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X-Man Kitty Pryde Enters the Battlerealm in Marvel Contest of Champions

Once an X-Man — Always an X-Man — Kitty Pryde enters The Contest in Kabam’s MARVEL Contest of Champions!

Katherine “Kitty” Pryde led the life of a normal teenager until she began suffering headaches of steadily increasing intensity as a result of her emerging mutant powers. Seeing her potential, Phoenix telepathically coerced Kitty’s parents into allowing her to join Xavier’s “school for gifted youngsters” where she quickly became the youngest member of the X-Men. During her adventures Kitty encountered and befriended a small alien dragon-like creature named “Lockheed” who quickly became her constant companion and travel buddy!

Check out Kitty Pryde’s Champion Spotlight, which details her abilities, history, strengths and recommended masteries.

Other MARVEL Contest of Champions updates, including bug fixes, balance updates, the MARAUDER MYSTERIES event, SHANG-CHI’S CLOSE QUARTERS challenge and more can be found HERE. Stay tuned for more as Nimrod enters The Contest soon!

Guest Post: The Choice That Defined Kitty Pryde

The below is a guest post courtesy of Priya Saxena exploring the choice by Kitty Pryde to become an X-Man. Priya enjoys reading comics and writing about comics. She hopes to one day own every single issue of the original New Mutants series (except #98, because screw Deadpool) Follow Priya on Twitter.

In the world of the X-Men, one becomes a mutant through birth – arbitrarily – but one must make the conscious choice to become an X-Man. This is the choice that 13-year-old Kitty Pryde is forced to wrestle with soon after she learns that she is a mutant. In Uncanny X-Men #129-131, Kitty becomes entangled in the Hellfire Club’s plot to capture and eliminate several members of the X-Men. This series of issues is well known for kicking off the Dark Phoenix Saga, the storyline in which Jean Grey, known as Phoenix, taps into the dark, destructive side of her recently acquired cosmic powers after discovering she has been manipulated by Mastermind of the Hellfire Club. For this reason, critical examinations of these issues tend to focus on Jean, her descent into Dark Phoenix, and the effects this has on the characters surrounding her. However, these issues also serve as the heroic origin of Kitty Pryde. Although Kitty doesn’t formally join the X-Men until Uncanny X-Men #138, it is in issue #129 that she first truly chooses to be one of the X-Men – a choice she will continue to make again and again throughout her history.

Kitty Pryde

When we’re first introduced to Kitty in #129, she’s got a lot on her plate. She’s 13, her parents are splitting up, they’re looking to send her to boarding school, and she has been experiencing awful headaches. These headaches, we soon discover, have been brought on by Kitty’s emerging mutant power, something that has caught the attention of both the X-Men and the Hellfire Club. From the moment we meet her, it’s clear that Kitty is in a stage of her life that is full of change and upheaval. Equally clear is the fact that she is not happy about it. All she wants is for her life to go back to the way it was, before her parents began talking about divorce and before she starting getting these headaches.

It is no coincidence that we are introduced to Kitty as a teenager here. Many of her woes are related to the adolescent state she’s in, as someone who is not quite a child anymore but not yet an adult. Her parents’ impending divorce and their attempts to send her to boarding school signal the fracturing of her family and the end of her childhood. The emergence of her mutant power occurs at puberty, which previous X-Men comics have established is common for mutants. But the aches and fatigue which accompany the onset of her power are new to X-Men lore, and are rather reminiscent of menstruation symptoms – something else that arises at puberty. Initially, Kitty  is frightened by these changes and resistant to them. But like it or not, she must accept the way that her life is changing. Her story across these three issues of Uncanny X-Men is the story of an adolescent who is forced to choose who she is going to grow up to be.

In #129, Kitty comes home from dance lessons to find her parents talking with Ms. Emma Frost, representative of a school in Massachusetts and, unbeknownst to Kitty or her parents, the White Queen of the Hellfire Club. Even though Kitty doesn’t know about Frost’s villainous background, she immediately dislikes the woman. Right after Frost departs, the Pryde household is visited by Charles Xavier and several of his X-Men. Like Frost, Xavier seeks to convince Kitty’s parents to allow her to attend his school. But unlike Frost, Xavier’s intentions are good; while Frost intends to recruit Kitty into the Hellfire Club for nefarious purposes, Xavier wants her to join the X-Men so she can learn to control her powers and defend herself. While Xavier talks with Kitty’s parents, Kitty goes to the malt shoppe with the other X-Men. She decides she likes Ororo Munroe, known as Storm, as instantly as she had decided she disliked Frost. 

