Kitty Pryde: Where Do I Start?

2078491-1193108_kitty_prydeSuper-heroes don’t often get to grow up, but Kitty Pryde did… and still is.

Introduced in 1980’s Uncanny X-Men #129 by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, Kitty became the inexperienced young ingenue in the X-Men household and a sort of sidekick for the team. Through the years she’s grown in fits and starts to become a key part of the franchise, from student to full member and on to being a team leader and now Headmistress of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. She’s the girl next door for superhero fans, equal parts innocent and spunky and one of the most fully nuanced personalities at Marvel outside perhaps Spider-Man or Daredevil. In this week’s Where Do I Start?, we chronicle the Illinois native and the key stories from her recruitment into the X-Men to being a trained ninja assassin, a soldier from the future, head of a school of mutants, and one time saving the world.

And hanging out with Lockheed.

Uncanny-X-Men_141Essential X-Men, Vol. 2: This series a must-have for Kitty Pryde fans, collecting everything from her first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #129 all the way to the debut of her aged, future self in the “Days of Future Past” story-arc. Claremont and Byrne are at the top of their game here, introducing Pryde as a pawn between the Hellfire Club and the X-Men and then later using the newly introduced mutant as the soft, seemingly defenseless young mutant in a team full of fully-trained heroes.

Kitty Pryde & Wolverine: Wolverine’s well known for his forays to Asia, but people often overlook Kitty’s time there. This miniseries by Chris Claremont and Al Milgrom is the sequel to the original Wolverine series, where Kitty goes to Japan to rescue her father and ends up being manipulated by Ogun into becoming an assassin to kill Wolverine. This shows Shadowcat becoming more than just a inexperienced teen mutant but a capable fighter on her own, and also cements the doting relationship she has with Wolverine.

Essential X-Men, Vol. 4: Although not as packed as Vol. 2 for Kitty stories, this does contain two stand-outs: the “Professor X Is A Jerk!” issue of Uncanny X-Men (#168, if you must know) as well as the graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills which shows Kitty as a key character humanizing mutantkind in the face of persecution. Getting back to Uncanny X-Men #168, this is arguably one of Kitty’s finest moments as she stands up to Xavier as only a teenager could with news that she would be put in a class with younger teens to train at the school.

Astonishing X-Men Omnibus: Before Joss Whedon make movie gold with The Avengers movie, he came to the publisher years prior and did the unenviable task of following up after Grant Morrison’s New XMen run. In addition to bringing back their superhero outfits, he also brought back Kitty as the emotional center of the 1139474-uncanny522cover_02group with shades of Whedon’s Buffy-era snarkiness and sensitivity. From standing up to Emma Frost, helping readers understand the lay of the land at the X-Mansion during that time and ultimately taking a bullet for Earth, she had a great run in this title.

Excalibur Visionaries: Warren Ellis, Vol. 1:  Imagine if Marvel gave Warren Ellis the reigns of a second-tier X-Men book and let him have free reign? They did, way back in 1994. Pairing with other future superstars like Terry Dodson and Carlos Pacheco, Ellis crafted a great run of issues spotlighting the Excalibur team, with Kitty Pryde at the center of it. This collection brings together issues #83-90 as well as the Pryde & Wisdom miniseries, with two Pryde-centric trilogies: “Soul Sword” and “Dream Nails.” From Kitty coming into possession of Illyana’s Soul Sword, to meeting her one-time boyfriend Pete Wisdom and their ensuing romance. Up until this point Pryde had been written as a slightly immature level to her fellow teammates in the X-Men and Excalibur, but Ellis crafted her long-overdue ascension into adulthood — with all the requisite mistakes and lessons along the way.

Uncanny X-Men #153: I almost left this one off the list, but after re-reading it this morning I couldn’t short this gem. This one-off story by Claremont and Dave Cockrum shows Kitty telling a fairy tale story to the then child Illyana Rasputin, re-casting her teammates in the X-Men in various fairy tale guises. This is collected in Essential X-Men Vol. 3 if you want to find it in print, but it’s also available digitally.


  1. One glaring omission to this list is Wolverine: First Class. Now that was a fantastic Kitty Pride-centric read.

  2. I can also recommend the mini ‘Kitty Pryde: Shadow & Flame’ where she revisits characters and situations in Japan from the above mentioned ‘Wolverine & Kitty Pryde.’ Published in the mid 00’s and illustrated by Paul Smith. It is gorgeous.

  3. I’ve always liked her character, but I’ve never really read TOO much on her. Thanks for the list! 🙂

    • Astonishing X-men (Whedon and Cassaday’s run) was a great story with Kitty &Colossus (my fav X-man).
      Try the first 2 trades(her shinning moment being in the last TPB, a great payoff!!)

  4. Shoryuken!

  5. Plus she is mentioned in a Weezer song!

  6. The Warren Ellis ‘Pryde & Wisdom’ period of Excalibur was really good. I see a lot of that characterisation in later work by Whedon and Bendis with the character.

    I would say though, that the development of Kitty into and adult was far from exclusive to that run. It was part of the remit of Excalibur from day one – when Alan Davis deliberately began drawing Kitty a little bit older. By the time Davis is writing and pencilling the book Kitty really has kinda begun to grow up. Far more like a Student in her first year at College than a teenager at school.