UXM # 149 - 153 (September 1981 - January 1983)
X-Men Annual # 5
Wolverine: First Class - Entire Series
Let me give you fair warning. I'm a Kitty Pryde fan. These issues have cemented that for me. And you know what? I think Chris Claremont is too.
So why do I love Kitty? First, there is her adorable constant wardrobe changes. She's trying out a new outfit/costume with each issue, and this will reach new heights once she gets into space for the Brood saga. She has all the best relationships! Ever since seeing that she marries Peter in the Days of Future Past storyline, she has a budding romance with him (And I won't comment on their age difference). Kitty has her mother figure in Storm and their relationship is fantastic. Wolverine is her mentor. He treats her a bit rough, but you can tell he would die for her and completely respects her.
Good old Dave Cockrum is on hand for #149 - 150, Jim Sherman & Bob McLeod hold down the fort for a while and then Cockrum comes back for #154 where he'll begin an extended run until Paul Smith takes over in #165, which we'll talk about next issue to cover the Brood Saga.
In #150 we also get a gigantic character moment for Magneto. I had been commenting about him being a pretty straight forward villain and I was waiting for some of that nuance which he is known for, but this is where it starts. Magneto was doing more general evil guy stuff, until he accidentally hurts Kitty and realizes she's a child. This makes him snap out of it hardcore, he abandons his evil plot, and cries about how his actions almost endangered a child. Pretty deep stuff and I can't get enough of it. Claremont had the following to say about this moment in the documentary "Claremont's X-Men":
"The beautiful paradigm of Kitty’s presence in the X-Men was that suddenly we had a young, Jewish hero, that was everything Magneto was fighting for. And the seminal moment in 150 is he damn near kills her. Not because he had anything against her, but he reacted, he saw the costume, she was attacking him, he struck back, and then realized OMG it’s a little girl.
But within the context of the character that I was building, this is also a man who 20 years older had seen his won daughter, the same age, burn to death, because she was different, and that was bringing home in a primal sense, a personal sense, I am becoming that which I had fought my entire life. Am I a good man who can reform himself through will or am I inevitably a monster?"
My Rating - 9/10
Magneto's character moment alone in #150 is enough to push me to a 9/10
Well, let's get into it!
Issue # 149
Kitty is pretty darn cute, constantly trying to design her new costume.
The theme of Charles being a dick continues. She strolls in being light hearted and fun but he quickly starts yelling at her.
Luckily the rest of the team has more fun with her. Lol @ Colossus saying the outfit is "neat."
Professor X is sending the X-Men on an away mission to the volcano where they last saw Magneto. Charles thinks it's weird that they haven't heard from Magneto in a while, so he wants to try to seek him out to check up on him. Kitty wasn't invited on this mission since she's an X-Man in training, but Wolverine finds her hiding in a storage closet.
The X-Men go inside the volcano and it's clear that Magneto is no longer there, nor has been there for quite some time. What they do find though is Garokk, one of the throwaway villains from an earlier issue. I woudn't fault you for forgetting who he was. The only thing memorable about him was that he was thrown off a cliff and Storm tried to save him (because she refused to take a life or let one go on her watch), but failed. Well, we learn that Magneto saved him at the last second and now he watches over this site for him.
A battle takes place and the X-Men are getting their asses kicked for the most part, except Kitty who realizes that she can affect him by phasing through him. Once again, Kitty dives headfirst into action and through bravery and cunning shows that she could be an impactful part of the team.
Garrok creates another hole so that he could get revenge on Storm. He throws her in the hole, but in typical throwaway villain behavior he ends up falling in himself and dies for realz this time (I think). Kitty used her new ability to walk on air to catch Storm before she gets all the way to the bottom.
Issue # 150: Magneto goes from Psycho to Psycho-lite
While the X-Men failed to find Magneto at his old volcano, we already knew that Magneto was in his floating fortress in the Bermuda Triangle up to no good. It turns out that he has another maniacal plan to take over the world and he puts all of the world's leaders on watch. At this point, it looks like Magneto is still not turning into that nuanced character, however we do start to see that pivot.