Kitty Pryde

Emma Frost and Storm are very clear parallels here. For Kitty, they represent the two possible paths she could take, although she doesn’t yet know just how drastically they are opposed to each other. She could go with Frost and become initiated into the Hellfire Club, deceiving and manipulating others for personal gain. Or she could go with Ororo and join the X-Men, protecting humanity from mutant threats and working to achieve Xavier’s dream of a world where humans and mutants are equal. Looking at Kitty’s amazed expression as Ororo tells her that she and the others are X-Men while they chat and have milkshakes together, it seems obvious that Kitty will choose Ororo and the X-Men over Emma and the Hellfire Club. However, the attack and abduction of the X-Men by the Hellfire club soon complicates things.

In the mayhem of the attack in the malt shoppe, Kitty accidentally uses her mutant power to escape, phasing outside the building. The X-Men fend off some of their attackers, but a telepathic attack from Frost, now in her White Queen attire, takes them down. Frost and some Hellfire goons load the unconscious X-Men onto their hovercraft. The final page of the issue shows Kitty sneaking onto the hovercraft using her phasing power and observing Frost and her lackeys rendering the X-Men defenseless. Kitty is horrified by this sight. She feels obligated to help the X-Men, but also recognizes that she is way out of her depth.

Kitty Pryde

Uncanny X-Men in this era is very interested in choices and their repurcussions. At the end of the Dark Phoenix Saga, Jean Grey makes the choice to sacrifice her life in order to stop Dark Phoenix from causing more death and destruction. A few issues later comes the Days of Future Past storyline, which imagines a grim, dystopian future for the X-Men that came about as the result of anti-mutant legislation in response to mutant terrorism. In both of these situations, it is the actions of one person or a small group of people at a particular point in time that have drastic effects on the rest of the world – the rest of the universe, even.

At the end of #129, Kitty is faced with a choice: whether or not to help the X-Men. The outcome may not be world-shattering, but it is nevertheless crucial for Kitty as a character. One option would be for her to simply turn around and leave the way she came, phasing through the back of the hovercraft and abandoning the X-Men. Neither the White Queen nor the X-Men would even know she had been there. She could allow the X-Men to meet whatever horrific fate the Hellfire Club has in mind for them, and wait at home for Ms. Frost to contact her family about boarding school again.

The other option is the more life-threatening one. Kitty could stay and try to help the X-Men escape. In doing so, she would be making an enemy of Emma Frost and the Hellfire Club. Given the Hellfire goon’s weapons and the White Queen’s psychic powers, Kitty could be caught, injured, or even killed. But at least she wouldn’t be turning her back on her newfound friends. Also, if she helps the X-Men, then they might be able to help her avoid the clutches of the Hellfire Club.

In #130, Kitty makes her choice. Hiding in the industrial complex where the White Queen has imprisoned the X-Men in cages, Kitty thinks, “I oughtta have my head examined, thinking I can free the X-Men all by myself. But I’ve got to do something. Storm is my friend. I can’t desert her—or the others.” In the next panel, as she sneaks toward the cage holding Storm, she thinks, “’Sides, from what I’ve heard, once these creeps are done with the X-Men, they’ll be coming after me!”

Kitty Pryde

In this moment, Kitty choses Storm over the White Queen. She chooses the X-Men over the Hellfire Club. In sneaking over to help Storm, she shows her allegiance to Storm and the rest of the X-Men. Although Kitty is well aware of the danger, she tries to help Storm anyway because of the friendship she feels toward her. This friendship causes her to feel a responsibility to help Storm and the other X-Men. Her desire for the X-Men to protect her from the Hellfire Club factors into her decision to help them, but it is secondary to her need to stand by her friends.

In a larger sense, this is Kitty taking her first step into her new life. Now that she has shown her allegiance to the X-Men, her life will be forever changed. In #130-131, she helps the X-Men by calling Xavier’s mansion for backup and, as Cyclops instructs, sneaking back into the compound and freeing Wolverine from his cage. It is frightening for her, this teenage girl who discovered her powers and met the X-Men only a few hours earlier. But Kitty and all the X-Men make it out safely, and it’s all thanks to Kitty’s help.

