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.
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.
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.”