Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #179

Issue Date: 
March 1984
Story Title: 
What Happened To Kitty ?

Chris Claremont (writer), John Romita Jr. and Dan Green (artists), Glynis Wein (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Louise Jones (editor), Jim Shooter (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Kitty awakes in the Morlocks’ Alley and is told that they are holding her to her promise to stay with Caliban and intend to make her marry him. Kitty runs away, but finds she cannot run from her own conscience and agrees, but asks them to help her save Colossus. The other X-Men, in the meantime, thanks to Wolverine’s fine senses work out that he corpse isn’t Kitty and deduce correctly that the Morlocks are the culprits. They come just in time to interrupts the wedding ceremony and a battle ensues until Kitty reminds them that Colossus is important and that she means to stay true to her word. With the help of Rogue and the Morlock Healer, they manage to save Colossus. Kitty intends to honor her word to Caliban but he lets her go, hoping she will one day come to him out of her own free will.

Full Summary: 

The Morlock Tunnels under Manhattan. Here, under the watchful eye of their former leader Callisto, a dazed Kitty Pryde is dressed in the rags of a bridal gown to be induced into the Morlocks.

Bellevue Hospital, a stormy night. The Morgue. Storm, Wolverine and Rogue in their civil identities have come to identify a body. The doctor, believing they are cops, gets the corpse, explaining that the girl took a header off the Baxter Building. Female Caucasian, about sixteen. She was not yet fifteen, Ororo interrupts him coolly. Do they recognize her? He asks. Her name is Kitty Pryde Storm replies.

She reaches out to touch the girl’s face, her face not betraying any emotion, the thunderstorm doing the job for her. Wolverine suggests the doctor head outside for a short while. Against the rules, he tells them. Logan suggests he bend them a little. Feeling the bad vibes, the doctor makes an excuse and heads outside.

What was that all about? Ororo asks. Wolverine explains that this isn’t Kitty. He’s crazy! Rogue exclaims. Maybe, he agrees, as he lights a cigarette, but he is also right. This kid may have Kitty’s face and outfit. May be a perfect match, but it’s not her. Scent’s wrong.

What’s the point? Rogue wonders. Obviously someone wishes them to believe Kitty is dead, Storm replies. They would bury her, mourn her, perhaps even hunt down the Brotherhood, never suspecting that she was still alive; a prisoner with her captor free to do what they wish to her. The plan would have worked too, save that they never met or reckoned with Wolverine.

Meanwhile at Xavier’s school, watched by Professor Xavier, Amanda Sefton and a frantic Illyana, Nighcrawler examines Colossus, trying to find a heartbeat. Pyro heated Colossus white hot. Then Avalanche smothered him in liquid nitrogen – near absolute zero cold. It’s a miracle the stress didn’t immediately shatter him. The agony must have been beyond belief.

Telepathically, he informs Xavier that he can’t get a heartbeat. Bio-scans aren’t picking up any readings either. Suppose they restore him to human form, what then? His steel body is deeply scarred and pitted. The organic analogy would be wounds too terrible to survive.

Xavier telepathically points out they have no alternative. They cannot give up. He relates though that his psi-probes haven’t discovered anything, but whether that means Colossus is dead or merely in deep shock, he has yet to determine.

Nightcrawler shoots a glace at Illyana being comforted by Amanda and muses how much worse this must be for Peter’s younger sister. To lose her best friend Kitty and possibly her brother in the same night. His beliefs tell him to forgive his enemies, but what he wants to do most is track down the Brotherhood and rip out her hearts!

Illyana in turn is taking this better than Kurt thinks and pities him instead. In some way, she figures accepting death is easier for her. Death and she are old friends. She saw the other incarnations of the X-Men slain in Belasco’s demonic Limbo when she was a child and killed the two she cared for the most herself.

Storm suddenly contacts Xavier telepathically and relates what Wolverine has learned. She adds that she believes she knows the identity of Kitty’s abductors.

Before Xavier can asks his questions, his mind is suddenly overwhelmed by a massive irresistible blast of psychic energy. He screams in agony and loses control of his own psychic powers, spraying the infirmary with psi-bolts capable of instantly frying the brain of whomever they strike. As Amanda pushes Illyana to the floor, Kurt teleports to Xavier’s side and urges him to get a hold of himself, wondering if he should sedate him.

Xavier slowly regains control. In agony, he moans that the source is an extraterrestrial scanning-wave, He’s unable to pinpoint its source. Its force increases with each contact. He sinks down unconscious. Panicked, Kurt asks Amanda to help him get Xavier to a life-support cell. He has to warn Storm through their radio com link, but of what? Is this another attack by some new foe?

Elsewhere, Kitty, dressed in a bridal gown, believes herself to be enjoying the happiest day of her life. Her fellow Morlocks as happy to welcome her as she is to be welcomed. She’s the belle of the ball, a story book princess, attended by loyal ministers and loving subjects, eagerly awaiting the arrival of her betrothed, the dashingly handsome price. She curtseys before him but, as she looks up at his face, she beholds the corpselike visage of Caliban and the last vestiges of a Morlock mindspell drop away, transforming fantasy to reality.