At the end of #131, Kitty returns home to her worried parents. But she won’t be staying there for too much longer. Kitty’s parents decide to send her to Xavier’s school (albeit in part due to Phoenix’s mental manipulation), and she shows up on the steps of the mansion in #138. From there on out, she begins training with the X-Men, learning to control her powers and becoming better acquainted with the other members of the team. She leaves her old family behind and integrates herself into a new one, all because of her decision to help the X-Men instead of fleeing. She takes this essential step in determining what kind of adult she is going to be and what kind of life she is going to live.

The X-Men are often described as a family, and that’s what they are to Kitty. In this tumultuous time in her life, with her parents splitting up and her powers emerging, she craves a stable core of people who will love and support her. She finds this in the X-Men. Not only do they welcome her onto the team, they nurture and guide her, both in the use of her powers and in her moral and psychological development.

The X-Men provide the sort of care that Kitty needs in this stage of her life as she transitions from child to adult. Kitty’s parents wouldn’t have been able to nurture Kitty in this way, because they are humans and because she has outgrown them for the time being. The Hellfire Club would have nurtured her in a very different way, perhaps grooming her to become evil just like them. So it is something very unique and valuable that Kitty Pryde receives from her time with the X-Men. Clearly she made the right and necessary choice for her personal development. Who she becomes going forward – X-Men member, Excalibur co-founder, X-Men schoolteacher, Marauders leader – can be traced back to this very crucial moment early on in her publishing history, where she chooses compassion and growth over cowardice.

X-Men Future Shock – Kitty Pryde and Nimrod Enter the Marvel Contest of Champions

The Contest continues as two new champions crawl into the Battlerealm – Kitty Pryde and Nimrod! Find out more about their stories in MARVEL Contest of Champions as Kabam debuted an all-new motion comic teasing the two new Champions coming to the popular mobile fighter. Here is a quick look at what The Contest has in store this coming month:

Tensions rise between the mutants of Clan Akkaba, the followers of Apocalypse, and the people of Krakoa, Xavier’s mutant-only island nation. Sabotage and subterfuge fuel the deepening rift, and heinous crimes are pinned on none other than Kitty Pryde! Tracking down leads with her and Wolverine, the summoner uncovers a plot that seeks to do far more than just smear the name of the young mutant…

CHARACTER BIOS

Katherine “Kitty” Pryde led the life of a normal teenager until she began suffering headaches of steadily increasing intensity as a result of her emerging mutant powers. Seeing her potential, Phoenix telepathically coerced Kitty’s parents into allowing her to join Xavier’s “school for gifted youngsters” where she quickly became the youngest member of the X-Men. During her adventures, Kitty encountered and befriended a small alien dragon-like creature named “Lockheed” who quickly became her constant companion and travel buddy!

Nimrod is the ultimate Sentinel. Constructed in a timeline where Mutants have been completely wiped out by the superior, infinitely advancing robotic beings. Upon realization that it’s one directive to exterminate all Mutants was no longer possible within Nimrod’s original timeline, this flawless, unstoppable force of destruction begins to jump to alternate timelines, ridding the multi-verse of the abhorrent Mutant scourge.

Both characters will arrive in the game in September, and fans can now check out the all-new motion comic – X-Men: Future Shock.

A NEW Phoenix Five Themed Update for Marvel Future Fight

Today, the Phoenix Force emerges from the ashes in Netmarble’s new update for their popular Super Hero mobile game MARVEL Future FightAgents will now be able to suit up with all-new characters, leverage their uniforms to conquer the latest Danger Room dungeon and much more.

MARVEL Future Fight’s Phoenix Five update introduces Kitty Pryde, Rachel Summers, and Kid Omega as they join the battle to save the universe. Phoenix Five-themed uniforms are also now available for Agents to collect.

In addition, today’s update introduces the Danger Room, a brand-new real-time player versus environment (PvE) dungeon where players enjoy 3-on-3 team battles. The goal is to fight in teams and eliminate the final Boss first before the opposing team. Exclusive growth system and character for the Danger Room will be added in the update as well.

Other additions and improvements to MARVEL Future Fight include:

  • Cyclops can be upgraded to Tier-3, with new added ultimate skills.
  • The ‘Realize Potential’ feature can now be unlocked for Kitty Pryde, Rachel Summers, Kid Omega and Cyclops.
  • Improved Alliance Tournament by refraining from tie scores so that winning alliance and MVP are clearly selected.

MARVEL Future Fight celebrated its four-year anniversary with over 100 million players across the world. The game is currently available worldwide in the App Store and Google Play.

