X-Men reveals the violent cause of Shadowkat’s new identity

Christopher Baggett
X-Men #25 cover art depicting Kitty Pryde as Shadowkat.

Every mutant was affected by the massacre at the Hellfire Gala. Longtime X-Man Kitty Pryde, now known as Shadowkat, had her entire identity shaken to the core, and she may never come back.

Kitty Pryde was once a beloved mainstay of the team, something of a mascot. She joined the team as a child after her ability to phase through solid objects manifested and has been a mainstay ever since. She’s assumed numerous codenames – Sprite, Shadowcat, Captain Kate – and been on multiple teams of X-Men.

But once the X-Men were reformed on the island of Krakoa, her inability to walk through the techno-organic Krakoan teleportation gates made her something of an outcast. That was turned on its head in the moments following the Hellfire Gala. Kitty, leaning against a gate while speaking with other surviving X-Men, somehow fell through and landed at the feet of Orchis soldiers. 

The issue ended with Kitty seemingly outnumbered and most mutants dead. X-Men #25 opened an indeterminate amount of time later. Kitty seemingly changed by the event, having adopted a darker persona, a new costume and a new codename – Shadowkat. However, she still hasn’t told the X-Men about the violent event that shook her to the core. 

Kitty Pryde had to become a killer to survive

Kitty found herself not only surrounded by enemy soldiers but in a unique position. She was now able to walk through the Krakoa gates, though she didn’t know how or why. But she did know keeping it secret would be a tactical advantage in the coming fight. 

Seeing no other choice, Shadowkat kills the eight Orchis soldiers who are standing opposite her, both to defend herself and to preserve her secret. It’s a series of violent, brutal pages and something that clearly shakes Kitty to the core. 

Perhaps where it becomes the most apparent is the final kills. Two men are blown apart by grenades which Kitty phases into their chests. Another she rips the heart out of. The last soldier, pleading for mercy on the grounds the X-Men saved him before, has his neck broken by a tearful Pryde, who informs him that “those X-Men are dead now.”

Kitty Pryde slays Orchis soldiers
X-Men #25: Kitty Pryde kills Orchis soldiers who have seen her walk through a Krakoan gate.

Longtime fans shouldn’t be surprised that Kitty’s quite the violent mastermind she is here. She’s trained alongside some of the deadliest X-Men allies and foes, including Wolverine and Ogun, throughout her long career. Though she voices displeasure as she dispatches her enemies, it’s the final, haunting howl at the end that lets readers know Kitty’s not coping well. 

Kitty Pryde surrounded by dead Orchis soldiers.
X-Men #25 – Kitty Pryde breaks down after slaughtering Orchis soldiers.

It’s coping with this trauma that leads Kitty to adopt the Shadowkat moniker, a tweaked version of her old Shadowcat identity. With this, Shadowkat also adopts a pair of katana and a new, black hooded costume. It’s a shocking change for the character, who has been a hard-drinking, brawling pirate for most of the X-Men’s time on Krakoa. 

The issue ends with Shadowkat keeping secret what happened and on her way to hunt down Firestar, who she believes betrayed the X-Men. But it’s surely only a matter of time before the emotional cost of the deaths she caused catches up to her. 

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