After fourteen-year-old Kitty Pryde's mutant powers emerged, causing terrifying incidents where she uncontrollably phased out of the family apartment in to moving traffic andsewers, her mother Theresa contacted Professor Xavier. Xavier agreed to teach Kitty to control her abilities. Kitty's mother insisted she did not want her going off on dangerous missions like Xavier's other X-Men students, or taking a codename; but Kitty immediately ignored Theresa's wishes, considering calling herself Shadowcat and initially regarding the school as a big heroic adventure. This changed after she stowed away on a mission with Wolverine and Cyclops to the Savage Land. There Kitty unintentionally saved the pair's lives when she phased through a sentient computer controlling zombie cyborg hordes, shorting it out. As they evacuated the area, Cyclops was apparently killed. Kitty and Wolverine returned to the States to find the X-Men wrongly accused of being allied with the terrorist Magneto. The X-Men became fugitives, and Kitty was forced to grow up fast living on the run.
After the X-Men cleared their names, Kitty settled in to her new life. Ruled by her hormones, she showed romantic interest in her teammates Colossus and Angel before setting her sights on Iceman (Bobby Drake). She was also a big fan of Spider-Man, and when she met him while in New York tracking down the explosive mutant Geldoff, the star-struck Kitty invited the wall-crawler back to the X-Men Mansion to meet Xavier (much to her teammates' chagrin). En route, Geldoff blew a hole in the jet, and Spider-Man was knocked out. Xavier removed his costume while examining him for injuries, and Kitty was intrigued to discover that he was both cute and near her age.
Kitty subsequently proved herself in combat, downing an attacking Sentinel in Washington and saving teammate Rogue from the serial killer Sinister, even though she was jealous of Iceman's interest in Rogue. Later, while visiting the Coney Island fair, Iceman kissed Kitty. Rogue caught them, knocked Kitty out, and soon left the X-Men to be with Gambit. Kitty and Iceman finally became an item during a later trip to Genosha, but she ended the relationship when she found he was still in e-mail communication and in love with Rogue. Realizing she had been interested in Iceman because he was attracted to her, not because she wanted to be with him, she decided on a whim to call Spider-Man and asked him out on a date. After a pleasant afternoon of conversation and crime fighting, they became a couple. Kitty has been going into New York on free nights to patrol with Spidey, during which time she often wears a different (non-X-Men) costume.