Kate Pryde's Ninja Past, Explained
As Kate Pryde reembraces her Shadowkat identity, rediscover the origin of this codename and its ties to her training under the evil mystic ninja Ogun.
Whether she goes by Ariel, Sprite, or Kitty, Kate Pryde has always been the pride of the X-Men. Since joining the mutant team as a teenager, Pryde has grown into a distinguished Super Hero, teacher, and mutant leader. While Pryde has taken on many names and many roles, few have changed her as much as her time as Shadowcat.
Although her Shadowcat identity is a relic of her time with the evil mystic ninja Ogun, Pryde made it her own by using it as a heroic identity and embracing its darker connotations. After the third Hellfire Gala ended in a devastating attack on the mutant nation Krakoa, Pryde is embracing her Shadowkat identity once again as the X-Men move underground.
Now, let's revisit Kitty Pryde's transformation into Shadowkat. We'll also take a look at how Pryde embraced her ninja training at critical times throughout her life, just as she does in X-MEN (2021) #25 by Gerry Duggan, Stefano Caselli, Marte Gracia, and VC's Clayton Cowles.
After she joined the X-Men as a young teenager, Kitty Pryde proved her resourcefulness and resilience to the team on numerous occasions. However, she still followed some of her immature impulses, such as the one that drove her to spontaneously follow her father to Japan after overhearing him make a suspicious deal in KITTY PRYDE AND WOLVERINE (1984) #1 by Chris Claremont and Al Milgrom. Shortly after she arrived in Japan and called her teammate Wolverine for help, Pryde was captured by Ogun, a mystical ninja master who once trained Logan.
After taking over Pryde's mind, Ogun put her through years of ninjutsu martial arts training in a few days, with her mutant phasing powers adding a whole new dimension to her combat skills. With complete control over Pryde, Ogun sent her to kill Wolverine. After that failed, Wolverine looked after Pryde and put her through another training regimen that tested her mind and body.
Although freed from Ogun's grasp, Pryde had matured during this process, so she chose the codename Shadowcat to reflect her new outlook in WOLVERINE AND KITTY PRYDE (1984) #5 by Claremont and Milgrom. Then, during their last confrontation, she realized she was truly free of his influence when she spared his life. However, Shadowcat and Wolverine ultimately killed Ogun in self-defense and returned to the X-Men.
KITTY PRYDE: AGENT OF SHIELD
Following her encounter with Ogun, Pryde continued to use the Shadowcat codename and costume as a member of the X-Men and Excalibur, a mutant team based in the United Kingdom. Pryde regularly employed the fighting skills she learned from Ogun and Wolverine, and she was briefly possessed by Ogun's spirit once more during an Excalibur mission. But when she briefly stepped away from Excalibur, Pryde faced the next great test of her ninja skill in KITTY PRYDE: AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. (1997) #1 by Larry Hama, Jesus Redondo, and Sergio Melia-Borras.
After S.H.I.E.L.D.'s computer systems were taken over by something that would only respond to her, Pryde joined S.H.I.E.L.D. as an intern. Once Pryde was onboard the Helicarrier, Ogun revealed he had morphed into a digital spirit and taken over S.H.I.E.L.D.'s systems. With help from Wolverine and S.H.I.E.L.D. intern Rigby Fallon, Pryde ultimately confronted Ogun in the Astral Plane.
Without access to her phasing powers, Shadowcat and Ogun faced off in a test of pure martial arts skill. Thanks to her training with Logan and her additional combat experience, Pryde outmaneuvered the distracted Ogun and defeated him.
SHADOWCAT AND THE X-MEN
Still operating as Shadowcat, Pryde rejoined the X-Men when Excalibur disbanded. After a brief stay on Genosha kicked off a dark period in her life, she debuted a new costume with nods to her ninja training in X-MEN (1991) #100 by Chris Claremont, Leinil Francis Yu, and Mark Morales. Sporting a short haircut similar to one Ogun gave her, a rebellious Shadowcat embraced her lethal martial arts training and used some of Wolverine's fallen bone claws as daggers. Around this time, Pryde left the X-Men to attend university after the apparent deaths of Colossus and her father, who was killed when Cassandra Nova's Sentinels wiped out Genosha.
