Writer Fred van Lente
Artist Andrea di Vito
Colorist Laura Villari
Letterer Simon Bowland
Cover Salvador Espin and Brad Anderson
Cover Dated May 2008
When this title was first announced, I was so excited! This was during the time that proper Kitty or present day Kitty – was stuck in deep space, riding a bullet due to Whedon / Cassaday.
So this was the only place to get proper Kitty Pryde, be it a past version of her. At the time, we had Ultimate Kitty and X-Men Forever Kitty – so we were back up to three Kittys once this series started. It was a good time to be a Shadowcat fan.
So this title was in line with the X-Men First Class that dealt with Untold Tales of the Original Five X-Men. I didn’t read that series besides the X-Men First Class Special.
So what I liken this series to is the amazing 25 issue run of Untold Tales of Spider-Man by Kurt Busiek and Pat Olliffe. Which worked the way same way – stories that were meant to take place inbetween the issues.
The mission that Kitty and Wolverine go on, they meet a young mutant girl and she shows up in this issue and the sixth issue, Michelle. She lives at the mansion but outside of these two issues – she is never heard or seen from again. Untold Tales of Spider-Man did the same thing with Batwing, a character who was important to that series but we never saw him again outside of the series. Also, Sally Avril who was also Bluebird – but that was a great story that I won’t ruin here. She was one of the original students but Busiek / Olliffe wanted to explain why she quit showing up after a certain point.
The inside front cover ad is for Professor Layton and the Curious Village – a game franchise that my wife just loves. I can’t ever seem to get into them. She is much smarter than me.
Onto the issue :
I really like this issue, there are so many fun moments in it and some great characterization!
Today is August 20 – Kitty has finally gotten her dorm room the way she likes it. She has a crush on the boy next door, and he really is in the room next door, that of course, is Colossus. What is Xavier thinking putting the two youngest students of opposite gender right next to each other? Where was Jean’s room located? Right in the middle, across from the shower? So she was surrounded by the boys?
B S B
B J B
Yeah, I can see that. Oh Xavier, I suspect you don’t have an actual teaching degree!
Today is also Kitty’s first day of classes. We learn all of this by Kitty writing in her journal – something I joke about that I had growing up but never did it. Until now, I suppose.
Colossus shouts from the ground floor to get Kitty’s attention, he wants her to come out and play volleyball with the rest of the team. The rest of the team, minus Logan – as he isn’t much of a team player at this point.
The rest of the team is – Angel, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Storm. Since they have uneven sides, Nightcrawler is playing for both. We get a run down of Kitty’s opinions on each team member. She thinks Kurt is weird, which lines up with where this falls in her timeline.
The volleyball goes out of bounds, they ask Logan to get it for them and he pops his claws into the ball. So that is going to cost Xavier like twenty dollars!
Xavier mentally summons Kitty, she is mad as she didn’t response immediately. That is because he was calling her, Katherine, a name she hasn’t responded to since she was three. He has summoned her to Cerebro – which looks just like it does in the films. Which, has it ever looked like that? Typically, it is just the helmet attached to a desk in front of a bunch of monitors – but in a regular room.
We get Kitty’s opinion about Xavier, she is grateful to him for finding her when he did. We get a very brief recap of Uncanny X-Men 129 – that she was phasing through floors and freaking out. She didn’t know if she could have a career or a family because of her powers. I wish someone would tell her that she won’t have much of a career because of her dedication to the X-Men. Even Angel, who has his own multi-billion dollar company – barely spends any time there. Even when he is out of the books for a while, once we meet back up with him, he was doing other adventures and not in his office.
Xavier tells her that today, will be her first lesson. Kitty makes a joke to Xavier about how she is looking forward to learning how to change into her costume in a phone booth – she has been practicing in her closet and is getting better at it. Xavier only recognizes it as a joke but tells her that the X-Men are like no other superhero team she may be use to. Which is a very valid point – the X-Men never stop being X-Men, they don’t have connections to their families and any vacations they go on – are mission based.
Wolverine enters the conversation, as he was also summoned. He calls Xavier, Charlie and gets corrected. Wolverine doesn’t care, he keeps calling him, Charlie.
Xavier tells Wolverine that he has a mission for him and one other X-Man. Wolverine isn’t too excited as a Penguins game is coming on soon. Which will be a running gag throughout Wolverine First Class, Wolverine is really into hockey here and is constantly interrupted from watching the games.
Both Kitty and Logan are surprised when Xavier states that the two of them are going on the mission together! Logan isn’t pleased but if he wants to keep having memory therapy with Xavier, he better do it – so he does.
Once in the Blackbird, Kitty tries to make small talk with Logan. There is this great moment when she asks Wolverine, for a friend, to learn more about Colossus – as this friend of hers, thinks he is pretty cute. Which friend could this possibly be!?! Storm? Of course, Logan knows what is going on. He sums Colossus with – Russian and turns his body into steel. Then shuts down her request to listen to music.