Magneto tries to convince Cyclops of the merits of his plan, but he's not having it. Also, him and Lee decided to play dress up.
The Russians try and fail to preempt his plan, so as a demonstration of his power he unleashes some volcanic activity in a Russian city. He does not hurt any civilians in this attack.
Professor X finds him using Cerebro and The X-Men decide to sneak onto the island to stop him.
After entering the fortress (and discovering the island is disabling their powers), they meet back up with Cyclops and we officially re-enter the 6th member of our team. But who's in charge now? Scott or Orroro?
We get a REALLY crazy scene here. Storm finds Magneto sleeping in his lair and seriously considers killing him in her sleep. She thinks about how Wolverine would do it without hesitation. This is a huge step as we know Storm vowed never to take another life, but with the responsibility of saving the world on her shoulders, she seriously considers it. I see this as the start of a shift in Storm that gets really fascinating as we progress through the series. Magneto wakes up and attacks her, denying her the chance to make the decision.
The X-Men decide to start destroying his machines, hoping it will thwart his evil plans.
Professor X tries to do a mental attack on Magneto from a boat outside of the zone where powers stop working. Notice Carol Danvers is still hanging around, looking sexy of course. Magneto has a chilling response as he starts dismantling the chair (and boat) Charles is sitting on to stop him.
This ends with everyone on the boat captured and used as leverage.
Storm recovered from her attack in the bedroom and brakes the device dismantling the X-Men's powers. Not it's fighting time!
The X-Men actually get their ass handed to them, until Magneto strikes at Kitty before having a major conflict. He realizes that he just hurt a child and completely freaks out. It's one thing for him to send millions to their death, but to see that his actions hurt an innocent mutant child is too much for him. He also starts talking about his dead wife and how she wouldn't have approved of this. We're starting to get conflicted Magneto!
I'm going to do a separate blog on Magneto in a little bit when he starts to have an even more profound heel turn in upcoming content.
A fun little scene takes place as Kitty tells the other X-Men that she is going to use the "Force" to raise their ship out of the water.
It turns out that Cyclops went down to raise it, but she was just having a little fun. I love it!
Issue 151 - 152: It's the 80's so let's do a Body Swap
Charles hears from Kitty's parents that they have decided to enroll her in Emma Frost (The White Queen's) Massachusetts academy. Charles clarifies that he did a mind probe and there doesn't seem to be any foul play, so he realizes he has no choice but to let her go. Kitty is unsurprisingly upset.
I love how Wolvie is just like "Why don't you fuck with their minds?"
Of course, Storm comes to her room to calm her down and be there for her.
Before Kitty leaves, she sneaks in a kiss with Peter. We hadn't necessarily seen confirmation that they were together so whether she is just going for it or they were a couple is unknown. Still not going to talk about how she is only 13...
Storm surprises Kitty by agreeing to drive her there. Kitty ends up realizing that there are a lot of kids there her age and it might not be quite so terrible after all.
Before Storm takes off, she is confronted by Emma, however we aren't shown what happens.
As Storm is driving home, she pulls on the side of the road and uncharacteristically lets loose and starts a massive storm just for kicks.
It turns out this is a classic 80's body swap! Storm wakes up in Emma's body.
Meanwhile, back at the mansion the X-Men are enjoying a peaceful night. Kurt (Nightcrawler is hanging out with his boo, Amanda Sefton the witch).
Until Sentinels appear out of the local river and start attacking.
There's a fight that's going pretty well until Storm shows up to "help." Well, she ends up zapping the unsuspecting X-Men and taking them hostage.
At the mansion, the Hellfire Club shows up and captures the rest of the X-Men. Hey, that's Harry Leland! I told you he was dead when he increased Wolverine's mass on top of himself. My bad, I really thought he was dead. I guess not!
Emma as Storm shows up and shows off her hot new bod along with Sebastian Shaw of course.
Kitty shows up out of no where and phases through all of their inhibitor devices, frying their circuits and turning them off! But how did she get free?
Storm as Emma used her lockpicking skills to break out of her room.
She broke Kitty out of her dorm and drove like a maniac towards the mansion. Kitty didn't believe it was really Storm for most of the trip until she did cute things like calling her "Kitten" and she started to believe it. Emma as Storm showed up and started messing with them.
