Hello Kitty!

If you know me, then you know that one of my favorite characters in comics (well, in all fiction, really) is Kitty Pryde.  Even if you don’t know me that well, if you’ve been reading this blog for long enough, her name has popped up from time to time.  What I don’t know is whether Kitty being one of my favorite characters is the cause or effect of my general love for intelligent, spunky female characters.

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Anyways…knowing how much I like the character, Caroline and others suggested that I check out Marvel’s Wolverine: First Class.  So, as soon as I had a chance, I picked up The Rookie, which collects the first four issues of the series.

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This is actually Marvel’s second First Class series.  While X-Men: First Class focuses on “lost stories” of Xavier and his first five students, Wolverine: First Class is set after Xavier assembled the “All New, All Different” X-Men during the Krakoa incident.  Obviously, as the name suggests, Wolverine is the star of the book.  But, his co-star is none other than Katherine “Kitty” Pryde.

After reading the first trade, I think this might be my favorite book that Marvel is currently publishing.  First of all, I really like the idea of “lost stories”–they are a great way to provide fun stories without really worrying about the current state of affairs.  Also, I kind of miss the days when the X-Men were running around being real superheroes and not freedom fighters or activists, and that’s the time period we’re in with First Class.

These types of stories also allow a fun bit of foreshadowing, if done right.  Luckily, writer Fred Van Lente (with amazing art from Andrea Di Vito), does it right.  In the second issue (“Surprise!!”), not only do we get to see Sabretooth try to kill Wolverine on his birthday, like he does every year (presumably because he really liked the movie Donovan’s Reef), but Kitty refers to herself as being “totally a ninja.”  Why is that awesome?  Well, under Wolverine’s tutelage, Ms. Pryde does, eventually, totally become a ninja.  Then there’s Kitty’s crush on Peter Rasputin, which was there from her very first appearance and played out in full tear-jerking Whedon fashion in Astonishing X-Men.  Also, as a nod to the way things were back in the day, Kitty refers to Wolverine’s claws as being “implanted” (y’see, when Wolverine first showed up, everyone assumed his claws were bionic implants–we didn’t learn they were bone until after Magneto ripped the adamantium out of Wolverine’s body in the early ’90s).

Since this series is set back when Wolverine first joined the X-Men, he’s still really rough around the edges.  Ol’ Logan became so popular over the years and popped up in pretty much every book Marvel publishes, that most folks probably forget what a cranky bastard he was in the beginning.  When Wolverine joined the X-Men, he was conceived as the fly in the ointment, the monkey in the wrench.   It was Wolverine’s relationship with Kitty that showed us (and him) that he was more than just a beast pretending to be a man.  And, it was something that worked so well that Marvel did it again and again, first with Jubilee and now with Armor.  But, let’s get something straight, Kitty was there first (she’s actually called Wolverine’s “intern” more than once in the first few issues).

Yeah, so I guess the short version is “I really enjoyed Wolverine: First Class and will be reading it from now on.”

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5 responses to “Hello Kitty!

  1. throughthebrush

    I’m so glad you took that advice. Wolverine: First Class is my favorite current ongoing series, and each issue is such a gem. Your review here really gets to the core of it, too–the interplay between spunky Kitty and gruff Wolverine, the little bits of foreshadowing, the fun that can be had when a book isn’t tied to current continuity. I’m glad you’re enjoying this, and look forward to your reactions to future issues.

    (And your list of “intelligent, spunky female characters” is a list of some of my favorite characters, too, so I suppose my own love of Kitty shouldn’t have come as as much of a surprise as it did.)

  2. Okay, I am totally buying this. I just wish I wasn’t losing my job soon… *sigh* How will I afford all the things I want?! 😉

    Seriously, though, this is such a great post. I love Kitty (and Wolverine). I grew to like Kitty a bit later on – I was completely into the X-Men when it was Jubilee with Wolvie, but I went back and read some of the older issues later on. I remember her more with some guy called Pete Wisdom (?)… Um… am I going crazy? Is that right?

  3. Yay, I’m so glad you liked it! It’s so nice to have a book where Kitty is running around being awesome. And it’s getting to the point where the ‘First Class’ version of Wolverine is the only one I can read. It’s tempting to say that I wish FVL were writing the “real” book, because he understands the character so well, but I’m just happy with this book being what it is.

  4. @Jennifer It’ll be tough to un-seat Buffy Season 8 from the top spot, but this one comes close to being my favorite on-going series (thankfully, I don’t consider the Hellboy books as “on-going”…so it makes things easier). If your list is the same as mine, check out Cassandra Clare’s CITY OF BONES. The main character–Clary Fray–is right up there with Kitty, Willow and Hermione.

    @Karen Now I feel guilty telling you about awesome things right after you lost your job. But, buck up, you’re not crazy: Kitty was involved with ex-British spook Peter Wisdom when she was part of Excalibur. That girl sure does dig older men.

    @Caroline If I can’t have Joss writing him, I’ll take FVL (although, I’m ashamed to say I think Van Lente’s Wolvie is better than Joss’). I’m also loving the new storyline with Jack Russell (both the lamest and the coolest secret ID name, ever!).

  5. It’s okay. I ordered it – too late for regrets! 😉

    Oh yes! Excalibur… I used to collect that. Doh!

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