Tag Archives: Kitty Pryde

Today’s Super Comic — Excalibur #85 (1995)

Ah, the good old days when you could slap Wolverine on a cover and sell more comics, regardless of how little he was actually in the issue.

In the case of Excalibur #85, Wolverine appears only in flashback to dispense advice to the true star of the issue—Kitty Pryde, a.k.a. Shadowcat.

Two magicians want to kill her on account of a magical sword that belonged to Kitty’s late best friend, Illyana (Magick of the New Mutants). The Soulsword is presently bonded to Kitty, making her a target. (What better plot device for a book named “Excalibur” than a magical sword?) One of those crazy magicians has possessed Nightcrawler, and the rest of the team is out of commission. So Kitty has to outwit and outfight a madman who’s wearing the body of one of her closest friends.

The battle shows how far she’s come since her early days as the X-Men’s annoying teen sidekick. In the present, out of all the many X-related characters that have accumulated over the years, Kitty stands out as one of the best…thanks in part to the growing up she did in the pages of Excalibur.

Some time abroad is good for the soul, I suppose.

Writer: Warren Ellis

Penciler: Ken Lashley

Inker: Tom Wegrzyn

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Excalibur Visionaries – Warren Ellis, vol. 1 (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (2015)

guardians-of-the-galaxy-1I’m still not a fan of Marvel’s habit of renumbering their titles every couple of years or so. But if they must, this was a reasonably appropriate point to give Guardians of the Galaxy a fresh start.

A few months or so have passed since the conclusion of the previous series, and the Guardians’ lineup continues to add representatives from various regions of the Marvel Universe. They’ve had Spider-Man’s Venom (Flash Thompson) for a while. The X-Men’s Kitty Pryde joined late in the previous run. And now the Fantastic Four’s Thing has left Earth and begun guarding the galaxy (if you want to know what time it is in space, he’ll be happy to answer). Combined with the Guardians’ regulars, this series should never lack for clever banter.

And meanwhile, Peter Quill is king of Spartax, which isn’t the most suitable role for him, thereby producing an entertaining situation for the reader.

I liked the previous series, but I’m greatly enjoying this latest iteration. The humor is stronger, the action is more fun, and the cosmic plots feel more exciting. Now if only there was some way to work in a ‘70s soundtrack, we’d be all set.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Valerio Schiti

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Guardians of the Galaxy: The New Guard, Vol. 1: Emperor Quill (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Guardians of the Galaxy #26 (2015)

guardians-of-the-galaxy-26This is a fun premise: Peter Quill is elected president of a whole planet—without his consent. So now he must decide whether he, as a guy who loves to rail against the establishment, is the right guy to lead the establishment. And meanwhile, the Guardians enjoy the presidential treatment.

It’s a relatively quiet issue compared to what comes before and after. Always nice to sprinkle some of those in and let everyone, including the reader, have a chance to catch their breath.

As an added bonus, the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde has joined the cast…which seems somewhat random, but more Kitty Pryde is always welcome. (First, Bendis paired her up with Spider-Man when he wrote Ultimate Spider-Man, and now he pairs her up with Starlord. Quite the wingman, that Bendis.) She’s not new to space adventure, but she brings a fresh perspective to the team.

All in all, a good time.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Valerio Schiti

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 5: Through the Looking Glass (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Uncanny X-Men #183 (1984)

uncanny-x-men-183One of the nice things about comics—if a character acts like a total jerk, someone like the Juggernaut comes along to beat him senseless.

Uncanny X-Men #183 expertly blends soap opera and comic book sensibilities into a memorable outing. Colossus breaks Kitty Pryde’s heart (though seriously, that was a creepy relationship—he was 19 and she was 14…creepy), so Wolverine takes him out to a bar to chat man-to-man (with Nightcrawler tagging along/chaperoning). And by sheer random happenstance, the Juggernaut is there and Colossus bumps into him. Barfight ensues.

A nice touch on writer Chris Claremont’s part is having Wolverine decide to keep himself and Nightcrawler out of the battle—let Colossus endure the punishment he deserves for his heartlessness and maybe learn a lesson in the process.

It’s a classic issue, and the sort the X-Men excel at. Not every battle is about good vs. evil.

Writer: Chris Claremont

Artist: John Romita, Jr.

Inker: Dan Green

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Essential X-Men vol. 5 (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 10 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1 (2005)

Ultimate_Spider-Man_Annual_Vol_1_1Spider-Man works best as a teenager. Sure, great stories about an adult Spider-Man are possible and do exist, but the awkward teenage years are a perfect match for the character.

The Marvel Universe Spider-Man had entered his twenties long ago, however, so how could they tell teenage Spidey stories that weren’t flashbacks?

The answer was the Ultimate imprint, which featured rebooted versions of popular characters in a new shared continuity. The line as a whole was a bit of a mixed bag, but Brian Michael Bendis’s take on Spider-Man perfectly captured the spirit of the character while modernizing all the classic elements. And he capitalized on story opportunities that weren’t possible in the established Marvel Universe—such as Spidey and the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde becoming great friends and a potential couple.

And that’s the main idea of this annual—two teenagers trying to connect despite and because of their unconventional situations. Charm abounds. It’s the sort of comic that just puts a smile on your face.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Mark Brooks

Inkers: Jaime Mendoza and Scott Hanna

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; Ultimate Spider-Man vol. 15: Silver Sable (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 11 and up