X-Men: Kitty Pryde: Shadow & Flame #1

Issue Date: 
August 2005
Story Title: 
Dragon Quest

Akira Yoshida (writer) Paul Smith (artist), VC’s Randy Gentile (letterer), Christina Strain (colorist), Sean Ryan (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (Associate Editor), Mike Marts (editor) Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Kitty Pryde receives a letter from Japan, ordering her to come to Japan with her dragon. Included is a picture of the mystery dragon Lockheed befriended a long time ago on the Beyonder’s world. At the Tokyo airport, Kitty is expected by a government agent named Ryoko Oshiba. Kitty learns that it wasn’t Ryoko who sent that letter, but a ninja group called the Path of Destiny. They also stole the dragon from the government. Watching the surveillance tape that shows the ninja, Kitty is uncomfortably reminded of Ogun.
Later, as she roams the streets of Tokyo, Kitty is attacked by a gang of young men. With the help of Lockheed, Kitty easily beats them. The men were hired by the ninja to find out how skilled she still was. Having watched the fight, the ninja eliminates the men.

Full Summary: 

Mail call at the Xavier Institute. Kitty Pryde is surprised as Scott Summers hands her a letter from Japan. Old flame? he suggests with a smile. Opening the letter, the first thing Kitty and her pet dragon Lockheed see is a snapshot and both their eyes widen in surprise, as it depicts a green dragon behind bars. It is an old flame, Kitty replies, but not hers

Kitty shows Scott the picture and he recalls the dragon the X-Men met years ago at the end of their stay on the Beyonder’s world. She reads the letter written in Japanese letters to Scott: Come alone. Bring your dragon.

Some time later, Kitty has arrived at Narita International Airport outside Tokyo, where a middle-aged woman dressed in black is addressing her. She introduces herself as Ryoko Oshiba from the J.D.S.S., a division of Japanese Intelligence Services. Kitty tries to blow her off, telling her she is just here to catch up with some old friends. Old friends indeed, Ryoko repeats with a smirk and whispers something into Kitty’s ear. Kitty is startled and Ryoko tells her she will explain everything in the car.

A little later, Kitty admires the car they are riding in. Ryoko explains that it is a new concept based on the same principles as the bullet train.

Stroking what appears to be her cat, Kitty steers the conversation towards the dragon. Where is it? Right there in Kitty’s lap, she assumes, Ryoko replies drolly. The green dragon, Kitty insists. Ryoko demands to “see” Lockheed first. Kitty touches her “cat’s” necklace and switches off the image inducer, now showing the true Lockheed who growls. Fascinating creature, Ryoko states admiringly and asks Kitty to wait until they have arrived. Why is she not surprised, Kitty sighs.

They enter a downtown office building, Section 83, home of the J.D.S.S. (The Japanese Department of Supernatural Science). Ryoko explains that they are a lesser-known branch of the government, specializing in the investigation of paranormal phenomena. Like a Japanese version of the X-Files, Kitty remarks. Ryoko shows her around a bit, adding that they deal with alien abductions and haunting, but also with magical and mystery mayhem. They keep busy with biotech research and psychic operations. The X-Men’s Professor Xavier is quite an inspiration to them. Also all of their agents are trained experts in firearms and martial arts. Mulder and Scully wouldn’t stand a chance.

Kitty has had enough of the nickel tour and wants to see the dragon. Ryoko has to admit that it was stolen from them, despite their trained experts and security measures. Stolen by Ninja. That’s just perfect, Kitty sighs. The J.D.S.S. sent the picture to lure her here. Actually, they didn’t send the picture, Ryoko explains. They merely intercepted her at the airport. The thieves sent it.

Later in her office, Ryokko explains that one of their scouting teams ran into the little green guy – green girl, Kitty corrects her – in Hokkaido. They captured it and brought it here to be examined by their dragonologist… Kitty interrupts fascinated with the idea of there being an expert on dragons. Could she and Lockheed meet him?

Ryoko explains that she is in China at the moment. But before she left, she reviewed footage of the attack on Tokyo years ago. She was able to determine that the dragon that disappeared from that attack is in the same region as this one was found. Apart from the decrease in size, the dragons totally match. Kitty explains that Puff used to be Lockheed’s size when the X-Men first met her. “Puff?” Ryoko inquires. Like “the magic dragon,” Kitty adds helpfully. Ryoko apparently doesn’t know much of American hippy songs and draws a blank.

Kitty changes subjects, asking about the ninja. Were they members of the Hand? Possibly, Ryoko replies. They may be a rogue sect of the Hand. Their Intel is quite limited. Then why didn’t they just let them pick Kitty up at the airport and follow them? Kitty asks. Ryoko explains that they could not risk Kitty falling into their hands.

She is a big girl, Kitty replies. So does this sect have a name? Like the Fingers? Very funny, Ryoko replies sourly. They are known as the Path of Destiny. So would Kitty like to see where they kept the dragon? Kitty realizes the other woman is changing the subject, but plays along.

Kitty and Lockheed are shown a state of the art recreation of the volcanic environment they found the green dragon in. They figured it was a close match to its natural habitat. Lockheed happily splashes around in the lava, while Kitty tries to figure out how the ninja gained entrance. From above, she figures and enters a maintenance shaft. Tight but not impossible.

