Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #153

Issue Date: 
January 1982
Story Title: 
Kitty’s fairy tale

Chris Claremont (writer), Dave Cockrum & Josef Rubinstein (artists), Glynis Wein (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Louise Jones (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

The X-Men try to make repairs to the demolished mansion, but Xavier fears the cost is too high. In the meantime, Kitty tells the frightened Illyana a bedtime story and soon all the X-Men eavesdrop. Kitty’s story is a fantasy retelling of the Dark Phoenix saga, with her as a heroine, lots of humor and a happy ending, much to the joy of her friends, especially Cyclops.

Full Summary: 

After the attack by the Hellfire Club, Xavier’s School has suffered considerable damage, even by their standard. Cyclops, Wolverine and Colossus are busy getting rid of the wreckage.

Beside the pool, Carol Danvers, a former Avenger who recently lost her superpowers, now Xavier’s patient, ministers to the X-Men’s leader Storm. Ororo winces as Carol cleans her injuries and sighs that her whole head is sore. She relates the story to Carol: The White Queen switched personas with her. When the X-Men battled the Hellfire Club, she had no choice but to fight her as she would any other villain. They beat the villains, but Storm’s body paid the price. She aches while the White Queen escaped virtually unscathed. Somehow it doesn’t seem fair.

Nightcrawler addresses the Professor, informing him things are as grim as they feared. The Danger Room, the prime computer and one wing of the house are a total loss. The hangar complex and the Blackbird suffered minimal damage. They cannot affect repairs by themselves. They lack the tools, the raw material, the expertise. What can they do? The best they can with what they have, Xavier replies, but thinks to himself that Kurt is right. Their financial and physical resources have been strained to the breaking point and, at the moment, he sees no viable solution.

A sudden shout from above heralds the appearance of the youngest X-Man, Kitty Pryde, as she phases through the roof, calling for Peter. Kurt greets her, asking her where she was all day. Kitty instantly becomes defensive, stating she’s been working hard like them. She reminds Peter that it’s Illyana’s bedtime. Will he tuck her in or shall she? Peter promises to be up directly after a change of clothes.

A little later, Peter joins his little sister in her room and asks her what troubles her. Illyana replies that she is frightened. Will the bad things happen again? Will the bad people com back? In Russian, Kitty tells her not to be scared and promises they will protect her. She suggests Peter tell her a story; that always made her feel better as a kid. And how many months ago was that? Peter asks amused. Insulted, Kitty reminds him he isn’t that old himself. Illyana asks if Katya could tell the story. She likes her stories best. After a request like that, how could she refuse? Kitty asks, glad that the professor taught them all Russian telepathically.

She begins with the story she calls Kitty’s fairy tale starring:

Kitty Pryde as Pirate Kitty

Peter Rasputin as Colossus, her true love

Scott Summers as the Noble Prince

Charles Xavier as the Wizard

Ororo as the Genie

Kurt Wagner (under protest) as a Bamf

Logan as the Fiend with no Name

The Blackbird as Lockheed the Dragon and Jean Grey as the Enchanted Princess

Kitty’ story:

Once upon a time in the caliphate of Nhu Yorkh, there lived a young woman named Pirate Kitty. She was known throughout the land. Together with her stalwart companion and true… er… friend, Colossus. They were loved by the poor and downtrodden, in whose defense they fought, and hated by the rich, cruel oppressors of the commoners. Many were the attempt to capture them and spectacular were the escapes.

Surrounded by guards, Kitty tosses melons from a market stall at them. Colossus could magically transform himself into a man of steel. When he did, he possessed the strength of an army. He shatters the door to a building and the two of them run up a stairway. He then quickly topples a wall behind them to cut off the way for their pursuers.

Later, down by the docks, Colossus states that they are rapidly wearing out their welcome. It would be a pleasant change to quit while they are ahead for once. But oh-so-dull, comes Kitty’s reply. He likes dull, Colossus points out before noticing a commotion going on. Wharf rats ganging up on a couple of tourists. An old man on a flying carpet and his companion are threatened by thieves.

