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X-Men: Kitty Pryde and Wolverine (Marvel Premiere Classic) Hardcover – August 6, 2008
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The series focuses on a new direction in the Kitty Pryde character, transforming her into the ninja Shadowcat after her abduction by an evil, immortal ninja.
Wolverine comes to Japan to save Kitty and along the way offers her some training in the ways of the assassin.
In many ways, this mini-series serves as a companion piece to the Claremont-Miller Wolverine mini-series. If you have read that, you should definitely read this.
This mini-series would also be greatly enjoyed by fans of the X-men, and anyone who loves good writing and art. In short, it's a true classic.
This was the first superhero comic I ever saw, stumbling across it in a pile of TV guide magazines, as an infant but couldn't read it because it was written in Italian or German (weird because no one in my family speaks either language). But I could look at the artwork and was mesmerised by Allen Milgrom's drawings. When I first saw this I wondered how the young woman could fall through solid objects like building's floors or how the masked guy with the knives in his hands could keep living after being stabbed with swords so many times. The ninja's demon mask, the sequence where Kitty is brainwashed by Ogun, the panel where Kitty runs Logan through with a katana - it all came back to me when I picked this up recently. So 25+ years after first encountering it, I sat down to read this mini-series from 1984.
And it's not bad! I'm not the biggest fan of 80s comics, they tend to have the kind of tropes that annoy me like too much exposition, the panels are crowded with too many thought bubbles, the storylines are a little tame - and this book is no different. But it's a lot better than Chris Claremont's other, more famous Wolverine book he did with Frank Miller, also set in Japan. For one thing, the focus is more on Kitty than Wolverine and Claremont writes her really well. The first issue, while exposition/thought bubble heavy, is really interesting as we see Kitty go from ice skating to hitching a ride to Japan to figuring out how to survive in a foreign land with no money, all of which, despite her powers, prove more difficult than she first thought.
Then the second chapter builds on Kitty's character further as we see the nightmarish demon masked ninja brainwash Kitty to become a mindless killer. Milgrom draws this sequence by putting Kitty in a spotlight surrounded by darkness then having her hair cut by a katana. Kitty is drawn as an infant slowly growing through the panels to the young woman she is in an ingenious depiction of breaking someone down and rebuilding them.
The `80s was full of stories where there was a wise master teaching a young pupil the ways of some kind of discipline - think Yoda/Luke, Miyagi/Daniel-san, Rocky/Apollo - and Claremont obliges by providing a sequence here with Wolverine acting as brutal sensei to young Kitty. The only thing missing was synth music.
It's not all perfect, the `80s tics I mentioned are a bit annoying and the ending has a lengthy wrapping-up speech from Kitty which reads very tritely, but I still felt this was a very good book. Solid artwork from Milgrom, decent writing by Claremont, "Kitty Pryde & Wolverine" is one of the better Marvel books from the `80s that still holds up today.