HUNTER, STEVIE

Publication Date: 
11th Apr 2019
Written By: 
Image Work: 
Real name

Stephanie "Stevie" Hunter

Height

5' 9"

Weight

121 lbs.

Hair

black

Eyes

brown

First appearance

X-Men (1st series) #139

Known relatives

none known

Profession

Ballet dancer, dance instructor, Congresswoman

Group affiliation

Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, United States House of Representatives

Powers

baseline human

BIOGRAPHY

Stephanie ‘Stevie’ Hunter was a famous prima ballerina, until the day she broke her knee in a terrible accident. Even though she had surgery to fix it, the knee never healed correctly and, in the years to come, she would still get the occasional sudden pain in the area. The accident forced her to retire, so she turned to a new career as a dance teacher and choreographer. This was a change that Stevie didn’t accept easily; screaming, cursing, breaking things and crying when alone. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #165, New Mutants Annual #1]

Eventually, she set up a dance studio at 73 Willingdon Road, Salem Center, Westchester, NY, not far from the Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Headmaster of the school, Professor Xavier knew of Kitty Pryde’s love for dance and decided to have Kitty take dance classes under Stevie. Kitty was already familiar with Stevie, having seen her perform in Chicago, and was thrilled at the opportunity to study with her. Kitty and Stevie immediately took to each other. Discerning from the first the chemistry between them, Storm, who had accompanied Kitty to her first class, felt somewhat jealous in spite of herself. [X-Men (1st series) #139-140]

Kitty became extremely fond of her dance teacher and, a few weeks later, made her a Christmas present: an invitation to watch Britain’s Royal Ballet. Unfortunately, on the day of the performance, Kitty had an attack of the flu and asked Storm to take her place. Storm reluctantly accepted and accompanied Stevie to the Metropolitan Opera House of Lincoln Center. During the show, Stevie openly confided to Ororo her sadness at not being a dancer anymore. Despite finding Stevie extremely likeable, Ororo still felt insecure about Stevie potentially replacing her in Kitty’s life as a mother figure. Just then, Miss Locke, Arcade’s assistant, attacked the two women, injecting them with a poison. Stevie was incapacitated, but not before witnessing Storm use her mutant powers against Miss Locke. Stevie woke up inside a castle that housed Arcade’s Murderworld. Undeterred by the realization that the X-Men were mutants, Stevie defied her captor, Miss Locke. Fortunately, the X-Men soon prevailed and the captives were set free. Stevie had passed her baptism of fire with flying colors: she had just survived her first adventure and had become an integral part of the X-Men’s lives. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #145-147]

Shortly afterwards, Stevie, Kitty, Ororo and Jessica Drew went out to celebrate at the nightclub where the mutant singer Dazzler performed. However, their entertainment was cut short when the mutant Caliban broke the party and attempted to kidnap Kitty. Stevie could only watch as her new friends changed into their costumes and joined the fight. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #148] Some time later, Stevie was drawn into yet another ordeal when Storm and Kitty contacted her and asked for help. Storm’s mind was trapped into the body of the Hellfire Club’s White Queen, a formidable enemy of the X-Men, and the two mutants needed Stevie to give them a ride back to the X-Mansion. Stevie happily drove them back with her Saab Turbo. Despite Stevie yet again proving herself an ally, Storm still felt jealous of the rapport between Kitty and Stevie.

Shortly after Kitty and Ororo left, Stevie was captured by Sebastian Shaw and the White Queen, thus having her second experience of captivity in a short period of time. Fortunately, she was again released when the X-Men defeated the Club. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #152] A few weeks later, with the X-Men now lost in space, Moira MacTaggert invited Stevie to spend an afternoon with her by the pool, desperate to have some human company now that the team was gone. Stevie admitted to Moira that she felt an affinity to Professor X due to the loss of his legs. Stevie herself had been able to walk after her surgery, but she relived a sense of loss whenever she went to the ballet; she would do anything to go back to that life. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #165]

With the X-Men still presumed dead or missing, Professor X brought a new team of teenage mutant trainees, the New Mutants, to the mansion. Stevie was appointed instructor of physical fitness, although she also kept her dance studio open to other students. Soon after, Stevie took the kids – minus Dani Moonstar – to Salem Center to watch a screening of E.T. and then to the Salem Center Mall. While there, Stevie was approached by Colonel Mike Rossi, an old friend of X-Men’s ally Carol Danvers, who warned her that the New Mutants were about to be detained by agents of Project: Wideawake, working for Sebastian Shaw. Stevie and Rossi joined forces and 

managed to stall the agents, which were forced to bring in reinforcements: Sentinels. Throughout the ensuing battle, Stevie acted as field leader, although at one point she paused and reflected that she had no business making life-or-death decisions: she was, after all, merely a dancer and a teacher. The crisis passed, the group returned to the mansion, only to discover that Dani had been attacked inside the Danger Room by what was seemingly a Brood. Knowing that only she, the absent Moira and Professor X were authorized to override the Danger Room’s safety protocols, Stevie was the first to suspect that perhaps Charles was involved in this mysterious incident. [New Mutants (1st series) #1-2]