When the old man warns them that he is a wizard, one of the thugs punches him. As another one moves the turban from his companion’s eyes, fire blasts shoot out of them. He’s a djinn, a demon, one of the thieves shouts. The mood turns uglier as the thieves decide to kill him.

Luckily, Colossus and Kitty interfere, quickly chasing the thugs away. With the Wizard on his carpet hanging upside down, Colossus straightens his position. The wizard admits he is not used to physical combat. Then what is he doing in the most dangerous part of town? an amused Kitty inquires. They sought to hire a boat, he explains and introduces them as Xavier, master of the arts arcane and his lord, Cyclops.

In his own land Cyclops is a prince, a mighty warrior, a ruler. They are on a quest. Not long ago in a desperate attempt to save Cyclops and his realm from destruction, Xavier’s apprentice – his beloved Princess Jean – allied herself with primal universal forces. She was victorious, but in the process was corrupted by the dark side of her soul, transformed into a being of absolute evil.

Seeing a firebird flying above, Kitty wryly asks if that would happen to be her. Xavier’s exclamation answers her question. Moments later, Dark Phoenix strafes the harbor with bolts of stellar energy, sinking every ship in sight. Still flying, she shouts at the wizard that his quest is over before it has even begun. She doesn’t like the sound of that, Kitty muses. Does he know any good defensive spells?

Dark Phoenix smirks as she boasts that she has ascended as far above humanity as it has above the amoeba. She is a goddess incarnate. She told him what would happen if he should continue to defy her. He chose to defy her warning. Now he must pay the price. She fires a starblast at Cyclops, but Colossus steps in front of him protecting him. Kitty screams in horror, but finds her partner relatively unhurt.

Dark Phoenix warns him that next time she will reduce him to molten slag. There will not be a next time, Xavier interjects. Her reign of terror is ended. He shows her a small globe. In horror she screams no! and flees as fast as she can, warning them that there will be a reckoning.

Indeed there will, the wizard muses sadly, for although it may cost him his life, he will persevere. He looks at the globe containing a smiling image of Jean, her soul, her true self. This crystal is the only weapon capable of destroying Dark Phoenix, but alas with all the vessels sunk he may never get close enough to use it.

Kitty tells him to leave that to her. She gestures at the water and summons… but nothing happens. This is gonna be harder than she thought, she mutters and points again. Is the child a sorceress? Xavier whispers to Colossus. Something like that, the steel man replies with a smile. They’ll see soon.

Kitty orders them to shush. She must concentrate. That may be, Colossus points out, but he gets the feeling someone is not listening. Not amused, Kitty puts up her sleeves. She gets the feeling that if someone keeps this up he’s gonna regret he was ever hatched. She whistles… and finally the head of a giant black dragon appears from the ocean. About flippin’ time, Kitty complains. Where has he been?

Where does she think? he retorts. Down where it’s safe. Calling him “Lockheed,” she orders him to stretch his wings. She’s got them a mission. Lockheed protests. If she’s taking a job that’s her problem. He’s retired. The heck he is! He can’t run out on her now, she shouts. He’s the last of his kind. And every time she asks his help he’s the one that suffers, Lockheed complains. Only last Yuletide when she scrapped with that demon he was nearly torn to pieces.

The demon was trying to kill her, Pirate Kitty reminds him. If he’s gonna embarrass her in front of Colossus and everybody… she threatens. The discussion is fierce but the outcome never in doubt as Kitty’s eloquence and well reasoned arguments sway the dragon.

Outside the door, Nightcrawler is eavesdropping. Passing him, Wolverine asks what he is doing. Kurt whispers at him to be quiet. Kitty’s telling Illyana a bedtime story and it’s magnificent! It better be good, Logan replies, cause he feels pretty silly standing here and he doesn’t like to feel silly.