Disgusted, she shoves Caliban away. She finds Morlocks all around her and that she cannot phase. She realizes she is in the “Alley” but has no idea how she got here from the Baxter Building.

Sunder shoves her down to her knees and Callisto reminds her to behave herself. Regaining her spunk, Kitty demands to know what’s going on. Storm’s first order when she took over the Morlocks was for them to stop attacking surface people. That includes the X-Men. When she finds out they kidnapped Kitty, they’ll be sorry!

Regrettably, Storm thinks she’s dead, Callisto gloats. Besides, even if she knew the truth, she couldn’t help. They didn’t violate her precious rules. They’ve returned one of their own to the fold, so she might pay her debts and fulfill a solemn obligation. What is she talking about? Kitty demands. Callisto reminds her of her promise to Caliban. Didn’t she promise him that, if Caliban aided the X-Men against Callisto, she’d stay with him forever?

Ashamed, Kitty first stutters, then admits it. Did Caliban carry out his part of the bargain? Cal presses. Yes, Kitty admits in a small voice. Now it’s Kitty’s turn, Cal retorts with a grin. And since it wouldn’t be proper to have the two of them living in sin, they’ll have to marry.

No! Kitty shouts instinctively, before trying to amend. They know what she means, Cal smirks, while a heartbroken Caliban realizes that Kitty is disgusted by him. Callisto in turn savors every moment of her revenge.

Suddenly, Kitty recalls Colossus’ plight. She tells Cal that he may be dying and she had the only means of saving him. She pleads with her to let her go. Does she promise to come back? Cal asks. Does she give her word? Kitty promises. Callisto reminds her that’s what she said last time. To Caliban. She lied them. Why should they believe her now? Kitty has no answer.

Then she runs away in panic. She notices the Morlocks don’t even try to stop her. They probably figure they don’t have to. She doesn’t know where she is going. The last time she was here she was sick and didn’t pay much attention. She finally falls down. Exhausted, she cries in pain and self disgust. She recalls that she lied to Caliban to save the X-Men. She asked Caliban to risk his life. He acted because he loved her and she betrayed him. And she’d do it again. Is this what it means to be an X-Man? To turn your back on, all she ever thought was right or change all her fundamental beliefs about herself? Storm did.

She notices someone coming. A small green childlike being. Lost, lonely, scared, he tells her. She wonders whether he talks about himself or her, then takes his hand and walks with him, aware that she can’t run from her conscience.

The youngster Leech leads her back to the other Morlocks. Kitty tells Callisto that she will keep her word, which doesn’t surprise the other woman. Kitty humbly asks her to save Colossus, if possible. With a smirk Cal calls her sweet sister and adds there is no need to beg. Kitty is one of them now and Morlocks look after their own. She orders Kitty’s companion, Leech, to find the Healer and tells another Morlock, Jo, to make Kitty more presentable, then take her to Masque.

The hooded Morlock explains that as a Morlock she will get a new face, a whole new body, if she likes. Why? Kitty asks. They are outcasts, outlaws, and this symbolizes their rejection of their former life. Will it hurt? Kitty asks anxiously. Does it matter? he replies and reaches for her face, first making her look like him, then Callisto, then Caliban. He laughs. The face really suits her, he taunts. Or would she prefer Storm? Kitty shouts no. Annoyed, Masque turns her face into a mannequin face. She can always look like nothing at all!

Kitty shouts at him to stop. She’s not a doll for him to play with. She’s a human being! Does that make him something different? he asks angrily and changes her face again, taking away her nose and mouth. Callisto interrupts him and orders him to put Kitty back the way she was. Sullenly, he gives in.

A bit later, Kitty stands besides Caliban in the Alley, trying not to cry as Callisto reads the marriage service. Callisto announces how the Morlocks are here because they had nowhere else to go to. Society didn’t give theme a choice. They became outcasts in spirit long before they had even heard the words “mutant”.

The kid’s giving up everything she holds dear. They may not like her, but they have to respect her courage. She sure didn’t think she had it in her. If she hears any objections to their PrettyKitty or this wedding – speak now or forever hold your peace.

And on cue Storm, backed by Rogue and Wolverine, objects. Rogue wonders who the girl in the morgue was. Ready for blood, Wolverine suggests they find out. Storm holds him back. She leads the Morlocks. Leave this to her.

Kitty asks them to stay out of this. She is doing this of her free will, but nobody listens to her. Storm furiously shouts that a girl is dead because of Callisto, denied the simple dignity of her own face. She fires a lightning bolt at the other woman and has the wind sweep her up the top of the Alley.