Marvel Future Fight Phoenix

Coming This Summer from Diamond Select Toys: Bruce Lee, Kingdom Hearts 3 and More!

2019 is almost here, and Diamond Select Toys is already gearing up for summer! With six months to go until swimsuit season, Diamond Select Toys is offering pre-orders on a bunch of great items, based on Bruce Lee, DC Comics, Kingdom Hearts, Marvel Comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe! Read on for details, then pre-order through your local comic shop, or your favorite online retailer!

Bruce Lee Gallery Water PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! Be water, my friend! The Bruce Lee line of Gallery PVC dioramas kicks off with this 9-inch scale sculpture of the legend executing one of his trademark forms. Depicting his arms in motion, with a sculptural effect never before seen in the Gallery line, this piece represents the strength and grace of the martial arts legend. Sculpture comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Nelson X. Asencio, sculpted by Rocco Tartamella! (Item #DEC182502, SRP: $45.00)

DC Comic Gallery Flash PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! The DC Gallery line is picking up speed! This 9-inch scale PVC diorama of the Flash racing across a wave is the latest in the DC Gallery line. Made from high-quality plastic, this detailed sculpture delivers the look of a resin statue at a fraction of the price, and is in scale to all Gallery and Femme Fatales PVC dioramas. Flash Fact: It comes packaged in a full-color window box! Designed by Caesar. Sculpted by Joe Menna. (Item #DEC182503, SRP: $45.00)

DC Comic Gallery Dark Nights Metal Dawnbreaker PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! In brightest day, in blackest night, no goodness shall escape his sight! The next member of the Dark Knights to join the DC Gallery line is the Bruce Wayne of Earth -32, the Dawnbreaker! Possessing a power ring and an all-consuming darkness, the Dawnbreaker floats above a cloud of green energy bats in this highly detailed PVC diorama. Sculpted in a 9-inch scale, the sculpture is in scale to all Gallery and Femme Fatales figures and comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Caesar and sculpted by Alterton. (Item #DEC182504, SRP: $45.00)

Legends in 3D Comic Marvel Spider-Gwen ½ Scale Resin Bust

A Diamond Select Toys release! The Ghost Spider strikes! The breakout spider-hero breaks into the Legends in 3 Dimensions line as the newest half-scale resin bust. Measuring approximately 10 inches tall atop a webbed-up pillar base, Spider-Gwen is limited to only 1,000 pieces, and comes packaged in a full-color box with a certificate of authenticity. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Joe Menna! (Item #DEC182510, – SRP: $150.00)


Legends in 3D Video Game Kingdom Hearts 3 Sora 1/2 Scale Resin Bust

A Diamond Select Toys release! Kingdom Hearts is bigger than ever, and now so is Sora! The hero of the upcoming Kingdom Hearts 3 joins the Legends in 3 Dimensions line as the next half-scale resin bust! Measuring approximately 10 inches tall, Sora is limited to only 1,000 pieces, and comes packaged in a hand-numbered, full-color box with a certificate of authenticity. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Varner Studios! (Item #DEC182505, SRP: $150.00)

Marvel Comic Gallery Angela PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! She’s no angel! The Asgardian sister of Thor, having defeated her brother in battle, now takes on the Marvel Gallery line of PVC dioramas! Standing on a crystal-sprouting rock formation, Angela prepares to draw her sword and commence what is sure to be another victory. Measuring approximately 10” tall, this PVC sculpture comes packaged in a full-color window box. Designed by Uriel Caton, sculpted by Alejandro Pereira. (Item #DEC182506, SRP: $45.00)

Marvel Comic Premier Collection Kitty Pryde Resin Statue

A Diamond Select Toys release! One of the premier X-Men joins the Premier Collection! Kitty Pryde, the occasionally immaterial team leader of the X-Men Gold team, phases through a metal panel with her dragon Lockheed on her arm in this approximately 10” statue. Limited to only 3,000 pieces, it comes packaged in a hand-numbered, full-color window box with a certificate of authenticity. Designed by Joe Allard, sculpted by Alejandro Pereira. (Item #DEC182507, SRP: $150.00)

Marvel Movie Gallery Ebony Maw PVC Diorama

A Diamond Select Toys release! The Black Order is here! Joining his fellow acolyte of Thanos, Corvus Glaive, the sadistic telekinetic Ebony Maw is the next Marvel Gallery PVC Diorama! Holding up a finger to hush any who would defy the will of Thanos, Ebony Maw stands approximately 10” tall atop a diorama base and comes packaged in a full-color window box. Sculpted by Cortes Studios. (Item #DEC182508, SRP: $45.00)

