Writer / Co-Plotters / Penciler Chris Claremont – John Byrne
Inker Terry Austin
Letterer Tom Orzechowski
Colorist Glynis Wein
Cover Dated March 1981
The final issue of the legendary Claremont – Byrne – Austin run and, boy do they kill it with this issue.
I own this issue as one of Marvel Chiller prose books.
Issue opens with a bit of a recap from Uncanny 96, the last time the X-Men fought one of the N’Garai as well as what happen to that creature / alien.
This is the follow up issue to the Days of Future Past two parter. This should have been a nice quiet Christmas issue with the X-Men, Kitty’s first with the team.
The excellent Kiotr fanpage has most of the images on their website :
We join Xavier going over the Blackbird procedures with Kitty.
Angel comes in telling Xavier that the car is ready.
Wolverine introduces Mariko to Xavier. Kurt shows up with some mistletoe and kisses Mariko on the cheek. Logan overreacts with a murderous attempt on Kurt’s life. No one is cool about that.
Proving that Kitty didn’t learn anything from that exchange, and grabs the fallen mistletoe and kisses Colossus on the cheek.
Everybody is leaving Kitty in the mansion all by herself. As Christmas isn’t her holiday, she isn’t heading out with the rest of the team. She is going to have the entire mansion to herself. Her first task, is to call Scott and wish him well. Scott is about to join Lee Forrester on an adventure.
Kitty’s second task, to work out in the Danger Room’s gymnasium program. Whenever I read “Olympian Level” strength, I always imagine that hero having to spend hours in a gymnasium. She hears the alarm. Heads to Storm’s attic apartment and sees the windows are broken, and all of the flowers ruin.
Kitty’s third task? Survive!
Now begins an incredible feat of one young lady versus a murderous alien. It doesn’t speak English and it can hurt her in her phase state. This is as do or die as it gets.
It tears walls as if it was paper. It tears through so many walls and floors. Kitty hides under the stairs and it proves that it is smart by being able to track her.
Kitty reaches a phone and doesn’t even get a dial tone when it claws her and hurts her badly. She starts nursing her arm. It draws first blood. Kitty is trying to think of ways to hurt it.
She runs to the Danger Room and turns off all of safety procedures and sets the program to kill.
Fire blasters hurt it a little and the room seems to slow it down.
Kitty escapes that situation and starts running to the Hanger.
She begins to turn on the Blackbird. The N’Garai starts inching towards the jet. Kitty turns on the thrusters and burns the alien to a crisp. She summons all of her bravery to inspect the scene. Once she shows up, through the flames, out reaches a claw!
Turns out, the X-Men were not just abandoning Kitty for no good reason around the holiday season. They went to get her parents, Cameron and Theresa Pryde. Cameron is growing a beard and Kitty is taken back by surprised that her parents are in Westchester, all the way from Chicago. She had just finished a bath.
Kitty had survived her Trial by Fire and passed the greatest test she will ever have to take. On Christmas Eve, Kitty had a rite of passage and turns out that the alien had a little bit of life with. It made some progress but it had finally died. Also, this is one of those first times when the mansion was destroyed and the team will have to rebuild.
Next issue promises The Return of Cyclops!
Letter’s page has an note from Claremont regarding this being the finale issue for both Byrne and Austin. Brent Anderson will take the next issue and then Dave Cockrum returns.