Kitty Pryde with Lockheed
Art by Paul Smith.
|First appearance||Uncanny X-Men #129 (Jan. 1980)|
|Created by||Chris Claremont
|Alter ego||Katherine "Kitty" Anne Pryde|
|Notable aliases||Ariel, Sprite, Shadowcat, Cat|
Katherine Anne "Kitty" Pryde is a fictional 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 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 Sprite (suggested by Storm in lieu of Professor X's suggestion, Ariel), Pryde was the youngest person invited to join the team of mutant superheroes the X-Men. Her current codename is Shadowcat.
During her early years, she was 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.
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. Also, Byrne had drawn the character to slightly resemble an adolescent Sigourney Weaver. The fictional 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 X-Men editor Louise Simonson's daughter, 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 adopts 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.
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. She managed to contact Cyclops, Phoenix, and Nightcrawler. With the help of Dazzler and Pryde, those X-Men rescued their teammates and Xavier (who had also been captured) from the Hellfire Club.
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.
Kitty joined the X-Men, and assumed the costumed identity of Sprite.  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 Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Kitty then singlehandedly defeated a N'Garai demon. Kitty also briefly attended the White Queen's Massachusetts Academy.
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, who followed her home after a mission in outer space. 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, 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. She was then abducted by the White Queen, but rescued by the New Mutants.
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. 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.
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 girl they once knew, and officially adopts the codename Shadowcat.
While trying to save Rogue, 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 could not regain her solidity. 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. Kitty has since recovered from this state and now has full control over her power again.
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. For a brief time, Kitty studied at St. Searle's school for girls in Britain. 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. At some point, Kitty was recruited by the international law enforcement agency S.H.I.E.L.D. to repair the computer system of their flying headquarters. Kitty discovered the problem was due to Ogun’s spirit having infiltrated the computer system, and with the aid of Wolverine, she managed to purge Ogun's presence. During this time, Kitty was attracted to a S.H.I.E.L.D. intern her own age, and this made her begin to doubt her relationship with Wisdom. Soon after, she broke off their relationship.
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. While tracking Mystique, she stumbles onto prophetic diaries that belonged to Irene Adler, a precognitive. 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 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.
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 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 lies 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 Doctor 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."
To cope with Kitty's loss, Colossus takes down a group of Russian criminals dealing in human trafficking, and gets a tattoo of the name 'Katya' on his chest. Emma begins having a recurring dream in which she hears a voice whom she believes is Kitty's trying to reach out to her.
It has been confirmed by Abigail Brand that Kitty Pryde is still alive within the bullet, but because the bullet's design is to harden as time goes on, it becomes increasingly difficult to break the bullet open.
After the X-Men move to the island of Utopia, Magneto arrives on the island professing his desire join and support the X-Men in their effort to unite the world's remaining mutants. The X-Men reluctantly let him stay, remaining wary of him despite his efforts to gain their trust. In a final bid to gain their trust, Magneto focuses his powers, attempting to divert the interstellar path of the metal bullet Kitty is trapped in and bring her home to Earth. Meanwhile inside the bullet, Kitty is revealed to still be alive.
Marvel has announced that Kitty Pryde will be returning to the X-Men in March 2010 in Uncanny X-Men #522.
Kitty expressed a romantic interest in Colossus early into her time with the X-Men. This did not sit well with Marvel Comics' editor-in-chief at the time, Jim Shooter, who disapproved of the suggestion that a 19 year-old was sleeping with a 14 year-old girl (which would constitute statutory rape). Kitty had in fact directly propositioned Colossus in Uncanny X-Men #165, when they were both infected with Brood embryos and seemingly doomed to die: Kitty, aware of the taboo of their relationship, made the plea that if she were older it would not be a problem, but Colossus refused — offering only a passionate kiss — saying "However, little one, you are not older". This did not stop the relationship from continuing, as the two were spotted once again kissing in an apparent formalization of their involvement.