Marvel Netflix Premier Collection Elektra Resin Statue

A Diamond Select Toys release! The love of Matt Murdock’s life, she is also his deadliest enemy! A formidable match for the hero Daredevil when she was on the side of good, as the Black Sky she became nearly unbeatable. This approximately 10-inch scale resin statue captures her as she appeared on the Netflix TV series Daredevil and is limited to only 3,000 pieces. She comes packaged in a hand-numbered, full-color box with a certificate of authenticity. Designed by Caesar, sculpted by Cortes Studios. (Item #DEC182509, SRP: $150.00)

Review: X-Men The Wedding Special #1

Full disclaimer: for a long time, Kitty Pryde was my all time favorite Marvel superhero thanks to her awesomeness in X-Men Evolution and Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men run, and there is a Marvel Legends figure of her sitting on my bookshelf right now as I write this.

Even though Kelly Thompson, Marika Cresta, and Federico Blee end up almost saving the day with a fun tale of X-Women out on the town with pretty, shiny art to match, X-Men The Wedding Special #1 is a big stinker of a “special issue.” Greg Land’s stiff art style isn’t a good fit for a raucous bachelor party, Chris Claremont can’t rekindle his old magic, and this book doesn’t really have much for long time X-Men fans who might be a little lapsed (Like yours truly.) and definitely not new or casual fans. Why are Kitty and Piotr even getting married? Maybe, the X-Men Gold  hardcore readership will find something to love here.

In the first story, Kitty Pryde’s co-creator/father of the X-Men Chris Claremont returns to Marvel with his Nightcrawler collaborator Todd Nauck and skilled colorist Rachelle Rosenberg.  However, after having Nauck re-draw Kitty’s greatest hits courtesy of John Byrne, Dave Cockrum, John Romita Jr., Alan Davis, and others, he makes the story all about Kitty’s relationships with the dead men in her life, namely, her dad, Wolverine, and some guy from a 1999 time travel miniseries called X-Men True Friends. Claremont is a still verbose prose stylist, Rosenberg is game with the bright colors of the different eras, and Nauck turns in some gorgeous dualistic compositions contrasting the triumphs and trials of Kitty Pryde’s life as an X-Man.

But there isn’t really a coherent story to channel these skills and traits into as Claremont abruptly cuts from Kitty recounting her life story and feelings about being phased through a bullet (Thank you, Joss Whedon.) to randomly talking about Wolverine and the aforementioned guy from a time travel story. Plus I guess I missed the issue of X-Men Gold where she worked as a bartender at the Hellfire Club themed branch of Coyote Ugly as Claremont and Nauck cut to this, and Nightcrawler has some great lines about faith and facing challenges. There are a few good ingredients, a few bad ones, and sadly, the story doesn’t touch on the great female friendships (and possibly romances) that Claremont set up for Kitty with Magik, Storm, and Rachel Summers among others and focused on ghostly men instead. It’s like a great slice of Chicago deep dish (Shoutout to Deerfield, Illinois resident Kitty Pryde.) that’s completely burnt to a crisp too bogged down in a continuity to have any real emotion or even nostalgia.

The second story by X-Men Gold writer Marc Guggenheim, the aforementioned Land and inker Jay Leisten, and colorist Jason Keith tells the story of Colossus’ bachelor party and except for the part where Piotr throws an anti-mutant alien monster around a casino, it’s cliched, heteronormative, and just plain bad. In keeping with his introverted nature and desire to be faithful towards Kitty after decades of breakups, reunions, and the original Secret Wars crossover, Colossus wants a chill night out and not the typical strippers/booze/brawling trifecta of a normal bachelor party. But Nightcrawler, Gambit, Iceman, and the “boyo” overusing new-look Pyro have other ideas for him including Bobby lecturing Piotr on traditional masculinity and making me glad that Sina Grace had almost exclusive creative control over him for a year. The story follows a limp, through line of getting Colossus to “lighten up”, and you have to buy a whole other comic to see how the story ends. It’s pretty terrible except for the huge smile on Nightcrawler’s face as he ushers his squad into Las Vegas and beams that there is a casino run by demons so he doesn’t have to feel weird or different while having a good time for once. Kurt is such a great character that he shines even in subpar stories like the first two in X-Men Wedding Special #1.