Kitty’s story:

On Lockheed’s back they fly through the night, following Dark Phoenix’s trail across the continent while Xavier tells them the details. Kitty ventures that Xavier’s apprentice couldn’t handle the power she absorbed. He explains it isn’t quite that simple. Jean possessed the ability to wield that power, else it would have destroyed her outright. But to all things all creature are their proper season. The Phoenix force is meant to be used by an… adult. On that cosmic scale, Homo sapiens as a race is no more than an infant. As well, there exists within everyone a dark side. Because Jean lacked the cosmic awareness, the maturity of self to properly contain the Phoenix force, it disrupted the balance within her soul and her dark side gained ascendancy. That essential balance must be restored. He only prays they aren’t too late.

Lockheed interrupts. He’s tired and hungry, so he’s calling a brief R’ and R’ stop on an island. Gentle dragon, time is of the essence, Xavier gently pushes. Gentle wizard, ye can always swim the rest of the way, Lockheed suggests. As the dragon goes hunting, Kitty takes a nap and Colossus goes exploring. A small elf exclaims bigthing! A voice from the bushes orders her to be quiet.

Minutes later, Kitty is enjoying a nifty and very naughty dream when something plops on her stomach. She awakes to find a Bamf, a tiny cuddly Nightcrawler look-alike. What the heck is he? she demands. He’s a Bamf, he explains, and she’s a girl. Want to make beautiful music together? She’s no girl, Kitty protests, she’s a pirate. And she’s dreaming. This is too ridiculous to be real. Pretty smart talk from a lady who rides a dragon, the Bamf states and bamfs away.


Annoyed, Kurt wonders whether to die of embarrassment or strangle Kitty. He thinks Kitty pegged him just right, Logan remarks with a grin and tells Storm and Carol Danvers to join them. Kitty’s spinning the sweetest yarn since Casablanca.

Kitty’s Story:

The Bamf reappears on a rock and Kitty wrinkles her nose at the smell caused by the teleportation. Why did he come back? she asks. Because he’s in love with her. A multitude of Bamfs appears and they fight over Kitty.

The original Bamf chases them way with a stick. Kitty jokingly thanks him for saving her from a fate worse than death. Any time gorgeous, he replies. Does he get a kiss as a reward? Where’s Colossus when she really needs him, she sighs.

Colossus is a few miles down, enjoying the solitude and silence of the island, when suddenly he finds a bottle made of opaque black crystal. Curious, he opens it, to find a beautiful woman appearing, thanking the gods for being freed from the prison of the evil one. She introduces herself as the Windrider. He has her eternal gratitude for freeing her and she will fulfill his heart’s desire. When Colossus states she mentioned an evil one, the Windrider explains that in better times she was her best friend. She used that bond to snatch her unawares. And though she could not slay her, she did far worse by sealing her in the darkness of that jug. Dark Phoenix has much to answer for. Colossus explains that he and his comrades are also looking for Phoenix and invites her to join them.

Introductions are made while Bamf keeps on trying to get rid of the other Bamfs, who always pop up. The wizard suddenly warns them that they have a visitor. A whirlwind arises and Kitty warns the others there could be trouble. Sweet young thing, that ain’t half of it, comes a voice as a hairy small muscled ugly being with a cartoon of beer appears. What the heck are you? Kitty asks. I’m Mean, comes the reply. I came a long way, a hard way. Diggin’s hot and thirsty work. He swallows a can of beer whole and belches.


Outside the room, Storm giggles while Kurt whispers that Kitty may have “pegged” him, but she skewered Logan. Carol asks Scott and the Professor to join the party and Xavier is glad to finally hear laughter again.

Kitty’s story:

Now he’s downed a brew, it’s time for business, the newcomer announces. He had feelings fer Jeanie, but the Prince stole her and he’s gonna pay. Can’t they talk about this, Kitty intervenes. The Prince explains that the fiend thought himself his rival for Jean; he never accepted her love for the Prince. The fiend tries to attack, but Colossus angrily stops him. No one lays a hand on him and lives to tell the tale, the fiend threatens and unsheathes his claws.