Kitty is thinking of new superhero names for herself. She throws out Phantom Girl, which is the name of a Legion of Superheroes member with similiar powers to Kitty. To the point when they did Amalgam, in Spider-Boy Team-Up – these two characters were combined to create both Phantom Cat and then a different version of the same character when the timeline changed. Such a fun issue that one was! We’ll review it eventually.
There was a moment in time when I wanted to collect all of Phantom Girl’s appearances (to be my DC Kitty) but she is a mainstray of the Legion of Superheroes so I would be buying every issue and that got expensive fast! Plus, the constant reboots, I didn’t do it.
There is an ad for Wolverine crashing in on Spider-Man’s Brand New Day in Amazing Spider-Man 555. Which they reached issue 700 two years ago, so that should put it in perspective, of how long ago that was. By Zeb Wells and Chris Bachalo, I bet I would have enjoyed that run.
Once they land in West Virgina, Wolverine tells her to stay in the plane. Kitty puts up a fight but we get this terrific moment from Wolverine. He tells her that she is a nice kid and nice kids have no business being around him, or him around them. The stuff that is in his head, shouldn’t be taught or put into anyone else’s head. We see that he really likes her (or the concept of her) and is really looking out for her.
Xavier only wanted to send these two as if the entire team went, then that might peak Magneto’s interest.
Kitty phases through the plane and tells him that she is suppose to be on this mission and will be going with him.
They get to town and see that it is completely deserted. Logan senses fear, and lots of it. He reveals that they are surrounded, and Kitty asks why they are still in the middle of the street. Logan teaches her, her first lesson – when you don’t know what you are up against, make yourself an easy target to lore out the enemy. Seems like good advice from a guy with a healing factor and metal stabbing claws that come out of his hands.
The towns folk come out but start talking crazily! One guy suspects they are with his stealing neighbor. Another one notices they are wearing masks and thinks they are robbers. Finally, the town settles on them being muties. Kitty hasn’t heard the word before but knows it isn’t positive.
There is the first of many ads for Iron Man’s first movie, the first one is for cakes.com and you can get a cake or cupcakes with Iron Man on it! Not sure how good a cake from a website can be, how does that thing get packed and how does the frosting and such stay in place? Too many questions!
The two X-Men run to the supermarket, just like in Fallout 3 or more like Dead Rising. Once in there, Logan succumbs to his fear and starts lashing out at the town folk. Kitty has gets struck by massive fear and runs away.
Kitty comes across a house with mutie spray painted on it. She feels a kinship with the building and goes inside. Once there, she sees a picture of the mutant girl they are here to help. The nice thing is that the girl, Melissa, has a normal looking boyfriend and was part of the soccer team. The town accepted her, even though she has reptile scales.
Kitty, proving that she is a genius, grabs a jacket and runs back to the supermarket – she has figured out what has happened.
We see that, luckily, Logan hasn’t killed everyone, they look like they have just been punched hard. He turns his attention to Kitty, she tries to reason with him. Finally, she tells him her plan – she wants him to get Melissa’s scent off the jacket and track her down. This makes him start thinking with his human mind instead of his animal instincts and he snaps out of it. Kitty writes in her diary – that she suspects his inner hero tamed the beast.
They find Melissa, she was stranded in the woods. Her mutant power is to broadcast emotion. She was hoping to broadcast a distress signal but all she did was broadcast her distress.
I really like di Vito’s attention to detail here. When Wolverine an Kitty come to Melissa’s shelter that she created, we can see in Wolverine’s hands that he is carrying a blanket, a first aid kit and a thermos. We learn later that it has chicken soup in it.
As they are leaving the woods, Kitty tries to get Logan to compliment her. He tells her that is very unlady like but for her first rodeo, it could have gone worst. She takes it for what it is.
Back at the Mansion. Kitty overhears Logan and Xavier talking. Logan can’t believe Xavier sent Kitty along on the mission knowing that an emotion manipulator was the target. He could have hurt her. Xavier reveals that the threat of Wolverine’s berserker rages is nothing compared to his fear of those rages. He knew that Kitty could reach him.
Logan makes a comment about how this is like when you give a stray a puppy to tame it, which is something I’ve never heard of before. I guess it makes sense, do people actually do that, though? Seems like a lot of work to adopt a dog and then to buy a puppy but if it helps the stray, then that is a good thing. Just expensive!
We see that Kitty is ease-dropping via phasing her ear through the wall. She’s so good with her powers!
Kitty runs from the office as Logan leaves the room, thinking that Charlies may not be as dumb as he appears. Everyone is getting respect for everyone!
Back in Kitty’s room, she is finishing her journal entry. I also like what di Vito does here, the final page matches the very first page – Kitty at her desk, gets called from outside. Instead of Colossus in the middle panel, it is Wolverine. He just bought a used motorcycle and wants to see if Kitty wants to learn how to ride it. She runs out of the room the way she did on the first page. Such a nice way to show the bookends of the issue.
Really is a great series, I wish it went on for more than 21 issues but I was also buying the trades as they came out. I was donating them to my wife’s classroom as they are great for early readers, plus, plenty of Wolverine, and expose them secretly to Kitty Pryde.