She caused a gigantic crash and Emma was actually freaking out because she thought she just torched her real body.
She didn't really die though (duh). After Kitty freed the X-Men, Storm showed up to start en epic female brawl. Eventually Storm wings telepathy and swaps their minds back into their proper bodies.
Afterwards, Emma is so distraught (for some reason) about Shaw being hurt that she agrees to leave the X-Men alone. She really seems genuine and I have no idea whether she keeps her word or not. I know Emma is one of those mutants who has an on again off again relationship, so maybe this is where she starts to turn good?! I really don't know. We'll find out together.
Issue # 153: Kitty's Fairytale
In 153 we get a cute little departure from the serious storylines. The X-Men are all walking around busy re-building the mansion. I forgot how the mansion got destroyed this time. Was it from the Sentinels? Had they not finished fixing it since Kitty wrecked it? Regardless the main story takes place as Kitty volunteers to put cute little Ilyana Rasputin to bed by telling her a fairy tale.
We start by seeing the colorful cast of characters for this story. I'll let you buy the issue if you want to see the whole silly thing, but I'll fill you in a few entertaining parts.
Look, it's Jean! Remember, we're just in a fairy tale. As an aside to those blog readers out there who are experiencing this for the first time with me, I'm starting to get curious about Jean. I know she comes back eventually, but I have no idea how. She's been gone for a while and I don't think she'll be coming back for a little bit longer. Ha, Professor X is a wixard on a floating carpet.
Oh, oh, I think this is actually important. In the fairy tale, she names the Blackbird as Lockheed the dragon. Kind of clever actually as Lockheed is the company that makes military fighter crafts. This is important because I know a real dragon named Lockheed will show up eventually, yet I have no idea when or how.
Look at this cute little Nightcrawler Bamf character. I want a Bamf plushie!
Kurt and Logan are secretly listening to the story through the door. Look, there's Carol! Still around!
When the story is done, the full team was outside listening and they loved the story!
X-Men Annual # 5: Dumb Badoons
Ok, serious point here. These Annual stories are being put on watch! If they keep sucking, I may stop covering them altogether. That Fantastic Four Annual was bananas, but I have yet to see an impactful X-Men one.
Ok, ok so we start with typical Fantastic Four Stuff. Reed is working hard, Sue is getting annoyed with him for not paying attention to the kid.
Out in the streets we see that a Shi'ar woman is tracking some invisible Badoons (reptilian alien race).
The Shi'Ar is killed and the Badoon capture the F4 Men. Sue went invisible and escaped.
Sue shows up in the middle of the night exhausted with Franklin (remember, he's a powerful mutant!) She remembered that the X-Men have a relationship with the Shi'ar so she was hoping the could help.
Kitty tries out another new costume. Oh, Kitty.
Ok, I don't know how Shi'ar and Badoon turned into them needing to go to Arkon's home planet, but that's where they go. Arkon is that Thor looking guy who had kidnapped Storm to sacrifice her to save her planet, but then she ended up being worshipped there? Another pointless Annual. It turns out that the Badoon took over this planet.
Sue and Storm sneak in to the royal palace to rescue the F4.
The rest of the X-Men bust in through the front door.
It turns into an all out brawl and the good guys win!
It all ends well with Kitty dressed as a Goddess and gives Colossus a metal boner.
I want to make a quick plug here for a series that was published many years later (2008) called Wolverine: First Class. Marvel knows it can make bank when it dips back into the core X-Men Years. Wolverine: First Class focuses on Kitty being "mentored" by Wolverine and boy is it great. This is not a series that you need to read for major plot points, but boy does it have heart. It is really funny, truly captures the best of Kitty, and demonstrates an amazing relationship between these two. There are a number of points in the main continuity where Logan has Kittys back, hard, which makes me appreciate this series that much more. Not mandatory reading, but a strong recommendation from me!
***There's even an amazing issue about Multiple Man when one of his clones (or copies?) refuses to go back. I don't know how this happened, but Jamie Madrox has turned into a character I can't wait to learn more about.
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