The final story in X-Men Wedding Special #1 is a fun, cute, grownup version of the “X-Men go to the mall” plotline as Storm, Rogue, Jean Grey, Psylocke, and others take Kitty to karaoke, which is actually “stripperoke”. However, there are both male and female strippers at the club, which Kitty is cool with. And it’s also this issue’s only nod at the bisexual subtext surrounding her since the late 1980s. In a similar way to Piotr, Kitty is introverted and more than a little Type A so the cocktail of strippers and karaoke is pretty lethal for her, and she spends most of the issue hoping for a fight.

Kitty does end up doing hand to hand combat with Callisto, who I think had a crush on Colossus, in the 1980s, and her resolves shows how much she has grown in 38 years from the X-Men’s kid sister to their leader. It also shows that artist (and star in waiting) Marika Cresta has a knack for fight sequences as well as conversation, beautiful faces, and high fashion. The bright filters used by Federico Blee and soft lighting definitely give this issue a very laidback field even if Kitty is freaking out a little bit about her wedding. The Kitty/Callisto derails the story a little bit, but Thompson and Cresta easily counterbalance with great moments like Storm rocking the karaoke stage, and Rogue and Kitty having a true heart to heart that reminded me of a more mature version of their bond in X-Men Evolution.

X-Men Wedding Special definitely lessened my faith in the marriage between Kitty and Colossus as well as heterosexual, monogamous marriage as an institution in general. Okay, maybe not completely, but the Marc Guggenheim and Greg Land story is a great example of how bachelor parties are dated and played out. However, Marika Cresta is a real find as an artist in the final story and should definitely be the main artist on one of the big X or Marvel books.

Story: Chris Claremont, Marc Guggenheim, Kelly Thompson
Art: Todd Nauck, Greg Land with Jay Leisten, Marika Cresta
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg, Jason Keith, Federico Blee Letters: Clayton Cowles

Story: 5.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone excited for? What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments below!

The Beat – David Brothers joins Viz as an Editor – Very interesting move.

Newsarama – Strangers in Paradise Revival Coming Even Earlier Than Anticipated – Hells yes!!!

Newsarama – Kitty Pryde Film In Development With Deadpool Director – Report – Who’s excited?

 

Reviews

Comic Attack – Batman and the Signal #1

The Beat – Geis

Review: Iceman #2

In Iceman #2, Bobby survives an awkward Blackbird ride with his ex-girlfriend Kitty Pryde on a mission to save a power/technology altering powered mutant named Zachary from an angry mob outside a big box store. What he doesn’t survive is the presence of fill-in artists Edgar Salazar, Ibraim Roberson, and Ed Tadeo, who pinch hit for Alessandro Vitti after a single issue. Writer Sina Grace gets the highly awkward, yet very personal relationship between Kitty and Iceman along with his lack of seriousness, but is hamstrung by awful art. His jokes and dialogue land, but the art is stiff and forced. However, Rachelle Rosenberg uses varying tones of white to make it look like the angry mob is actually brushing ice and snow off their clothes.

For the second straight issue, Grace shows that he’s not concerned with continuity heavy epics or overarching plots. He tells simple standalone superhero stories that act as a vessel for him to explore coming out as an adult man. The main conflict of Iceman #2 isn’t rescuing Zachary from the suburban equivalent of peasants with pitchforks, but Kitty getting angry at Iceman for not telling her that he came out as gay. Sure, she’s been in space with the Guardians of the Galaxy for some time, but she had to find out from Goldballs.

When they aren’t bickering on the battlefield, Kitty is quite supportive of Iceman and says that he should talk to someone about what he’s going through instead of hiding his feelings beneath dad jokes and ice puns. Her suggestion is his parents, which opens up a whole can of worms about levels of supportiveness for families and their LGBTQ children. Kitty’s advice is sound, but a little contradictory of the first issue where Iceman considers the X-Men to be his family, and he shows an easy rapport in early scenes where he banters with Colossus and Storm while walking down the halls of the Xavier school for his mission. Even though editorial probably wouldn’t condone, Grace also misses an opportunity to explore Kitty Pryde’s bisexuality that has been hinted at by her creator, Chris Claremont, but has yet to be fully shown on the page. This is partially due to Jim Shooter’s homophobic editorial policies during the 1980s when she was introduced.