Cal further provokes her while thinking amused that Storm is predictable as ever. She orders Leech to nail her. Leech drops from the ceiling shadow where he lives and at his touch Storm’s power vanishes. Both women fall but Callisto is ready for it and as a consequence is the first on her feet and immediately attacks her foe.

Kitty shouts at Rogue, who wants to help Storm not to go near Leech. She has realized that his proximity turns off mutant powers. Unfortunately, she is too late; Rogue and her passenger Wolverine fall.

Cal shouts at Storm she wants what’s hers. Storm hisses back she needed no powers to beat her before and she was a gentler woman then.

Wolverine unsheathes his claws, threatening Leech that his claws are mechanical and therefore still working. The Morlocks are unsure what to do. This is a leadership duel, so they have no right to interfere. They are not eager to help Leech either as his proximity steals their powers.

Kitty forcefully holds Wolverine back. She doesn’t want to be rescued. Or is this just a convenient excuse to bash in some skulls? With everybody quiet for a moment, she explains that this is her fault, her responsibility and it’s up to her alone to fix it. She’s brought enough people pain. She won’t be party to causing anymore. Colossus is important and with the Morlocks’ help they might save him. But if they’d rather rip each other’s heart out, go right ahead!

Confused, Storm apologizes, realizing she wanted to and still wants to kill Callisto. The other woman smirks, remarking that losing one’s temper happens to the best of them. They have an agreement with the kid. They mean to keep it.

And so later. Callisto and the Morlock Healer join the X-Men in the mansion. Kitty explains that the Healer’s power affects physical trauma. She figures, if Rogue can absorb Colossus’ powers, he will revert to human form. Then, the Healer can go to work before Peter’s injuries can kill him. Xavier admits it sounds plausible.

Rogue takes off her glove. Hesitant, she explains that she’s shied away from people whose powers involve major physical transformations like Angel or Nightcrawler because she wasn’t sure what the change would do to her. She likes her looks the way they are. Xavier calms her that he will be with her every step of the way, monitoring and, if necessary, augmenting her abilities with his own. She tells him she appreciates that. As she nears Colossus she wonders whether she will wind up like he’s supposed to. All shiny steel – or like he is.

Rogue absorbs the steely form in its current state - overheated and then frozen. The pain is nearly unimaginable as Rogue quickly discovers despite Xavier’s efforts to shield her from it. Holding Rogue, Storm pities her and admits to herself that whatever her past this has earned Rogue her place among them.

The moment Peter becomes human, blood pours from scores of wounds. He has seconds to live, but the Morlock Healer’s touch extends that to minutes, then to years and finally to the young Russian’s allotted span. The Healer announces that it will take him time to fully recover his strength and vitality, but he will survive.

The next day on the corner of 72nd street and Central Park West, Kitty Pryde is saying good-bye to her best friend Illyana Rasputin. Does she have to go? Illyana asks. She gave her word, Kitty explains. What is she if that means nothing? Wolvie’d understand. It’s a matter of honor.

She hands Illyana two letters for Peter and her folks. She tried to explain. Peter won’t like it. He’ll try to come after her. She mustn’t let him. The heck with him, she wants to, Illyana replies. This isn’t fair! The two girls hug. Kitty walks down the subway, as she replies that it’s right.

In the Morlock Tunnels, she wonders if she’ll ever get used t how dark and cold it is down here. Caliban addresses her. She greets him, telling him she is ready when he is. Caliban has never seen anyone… anything more beautiful, he tells her. He means it too, Kitty realizes. He really does care. Caliban notes she looks sad. Does she miss the sun? With a smile she assures him it is her world or at least it was. Now his world is hers. And his life. Who knows, with a little luck maybe they’ll live happily ever after?

Perhaps. But they won’t find out today, Caliban replies. He tells all the Morlocks to go away. The wedding is cancelled. Caliban releases Kitty from her vows. She is free to go. He understands what he did not before. That her place is under the sun while his is in the shadow. For all that he loves her, to force her to his side would be wrong.

She is surprised. Does she love him? she asks. No, she replies. Caliban’s love is so strong, it makes him so crazy. He thinks he must let her leave, in hopes that someday she will return of her own free will. Or that he will find courage to live in the sunlight.

Gratefully, she hugs him. She doesn’t know if she will ever feel that way about him, but she would be honored to call him her friend. He is glad and he gives her a keepsake that was to be his wedding gift. When she looks at it, remember him kindly; not as the Morlock monster, but as the prince. She is left with his rose.

Characters Involved: 

Ariel, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)


Amanda Sefton

Caliban, Callisto, Jo, Leech, Masque, Sunder (all Morlocks)

Unnamed Morlocks


Story Notes: 

Caliban first met and fell for Kitty in Uncanny X-Men #148.
Kitty promised Caliban she’d stay with him if he helped the other X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #170.

Illyana’s adventures in Limbo are chronicled in Magik #1-4.

The psychic scanning wave is by the Beyonder as told in the Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars Limited Series.

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