With the X-Men soon returned and the Brood mystery resolved, Stevie had troubles of her own when an unidentified man kept calling her studio and harassing her, claiming that Stevie knew what he wanted and that he’d come to get it soon. Despite Stevie’s insistence that she didn’t need anybody’s help, Professor X had a phone tracking device installed. The New Mutants traced the caller, who was revealed to be a teenage boy, Peter Bristow, a dance student of Stevie’s for many years. Peter revealed he was in love with Stevie. The boy was clearly psychologically disturbed, having been repeatedly physically abused by his father and had grown up to confuse physical punishment with love. Since Stevie refused to punish him during dance classes, he had started to believe she didn’t really care for him, and so he had tried to take revenge. [New Mutants (1st series) #4]

With Kitty back to the mansion safe and sound, Stevie and Kitty reestablished their mother/daughter, teacher/student bond. Despite this bond, Stevie would never mince her words with Kitty. During one class, Kitty seemed unable to concentrate and Stevie asked the reason. Kitty was upset that Xavier had her transferred to the New Mutants. Impatient with self-pity and possibly speaking from her own firsthand experience with frustration, Stevie admitted that life was indeed lousy but suggested Kitty fight for what she wanted. Her pep talk did motivate Kitty, who ultimately convinced Xavier into allowing her to remain with the X-Men. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #168]

Things weren’t always smooth between Kitty and Stevie. Having just turned fourteen, Kitty was now in full-on adolescent mode, which meant that some arguments were to be expected. On one occasion, Kitty got into a fistfight with one of her classmates at the dance school, a boy who spoke in favor of Reverend William Stryker’s anti-mutant crusade and called Kitty a ‘mutie-lover.’ Stevie tried to appease Kitty, telling her these were only words – having perhaps already forgotten her own recent experience with verbal harassment. However, Kitty, distressed with Stevie’s calmness, snapped at her, wondering whether Stevie would be so tolerant if the boy had called her a “nigger-lover.” Kitty then stormed off. Colossus tried to apologize on her behalf for the uncalled-for remark but Stevie, weeping alone, had to admit that Kitty was right. What Stevie didn’t know was that she was being watched by Stryker’s anti-mutant strike force, the Purifiers, who briefly entertained the possibility of assassinating her on the spot for being a mutant sympathizer. Fortunately, they ultimately decided to focus on their primary targets, the X-Men. [Marvel Graphic Novel #5 / X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills]

Although Stevie was asked to chaperone the New Mutants on their various excursions, she didn’t always prove effective in keeping them under control. On one such occasion, the New Mutants watched a motorcycle show by Team America. However, after the Team was attacked by Silver Samurai and the Viper, the students decided to join the fight. Stevie was quite upset when Karma was wounded and rendered unconscious during the skirmish. Back at the mansion, Stevie watched as Xavier tried to organize a plan against the villains. She couldn’t help but wonder how a man such as Xavier could wield such power and not be corrupted, although she kept these thoughts to herself. [New Mutants (1st series) #5]

Stevie continued teaching dance to Kitty (and the New Mutants) and her special bond with Kitty remained strong throughout the coming months. However, Kitty was having trouble accepting the other mother figure in her life: Storm. Ever since they had returned from their trip in Japan, Kitty felt estranged from Storm, who had underwent what seemed a radical change in her personality and was now sporting a Mohawk hairstyle. Kitty confided her troubles to Stevie, who tried to assuage her that the change was only superficial and that Ororo was still the woman she knew and loved. Storm eavesdropped on their conversation and broke in. In an attempt to mend the strained relationship between the two, Stevie advised Ororo to be patient: eventually, Kitty would come to accept Ororo’s “new” style. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #177]