Some iffiness aside, Sina Grace definitely understands the character of Iceman and slowly digs into this transitional period in his life while not neglecting Bobby’s sense of humor and fun even at inopportune times. However, this tone isn’t matched in the art by Edgar Salazar, Ibraim Roberson, and Ed Tadeo in what I’m tempted to call a phone-in job. Both Kitty and Iceman have visually interesting powers, and Rachelle Rosenberg even uses stronger colors to show Zachary’s energy tampering abilities. However, with the exception of a cute scene featuring ice golems or where Iceman shoulder checks a town dweller, there is no motion or power to their moves. The Blackbird is taking a dive, but it’s just a suspended object and doesn’t feel like the end of the world. And Iceman and Kitty’s faces remain almost the same with slight ticks for fear and embarrassment. A biggish reveal of Kitty being Iceman’s co-pilots falls flat thanks to the rictus where her face should be. Salazar and Roberson look like they’re going for a 90s vibe with their figure, and there’s nothing wrong with nostalgia, but this doesn’t work with the sleeker uniform designs and Rosenberg’s color schemes. Both the scenes of action and conversation aren’t drawn well so there is no relief from generic faces or stiff poses although Salazar and Roberson are much better gesture artists than facial.

Written by a talented gay writer like Sina Grace, who isn’t afraid to unpack the messiness of Iceman’s coming out and personality while still letting him pose for selfies mid-battle, Iceman should be one of Marvel’s more compelling books. However, with its generic and uninspiring depiction of some of the flashiest (and soapiest) superheroes ever, Iceman pales in comparison to books that have a more distinct visual identity like America, Marvel’s other book with an LGBTQ lead.

Story: Sina Grace Pencils: Edgar Salazar, Ibraim Roberson
Inks: Ed Tadeo, Ibraim Roberson Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg

Story: 8.0 Art: 5.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Entertainment Earth Spotlight: X-Men Marvel Legends Wave 1 & Deadpool

The X-Men Marvel Legends 6-Inch Action Figures Wave 1 brings your mutant favorites to life in a stunning 6-inch scale action figure form. Each figure includes awesome accessories and amazing detail, plus a build-a-figure piece. Ages 4 and up.Case features 8 individually packaged action figures, including:

A case features 8 individually packaged action figures, including, Wolverine, Deadpool, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Iceman, Cable, Havok, and Phoenix, plus the build-a-figure Juggernaut!

The figures are hard to find so you can get the entire wave through Entertainment Earth! Or, if you want a specific character, you can do that too!

x-men-marvel-legends-6-inch-action-figures-wave-1

 

 

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Review: Star-Lord And Kitty Pryde #3

starlordandkittypryde003

The stories of the Guardians of the Galaxy have not always contained a comedic undertone, nor do they all presently, but the influence of the surprise hit movie from 2014 made it so that comedy is a necessary ingredient for readers, especially those that started reading only because of the movie.  Whether or not this comedic approach is necessary it has nonetheless been present in a few of the spin-offs from the main series, and as it been present in the Secret Wars tie-in to the Guardians stories, in this case the Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde series.  The series has also been one that is very different from what has come before, or at least that was established in the relatively short Star-Lord series, the romantic attraction of Kitty Pryde to Peter Quill.  As has been presented in the series, one of the alternate versions of Peter and Kitty have crossed paths, Peter being lovesick over her death long ago, and the alternate version of her being somewhat too serious to ever consider something like romance.

The fourth and final issue follows the two of them as they attempt to retrieve the object that Kitty is after, a specific artifact deemed important enough by those who follow Doom.  Peter is drawn into helping her because of his love for her, even if that love is not entirely genuine in this case.  They have to overcome the scenario in which they are depicted on the cover, as Gambit has them trapped and ready to kill after they have failed to retrieve the object from him.

The issue plays out as a not-so-serious take on the pre-Secret Wars world.  While there was some comedy in their stories before, it never came off quite as screwball as it does here.  Problems are solved not necessarily by the ingenuity, skills or powers of the two heroes, but rather by plot developments which are set-up to provide a humorous end result.  While it doesn’t hit as hard as it could, it is not really the point either, as the relationship between these two is what has been the special find in the past year.  Where the story is basic and the humor is somewhat lacking, this issue still puts the right focus on the two of these characters together, and the result is satisfactory if not noteworthy.

Story: Sam Humphries Art: Alti Firmansyah 
Story: 8.1  Art: 8.1  Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Read

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