Shooter finally brought an end to the budding relationship in his Secret Wars limited series, in which Colossus developed feelings for an alien woman named Zsaji while on the Beyonder's Battleworld. Zsaji was a healer whose powers had a side effect of infatuation. For Colossus, this infatuation furthered his doubts of his feelings for Kitty due to his jealousy of her friendship with Doug Ramsey and led to a passionate, albeit brief relationship with Zsaji. After Zsaji's death, Colossus found he no longer had feelings for Kitty, and upon returning to Earth, he would break up with her.
The two remained friends, though much cooler around each other until they were separated when Colossus was amongst the X-Men killed in Dallas during the Fall of the Mutants. While a member of Excalibur, Kitty exploited her closeness with Colossus after he joined the Acolytes by luring him to Muir Island under the pretense of wanting to join him on Avalon. Actually, it was a ruse to allow Professor X to heal a head injury Colossus had suffered which they assumed had led to his defection. Kitty disliked betraying him, but went along with the ruse and was forgiven for her part in it.
After the fall of Avalon, Colossus came to Muir Island looking for Kitty, and upon finding her with Pete Wisdom, he attacked and seriously injured Wisdom. The two talked about their past and decided to become close friends, with Colossus carefully watching over her relationship with Wisdom. After Kitty and Wisdom broke up and she, Colossus and Nightcrawler rejoined the X-Men, the two remained close. Kitty was not amongst the team when Colossus sacrificed himself to cure the Legacy Virus, but she returned to claim his ashes and spread them in his homeland.
After Colossus' resurrection in Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men, the two discuss their feelings and consummate the relationship.
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. However, contrary depictions of the duration of her phasing ability have been presented, such as when she has phased miles within an object. 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. This typically causes machines to malfunction or be destroyed as she phases through them.
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, causing 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. Some energy attacks also prove problematic for Kitty. For example, an energy blast fired by Harpoon, a member of the Marauders caused her to lose her ability to become fully tangible for months. Magic and magical beings can also harm her in her phased state, as demonstrated in a battle with a N'Garai demon whose claws left no visible marks, but caused Kitty severe pain as they passed through her intangible body.
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 10 mi (16 km) long "bullet" composed of super-dense alien metals through the entire planet Earth. This is her greatest phasing feat to date, but which causes her considerable strain, leaving her fused with the bullet.
Besides her mutant powers, Kitty is a genius in the field of applied technology and computer science. She 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 the ninja demon Ogun, she has been consistently shown to be an excellent hand-to-hand combatant, having since been endowed with a lifetime of training in the martial arts of Japanese ninja and samurai, such as aikido, karate, and ninjutsu. She is also trained in the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga. 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.
Kitty also shares a mental/empathic connection with Lockheed (her pet dragon); both she and the alien dragon can 'sense' each other's presence at times and generally understand one another's thoughts and actions.
Kitty's code name "Shadowcat" is translated differently in foreign languages. In Hungarian, Kitty was called "Árnymacska", In French, "Etincelle" (sparkle) while she was named Sprite in the comic, though she is now known as Shadowcat as well, "Gata Sombra" (shadow cat) in Spain, "Sombra" (shadow) in Latin America, "Varjokissa" in Finnish (shadowcat), "Hatulit" ("kittiess") in Hebrew, "Lince Negra" (black lynx) in Portuguese and in Russian, she has had several names in the many variations of the X-Men series; as Sprite - Фея "Feya" (fairy), as Shadowcat - Призрачная Кошка / Теневая Кошка "Prizrachnaya Koshka / Tenevaya Koshka (ghostly cat / shadowy cat)", and in the X-Men: Evolution series, she is known as Химера "Khimera" (chimera;i.e. an illusion). In Bulgarian, she is translated as Ghostly Cat in the comics and in X-Men: Evolution as Shadow Cat.
IGN rated Kitty Pryde #3 on its list of the Top 25 X-Men from the Past 40 Years. Wizard magazine put her at number #13 in 200 Greatest Comic Characters of All Time. She was the highest female comic character in the list beating rivals such as Wonder Woman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and She-Hulk.