continues to hurtle through space. Whether she is alive or dead is unknown, though the X-Men consider her lost to them.

As a result of these events Kitty does not appear in the X-Men crossover event X-Men: Messiah Complex, since this takes place after the events of Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men. She is briefly mentioned in the aftermath of the Messiah Complex, by Colossus, Nightcrawler and Wolverine, as the three of them discuss "losing her."

Relationship with Colossus

During Kitty's early time with the X-Men, Kitty began to "date" Colossus, but this did not last long for a major legal reason. Jim Shooter, the editor-in-chief at the time, disapproved of "the idea of a 19 years old boy sleeping with an underage girl." This is due to not just statutory rape laws, but also a general cultural repulsion in many countries for anything hinting at child abuse. Kitty in fact had directly propositioned Colossus in X-Men #165, when they both were infected with Brood embryos, but due to her being underage, Colossus refused, saying, "However, little one, you are not older." He did, though, share one passionate kiss with her before refusing, as a message of, "but if you were older...." Because of Jim Shooter's disapproval of this budding relationship, Colossus developed feelings for an alien woman named Zsaji whom he met on the Beyonder's planet in the first Secret Wars.

Powers and abilities

Kitty is a mutant with the ability to pass through solid matter by altering the vibratory rates of her atoms: passing her atoms through the spaces between the atoms of the object through which she is moving. In this way she and the object through which she is passing can temporarily merge without interacting, and each is unharmed when Shadowcat has finished passing through the object. This process is called phasing, and it renders her almost completely intangible to physical touch. Shadowcat passes through objects at the same speed at which she is moving before she "enters" them. Since she is unable to breathe while "inside" an object, she can only continuously phase through solid objects (as when she travels underground) as long as she can hold her breath.

Using her power began as an optional ability, but for a period (over ten years of published comics, approximately two years in-continuity) Kitty existed in a naturally "phased" state, and had to consciously choose to become solid. However, she has now returned to her original form; i.e. she is now naturally solid and must choose when to use her power. While phasing, she does not physically walk on surfaces, but rather interacts with the molecules of air above them, allowing her to ascend and descend, allowing her to seemingly walk on air. While phased, she is immune to most physical attacks, and has inconsistent showings of some resistance to telepathy. The density of some materials (such as adamantium) can prove deleterious to her phasing, causing her to be severely disoriented or experience pain if she tries to pass through them. Directed-energy attacks, such as lightning and lasers, have been shown to pass through her without harm. However, an energy blast fired by the Marauder named Harpoon effected Kitty so that she could only become fully solid and maintain her solidity through a conscious act of will, a condition which persisted for months. Magic and magical beings also prove to be an enigma in regards to Kitty's phasing, as proven in a battle with a N'Garai demon that showed it could cause harm to Kitty even while in her phased state--the demon's claws left no visible marks, but caused Kitty severe pain as they passed through her intangible body.

The use of her abilities also interferes with any electrical systems (including, in some stories, the bio-electric systems of the human body), as she passes through by disrupting the flow of electrons from atom to atom.

Kitty can also extend her powers to phase other people and objects. Currently, she is able to phase at least a half a dozen other people (or objects of similar mass) with her, so long as they establish and maintain physical contact with her. She can extend her phasing effect to her own clothing or any other object with mass up to that of a small truck, as long as she remains in contact with it. She has threatened to leave people phased into a wall and used her power offensively to harm the Technarch Magus and Danger. Kitty's powers seem to have increased over the years. During an X-Treme X-Men story arc where she is kidnapped by Reverend William Stryker, she phases out of sync with the earth's rotation to move from one place in the world (only east or west) to another seemingly instantaneously. At the climax of Astonishing X-Men, Kitty phases a ten mile long "bullet" composed of super-dense alien metals through the entire planet earth. This is her greatest phasing feat to date and may have cost Kitty her life.

She has trained herself to go automatically, by reflex, into a phasing state at any indication of danger, such as a loud noise like a gunshot, in order to protect herself.

Kitty also shares a sort of mental or empathic connection with Lockheed (her pet dragon); both she and the alien dragon can 'sense' each other's presence at times.

Besides her mutant powers, Kitty is a genius in the field of applied technology and computer science. Shadowcat is highly talented in the design and use of computer hardware. She is a skilled pilot of piston and jet engine aircraft, and a competent pilot of certain advanced interstellar vehicles. She has previously shown a unique ability to wield the Soulsword and also be harmed by it. Since her possession by Ogun, she has been consistently shown to be an excellent hand-to-hand combatant, having since been trained in the arts of aikido, karate, ninjutsu, and Krav Maga. She possesses moderate expertise of the martial arts of the Japanese ninja and samurai. She is a professional level dancer in both ballet and modern dance. She speaks fluent English, Japanese, Russian, and the royal and standard languages of the alien Shi'ar, and has moderate expertise in Gaelic, Hebrew, and German.

In other media

Television

  • Kitty Pryde (voiced by Kath Soucie) was a viewpoint character in the animated television one-shot Pryde of the X-Men, as the newest member of the team.

Films

  • In the film X-Men, she has a small cameo, played by Sumela Kay. She is referenced as "the girl who can walk through walls" by Senator Kelly. She is shown in Xavier's class when Wolverine walks in; she returns for her forgotten books, grabs them, and phases through the wall on her way out. Xavier responds with a cheerful "Bye, Kitty" while Wolverine (who had never seen her before in the movies) is startled.
  • In X2: X-Men United, she has a brief appearance played by Katie Stuart. She is shown phasing through walls and people to escape William Stryker's military forces during their attack on the X-Mansion. Another scene shows her falling through her bed to avoid an assault. She is also briefly mentioned towards the end of the film when Xavier explains how he acquired top secret files, stating "Let's just say I know a little girl who can walk through walls."
Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde in X-Men: The Last Stand
Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde in X-Men: The Last Stand
  • In X-Men: The Last Stand, she is portrayed by Ellen Page and has a central role, rather than her cameo appearances in the two previous films. She serves as a rival to Rogue for the romantic attentions of Iceman, since their close friendship makes Rogue increasingly jealous and frustrated. She also joins the X-Men in the battle on Alcatraz Island, breaking off from the battle to save Leech from the Juggernaut. Also, during the final battle at Alcatraz, Wolverine glances at her before the battles begins, as if to quell her fears. This moment was confirmed by Brett Ratner, the director of the film, in an interview, as referencing the well known "buddy" relationship between the two characters in the comics. In the novelization of the film, it is hinted that that at some point Kitty had a romantic relationship with Colossus, but that it had long since run its course, although Colossus appears to still retain feelings towards her.


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