Kitty Pryde was introduced as part of Marvel Editorial dictating certain changes to X-Men. Specifically, the book was supposed to portray a school for mutants. That’s why the book suddenly shifted from the end of the Proteus arc and to the X-Men rushing back to America to find new mutants. Though, I’m not sure if Dazzler was meant to head back to the Xavier School and get a master’s degree or something. Kitty was from Chicago and Xavier had spent some time in Vietnam with her father. Xavier had Storm, Colossus and Wolverine impress her while he worked his telepathic magic on Kitty’s parents. A quick fight with the Hellfire Club ensued and Kitty became the youngest member of the X-Men.
Over the next year or so, Kitty would adapt many costumes and codenames. She finally settled on Shadowcat following her battle with Ogun in Japan. She first adopted the name Sprite and it was under this code name that she had her first encounter with the N’Garai, The White Queen and the Days of Future Past timeline. Kitty then adopted the name Ariel after battling it out with the Morlock Caliban, since Chris Claremont apparently wanted to teach us to love Shakespeare. Then, we started slipping into the Shadowcat years and the aforementioned fight with Ogun. Ogun was an undead Martial Arts master that possessed Kitty and used her as a living weapon to battle Wolverine. After the fight ended, Kitty found herself possessed with a lifetime of Martial Arts knowledge. Unfortunately, she was in shock after receiving a bloodlust that few living people had known.
Kitty was never portrayed as a damsel in distress, but as a young woman capable of learning about the world around her. She never made the same mistake twice and in time she would grow into a powerful combatant. Whether this was during her time with Excalibur, becoming an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. or holding her own with British agency Black Air. She’s a computer expert, who also keeps up with the martial arts knowledge bestowed upon her during the Ogun possession. She never shies away from taking on leadership roles, while never backing away from butting heads with Storm, Wolverine or Cyclops. With the All-New X-Men being in the present era, she’s willing to do the right thing and put their welfare above her own. Kitty understands sacrifice and responsibility in a way that very few characters have shown through the series run and she’s a better character for it.
Kitty’s phasing powers have always taken on an odd form in comics. Often used to imprison her during times of great stress, they’ve also been slowly amplified over the decades. When Kitty first appeared, she would get terrible headaches from phasing and could initially only phase herself through walls and related things. In time, she learned to take others and random objects into a state of intangibility. Due to young Marvel fans becoming Scientists and Academics, a theory was developed and applied to the world of physics based on Kitty’s ability. The power was dubbed Quantum Tunneling. It’s a real theoretical process where if you disrupt the flow of electrons between atoms, you create an object moving at equal speed as the material vibrates in connection with a living biosphere. Basically, it’s like the excuse used for The Flash being able to vibrate through walls. Two forces hitting each other with equal flow, the sentient object moves its atomic structure around and threw the item. That’s real world science, people.
During the Mutant Massacre, Kitty was struck by the Marauder Harpoon. This began the first issue with her powers, as her body freaked out in kept her in a permanent state of phasing. While Dr. Doom and the Fantastic Four helped break her out of the funk, future injuries would frequently put her back in this state. Whedon would revisit this issue with his giant space bullet of death that he used to end his run on Astonishing X-Men. Eventually, things would go back to normal and her powers would amplify again. Kitty became the head of the Jean Grey School for a bit, but left after she decided to help out the All-New X-Men. This was following being impregnated by the Brood again and having to deal with Colossus being possessed by the Phoenix.
Kitty’s relationship with Lockheed is one of the things that I love about Marvel Comics. For those that don’t know, Lockheed is a little Space Dragon that followed the X-Men back to Earth following their first encounter with The Brood. He scorched some alien invaders to death and began a telepathic bond with Kitty. Their relationship borders somewhere between pet & master and best of friends. During her Excalibur days, Lockheed revealed that he could speak English and frequently targeted Kitty’s then boyfriend Black Air agent Pete Wisdom. It was later revealed that Lockhead was a part of the intergalactic peace keeping agency dubbed SWORD. He had begun working with Kitty as a means of keeping the Universe safe, while hanging out with a girl he liked.
Kitty Pryde was always used as a literary foil to take the edge off the often melodramatic and serious X-Men. Whether it’s the classic “Kitty’s Fairy Tale” or her multiple attempts at bringing levity to the team, Kitty has no enemies on the team. Storm treats her like the child she never had, Wolverine wants to protect her from the world and Illyana Rasputin treats her as an older sister. While Kitty has aged and matured, her teammates have grown in their appreciation of her. But, most still see her as the kid from Chicago that they nearly died protecting. If anything, she’s also one of the members that still upholds Xavier’s dream to the bare definition. Such a belief has allowed her to put aside a personal disgust with the modern Cyclops, as she wants to find a way to make both X-Men factions rejoin.
I brought up before and I’ll say it again, those early days of the Kitty and Piotr relationship were creepy as hell. Legendary Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter agreed with my sentiments, as he spent most of that creative time trying to push Claremont and a rotating team of artists to tone it the hell down. After all, Kitty was a 14 year old that was trying to get down with a 19 year old Russian farmboy in the early 1980s. That stuff was pretty uncouth even back then. Claremont included the scene in the panel above that had Kitty directly proposition Piotr for sex. So, Jim Shooter decided to end the relationship by having Colossus cheat in his first “Secret Wars” mini-series. The editorial edict from the Big Boss Man ended Claremont’s push and began decades worth of “Will They/Won’t They” style shenanigans. Currently, the two have broken up due to Colossus becoming a creepy pseudo stalker that allowed the Cyttorak Gem and the Phoenix to possess him. This is following his desire to sacrifice his life to cure the Legacy Virus without even an inkling that it would work. That’s one wacky Pinko.