Shadowcat eventually joined her close friend Storm on her X-Treme X-Men team, where she faced Ogun again in X-TREME X-MEN (2022) #1 by Claremont and Salvador Larroca. Ogun killed the X-Men and attacked Pryde in a vision. Using Logan's lost claws as knives, Pryde defeated him in several more rounds of psychic ninja combat.
In his search for a new host, Ogun possessed the super-strong Beasty-Brute and a Sentinel called Scrap before the X-Men defeated him. Shortly after rejoining the X-Men full-time, Pryde had to confront Ogun's legacy again in X-MEN: KITTY PRYDE - SHADOW AND FLAME (2005), where she battled a group of his ninja followers called the Path of Destiny.
THE DEATH OF WOLVERINE
During one of Pryde's subsequent adventures with the X-Men, she phased a giant bullet through the Earth and was stuck hurtling through space. But after the X-Men recovered her, Pryde took on more teaching and leadership roles and mentored the next generation of mutants in the same way Wolverine once taught her.
When Logan's healing powers burned out after he was exposed to a virus from the Microverse, Pryde joined him on his travels starting in WOLVERINE (2013) #9 by Paul Cornell, Alan Davis, and Mark Farmer. Although Wolverine was hesitant to accept her assistance, Pryde helped Wolverine fight the Hand as he searched for a cure.
After Wolverine accepted his condition, Pryde followed him to Madripoor as he tried to figure out who put a bounty on his life in DEATH OF WOLVERINE (2014) #2 by Charles Soule, Steve McNiven, and Jay Leisten. When Lady Deathstrike cornered Wolverine, Pryde responded by phasing into the cybernetic villain and solidifying in her wrist, shattering it.
When Logan and Pryde traveled to Japan looking for Ogun, the ninja spirit resurfaced and possessed Shadowcat. Although Ogun forced Pryde into a martial arts battle with Wolverine, Pryde wrestled control of her body away from Ogun, who possessed another body as Wolverine chased him away.
KATE PRYDE AND THE MARAUDERS
After a brief retirement, Pryde eventually became leader of the X-Men and the Xavier Institute for Mutant Education and Outreach. But when Professor X, Magneto, and their collaborators founded the mutant nation Krakoa, Pryde took on different type of leadership role.
While most of the world's mutants could instantly travel around the world through a system of Krakoan portals, Pryde's phasing ability—which can disrupt technology—would not let her use the gates. Since Pryde could not use the Krakoan portals, Emma Frost asked her to captain the Marauder, a highly advanced boat that sailed across the world helping mutants in need.
Now going by Kate instead of "Kitty," Pryde formed a sea-faring mutant team called the Marauders and became the Hellfire Trading Company's Red Queen, which also granted her a leadership role on the Quiet Council that governed Krakoa.
Despite her leadership roles, Pryde felt separated from her fellow mutants on Krakoa due to her inability to use the island's gates. Through her voyages on the Marauder, Pryde expressed her frustration through numerous brawls, where she utilized her unique mix of phasing power and martial arts training against enemies like the mutant-hating Homines Verendi. After being killed by Sebastian Shaw and resurrected, Pryde even had "Kill Shaw" tattooed on her knuckles before viciously beating him in MARAUDERS (2019) #16 by Gerry Duggan and Stefano Caselli.
After an attack by the mutant-hating group Orchis at this year's Hellfire Gala left most of the world's mutants dead or missing, Pryde is one of the few X-Men still operating as an underground resistance force. When Orchis hacked the Krakoan gates to keep other mutants out, Pryde fell into a portal, which dropped her right into a waiting Orchis strike force. In response to the strike team's threats, an enraged Pryde killed ten Orchis operatives with her ninja training—and specifically with the lethal techniques she acquired under Ogun.
Pryde then made her way to the ruins of the X-Mansion, where she recovered the two swords Ogun gave her. Pryde took the name "Shadowkat" after seeing it in an attached note from Ogun. As Synch and Emma Frost coordinate the rest of the world's mutants, Shadowkat now uses her ninja skills and powers as a scout, sneaking through the world's remaining Krakoan portals without detection. Even though Pryde never truly felt like she belonged on Krakoa, Shadowcat stands as the island's most vicious avenger.
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