Returning from a trip to Salem Center to buy items for Professor X’s surprise party, Steve and several of the New Mutants discovered that in their absence the mansion had been attacked by the demon S’ym. The demon had been dispatched by his master, Belasco, to capture Illyana Rasputin, who had spent seven years in the demonic dimension of Limbo as an apprentice of Belasco. Fortunately, while the rest of the New Mutants battled S’ym, Stevie managed to grab the unconscious Illyana and drag her to safety, despite the lack of cooperation from her damaged knee. S’ym caught up with them and was about to slay Stevie when Illyana woke up and intervened, revealing her vast magical/demonic abilities and forcing S’ym to swear fealty to her. Stevie was horrified to witness what Illyana had become. S’ym suggested to his new mistress that Stevie should be slain, lest she betray Illyana’s secret to her teammates, but Illyana opted to have Stevie’s memories of the incident wiped. [New Mutants (1st series) #14]

Stevie retained her post as dance/fitness instructor for the New Mutants after Magneto became the new Headmaster of Xavier Institute. Nevertheless, she was not beyond challenging Magneto’s authority and, when he once crashed her dance class and tried to enforce his presence, she sternly reminded him that this was her class and she needed no idiot interference. [New Mutants (1st series) #38]

Stevie remained at the institute through thick and thin, even after the New Mutants went missing for a while, being stranded in an alternate timeline. [New Mutants (1st series) #48] However, she ultimately left after the school was destroyed by Mister Sinister, with the X-Men also presumed dead at this point. She eventually returned at the rebuilt school when Storm resurfaced, now bizarrely having been de-aged. Ever the tough teacher, Stevie trained the newly adolescent Ororo. Later, by the estate’s lake, Ororo had an intimate discussion with Stevie, expressing her regret at the X-Men’s idea of feigning their deaths. It was at this pint that a squad of Genoshan magistrates suddenly attacked them, stunning Storm. Stevie tried to carry her to safety but, once again, her damaged knee gave way at the most inopportune moment. Storm regained her senses, got Stevie to safety and joined the fight. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #270]

After the Genosha crisis was resolved, a new threat emerged in the form of the Shadow King. Colossus, possessed by powerful telepath, approached Stevie one evening as she returned home and demanded her help in overriding the Danger Room safety protocols. Stevie fled with her car and was able to meet up with Professor X. The still possessed Colossus went after them, vowing to kill Stevie for disobeying his orders. Stevie uncharacteristically suggested to Charles they kill Colossus in order to vanquish the Shadow King but Xavier refused and finally emerged victorious with no casualties. [Muir Island Saga crossover]

In the following weeks, Stevie remained at the mansion through yet another crisis, tending to Professor X who was hovering between life and death, the result of an assassination attempt. At some point, Mister Sinister broke into the mansion and briefly kept Stevie and Val Cooper hostage, while providing information as to the whereabouts of the X-Men’s missing leaders, Cyclops and Jean Grey. [X-Cutioner’s Song crossover] Around the same time, Stevie also had the opportunity to reunite with some of her former students, namely Cannonball and Sunspot, who were forcibly brought to the mansion, now as members of X-Force. Sunspot related to Stevie his recent ordeals and Stevie admitted that she had no idea what would happen with any of her former students in the future: life was just so unpredictable. [X-Force (1st series) #19] In the coming days, Stevie also had to nurse another former student of hers, the dying Illyana, a victim of the Legacy virus. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #300]

Shortly after the wedding of Cyclops and Jean Grey, Stevie apparently decided to part ways with the X-Men and focus on her own career. Stevie and Kitty maintained contact over the next few years, but lost touch after Kitty spent months in outer space believed lost. Around the same period, Stevie tried her hand at a new, third career in her lifetime, after those of dancer and teacher: politics. She ran in the Connecticut 3rd Congressional district and was elected Congresswoman. Thanks to her connections, a few years later, Stevie arranged for Kitty to testify before Congress against a proposed mutant deportation law. Kitty (together with Colossus) landed in Washington and was unexpectedly greeted by her old teacher there, the two women reuniting in a touching embrace.

Kitty later testified before a Congressional committee, but the testimony was cut short when the villain Whiplash attacked them. Kitty and Colossus defeated the villain, saving everyone’s lives. Despite this, in her office next day, Stevie announced to Kitty and Peter that the deportation bill was going to pass the House anyway and go to the Senate, which meant the chances of it becoming law were becoming stronger. Stevie could only express her deepest regrets to her two friends for how things had turned out. [X-Men: Gold #9] With their relationship now reestablished, Kitty invited Stevie to her upcoming nuptials with Colossus, happy to have all three of her mother figures there: Stevie, Storm and her actual mother. The wedding never actually came to pass, though, as Kitty called off the wedding at the last minute. [X-Men: Gold #30]