Later, back at the office, Kitty demands all information they have on the Path and the ninja. Ryoko shows her the one bit of surveillance they have on the intruder.

Kitty looks at the scene, the disappearing ninja with the red hood and mask and realizes that he let himself be seen. The eyes are familiar; they remind Kitty of Ogun…


Involuntarily, Kitty remembers the ninja master Ogun, who kidnapped and brainwashed her, reshaped her in his own image. How she fought and stabbed, almost killing, Wolverine for her master. How Wolverine’s tough love helped her to shake off Ogun’s brainwashing, how she confronted Ogun in her new Shadowcat identity and how she almost died at his hand…


Ryoko snaps her out of her reverie and Kitty apologizes. Seeing that the younger woman is exhausted, Ryoko calls a car to get Kitty to her hotel.

As she enters her room, Kitty is certain that Ryoko is hiding something. Why go to all the trouble of bringing her in, only to give her half the story? She unpacks her bag to find that Lokheed is fast asleep. Unlike her, he isn’t jetlagged.

Later, she sits at her laptop, writing an email to Wolverine. She tells him that memories are hard to keep down here in Tokyo. She’ll try to head to Kyoto to see Wolverine’s ward Amiko. Given Wolverine’s history with the Hand, she was wondering if he has heard anything about the Path of Destiny. In any case, she intends to give Yukio a call too. Maybe she knows something.

Unfortunately, she only gets the self-styled ronin’s answering machine. Impatient and restless, Kitty decides to just hit town. Hours go by, as Kitty walks through Shinjuku, but she cannot shake off her pensive mood.

Finally, she is accosted by a gang of young men. Kitty tells them in fluent Japanese that she isn’t looking for trouble, but the men are unimpressed. She tries to warn them off in vain as one of the guys hugs her. Very soon, she uses her martial arts skills to fight them off, however one of her hits her in the back from behind. Kitty crashes between the dumpster but takes it in stride as she takes care of two more guys. Calling out “Sayonara,” she walks off.

One of the men, however, intends for things to go ugly as he breaks off a bottleneck. That moment, Lockheed shows up, firing a warning burst of flame in front of the men. “My dragon, my hero,” Kitty jokes as she walks off with her pet.

The gang members go to lick their wounds. One of them accosts another, Jun, that he had told them they were just to rough up some helpless foreign chick. He wouldn’t call that helpless. Easy money, he said. They enter a bar. Jun admits that his employer lied to him. Was it that rat Tsutomu? another man asks. No, he did, a masked man who appears out of nowhere states.

The men are annoyed and amused at the stranger’s ridiculous attire. Is he from the local anime club? Jun tells them that he is the one who hired them. Angrily, he tells the man that they got their butts kicked. He demands being paid double. Suddenly, the stranger breaks Jun’s neck. The others get frightened, claiming they have no problem with him. As long as he lets them leave.

The stranger replies that they have served their purpose. The Path does not leave loose ends. With that, he kills the men with a few well-placed shuriken. After that the bar is burned down. The ninja receives a phone call. The one at the other end asks if the cat still has her claws. Has he seen enough? Then he is to hunt her down!

Characters Involved: 

Cyclops, Shadowcat (both X-Men)


Ryoko Oshiba (J.D.S.S. agent)

Jun and other local gangsters


in flashback

Shadowcat, Wolverine


on snapshot


on camera surveillance scene


Story Notes: 

The female dragon was introduced in Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars #12. Lockheed had been away for the entire series and returned with her in the final issue. When the X-Men teleported back to Japan, the dragon came with them but grew into a giant dragon and pulled havoc on the city of Tokyo, until Lockheed told her to go away. It is unclear why Kitty is so well informed about this as, unlike, Cyclops, she wasn’t with the team during that adventure, despite what she claims here. [Secret Wars #12 & Uncanny X-Men #180]

The dragon is called Puff here, after the children’s (or is it drug?) song “Puff, the magic dragon.” That’s the first time the name is used for her.

The Bullet train could be thought of as the world’s first high speed train. Services started in 1964 with speeds at 210km/h or 131mph, the fastest trains went at the time, and many countries (including the USA) still have no trains running at this speed. Along the Tokaido line series 300 trains operate at a top speed of 270km/h or 168mph (since 1992).
Along the Sanyo line series 500 trains operate at a top speed of 300km/h or 186mph (since 1997). Along the Tohoku line series 200 E2 + E3 trains operate at 275km/h or 170mph (since 1997), the rest at 240km/h or 150mph (since 1988). Along the Joetsu line series 200 "F9x" sets operate at 275km/h or 170mph (since 1990). Along the Hokuriku line E2 trains operate at 260km/h or 162mph (since 1997).

Kitty’s traumatic adventure with Ogun occurred in the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine limited series.

Ogun later showed up again as a disembodied spirit, pestering Kitty in Kitty Pryde: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. limited series, as well as Wolverine in his own title. When trying to possess Wolverine, Ogun failed. He then tried to possess Viper, but Logan severely injured her, forcing Ogun’s spirit out. [Wolverine (2nd series) #169]

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