Behind him, Lockheed shows up, announcing just what he’s been looking for… dessert. Frightened, the fiend hides behind Colossus. A little later, Lockheed begs Pirate Kitty to indulge him… he looks sooo tasty. Kitty chides him to behave himself. Turning to the fiend, she tells him that goes triple for him… or else.

Accompanied now by the fiend with no name and the genie, the intrepid band continues their journey. Colossus wonders what they shall do once they find Dark Phoenix. Think fast, comes a voice as the Phoenix appears before them from the sun to attack. Can any power hope to rival hers or stop her? Colossus wonders. The genie doesn’t know but announces they must try. Bamf naively hopes she’s friendly. Dark Phoenix appears within the firebird, mocking that hope springs eternal. The fiend’s hat flies in the air as he recognizes her. Jeannie? Wow. With an evil grin, she mocks how brave they all appear. A pity she can see past the façade to the mind numbing terror in their hearts. But that fear will be as fleeting as their lives!

Xavier shields them from her blast, but fears they won’t survive a second. The Genie suggests they take the fight to her and Xavier reminds her that within the soul of the demon lies the heart of the one they all cherish. Jean is not responsible for her actions as Dark Phoenix. They must save her if they can. They must stop her first, the Genie replies as she and Xavier fire at Phoenix.

Colossus remarks that he suddenly feels very small and useless. They are witnessing a battle of the gods. Kitty replies that they are their friends. They must be able to do something. She orders Lockheed to move in close and zap Phoenix with a shot of dragon flame. He protests. When they begin to argue again the fiend pops a claw and stabs Lockheed. Reflexively, Lockheed exhales a fire burst and shakes them all off.

You dummy, he hates that! Kitty shouts as they fall. The genie sees their plight, casts a spell on them and suddenly the all find they have wings: Colossus has the wings of an aeroplane, Kitty to her horror butterfly wings (not exactly fit for a pirate scourge of the seven seas), the Fiend batwings and the bamf flywings. The Prince finds himself in a flying chair that also enables him to see through this blindfold. With that they charge.

Lockheed turns back, reminding the fiend they have a score to settle. He swats him away with his tail and wishes him happy landings as he smashes right into Dark Phoenix. While he keeps Phoenix in a lockhold the others attack. Xavier is capable of casting his spell and finally propelled by the wizard’s and the genie’s will, sustained by the prince’s love, a lance of blinding energy spears into the heart of their foe.

The woman disappears, transformed into a firebird and battling it the soulself of the woman it has possessed. Jean fought this battle once before and lost. But this time she does not fail. Exhausted but victorious, she sinks to the ground. The Prince whose curse is now also lifted embraces her. Lockheed flies them all back to the Prince’s land where the lovers are happily married and they all lived happily ever after.


Illyana is fast asleep and Kitty and Peter tiptoe out of her room. So what did he think of it? she asks. Truth, Kätzchen? Kurt asks. Not really noticing him, she replies, sure, before realizing all her friends are standing there. Giving her a peck on the cheek, Scott tells her it was great. Especially the ending.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Professor Xavier, Sprite, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Carol Danvers

Illyana Rasputin

in Kitty’s Fairy tale:

Kitty Pryde as Pirate Kitty

Peter Rasputin as Colossus

Scott Summers as the Noble Prince

Charles Xavier as the Wizard

Ororo as the Genie

Kurt Wagner as a Bamf

Logan as the Fiend with no Name

The Blackbird as Lockheed the Dragon

Jean Grey as the Enchanted Princess

Story Notes: 

Kitty wears an Elfquest T-shirt, referring to the famous independent fantasy title by Wendy and Richard Pini. In the story, the small elf Pini also refers to that series.

Lockheed’s complaint about being nearly destroyed last “yuletide” is a reference to Kitty’s fight with the demon (which she won with the Blackbird’s help).

Issue Information: 
Written By: