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X-Men Announces Kitty Pryde’s New Codename Alongside Stunning Redesign

Summary

  • Kate ‘Kitty’ Pryde has undergone a drastic evolution and transformed into a towering hero known as Shadow Tiger.
  • Kate’s transformation into Shadow Tiger may be a result of unlocking the ability to increase her density, making her superstrong and durable.
  • The X-Men face their final battle in Rise of the Powers of X #1, coming January 10.


As the X-Men wage their final battle for survival, five brave mutants unite to stop the extinction of all biological life on Earth, including the X-Men’s perennial kid sister, Kate ‘Kitty’ Pryde. However, this isn’t the Kate fans know. The last five years have seen Kate undergo a drastic evolution, culminating in a dark transformation.

A few months ago, Marvel released R.B. Silva and David Curiel’s cover for Rise of the Powers of X #1, and fans were shocked to see Kate transformed into an intimidating gray-skinned giant. Now, on the eve of the issue’s release, writer Kieron Gillen has revealed the official codename for Kate’s new form. In an interview with CBR, Gillen casually spills the codename of Kate Pryde’s new transformation, branding her “Shadow Tiger.”

x-men rise of the powers of x r b silva cover team shot with wolverine

An evolution of Kate Pryde’s former Shadowkat codename, this new form is a towering hero who still wears a version of Shadowkat’s ninja costume and wields twin swords given to her by the demonic warrior Ogun. The Shadow Tiger is the result of the X-Men fighting (and losing) their hardest battle ever and being transformed by that experience. The issue comes from Clayton Cowles, Silva, Curiel and Gillen.

Standing in the way of Armageddon are the last X-Men: Synch, Wolverine, Kamala Khan’s Captain Krakoa, a mysterious Iron Man, and Kate’s Shadow Tiger.


Kate Pryde Is the Shadow Tiger

Kate ‘Kitty’ Pryde Transforms for X-Men’s Final Battle

x-men fall of x kitty pryde shadowkat

Rise of the Powers of X is set in a dark future ten years after the X-Men lost their definitive battle against Orchis (which is playing out simultaneously in Gerry Duggan and Lucas Werneck’s Fall of the House of X.) With the X-Men crushed, artificial intelligence has risen up to destroy mutantkind, and the world’s robotic overlords are about to seal their victory by summoning the Dominion – a godlike synthetic being which will absorb all robotic life on Earth while scouring it of humans and mutants. Standing in the way of Armageddon are the last X-Men: Synch, Wolverine, Kamala Khan’s Captain Krakoa, a mysterious Iron Man, and Kate’s Shadow Tiger.

As Shadowkat and now Shadow Tiger, it’s clear that Kate has fully embraced Wolverine’s tactics.

Fans don’t yet know how mutantkind will lose its final battle against Orchis or why these five heroes have survived to mount a final attack on the Dominion. Likewise, the various transformations on show have yet to be explained, with Kate’s being the most glaring. One possible explanation is that Kate Pryde has unlocked the ability to increase her density – shown in various alternate timelines (such as the Ultimate Universe) to be an inversion of her intangibility powers. This would make her superstrong and durable, which fits with her new intimidating stature.

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X-Men’s Krakoan Era Has Transformed Kate Pryde

Kate’s New Codename Is the End-Point of a Dark Transformation

In 2019, Marvel revamped its entire X-Men line for the Krakoan Era, gathering all the franchise’s heroes and villains together as part of a single nation. Kate Pryde starred in the tie-in series Marauders, which established two motivating factors for her adventures going forwards: she was the one mutant who couldn’t use teleportation gates to get to the island of Krakoa, and she was undergoing a personal evolution into a darker, more adult persona.

In Marauders #1 (Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli), Emma Frost points out that Kate is trusted and loved by the other X-Men because she’s an inherently reasonable and compassionate presence, saying, “You never once gave someone an extra shot in the ribs simply because they deserved it.” Kate ends the issue by proving Emma wrong – booting a mutant-hating extremist in the ribs, then committing herself to taking down anyone who tries to stop other mutants reaching the island. Emma’s sentiment set up a violent maturation for Kate over the following five years, which culminated in the 2023 Hellfire Gala massacre. After seeing her friends killed before her eyes, Kate was attacked by Orchis and responded by slaughtering ten human agents. She then retrieved swords gifted to her by Ogun – the villain who trained Wolverine to fight and later tried to possess Kate – and began using the codename he had chosen for her as Shadowkat.

One of the major tasks Rise of the Powers of X needs to accomplish is providing a nuanced end-note to Kate’s evolution over the last five years

Kate Pryde was introduced in the ’80s as a point-of-view character who could see the X-Men in a new light. She became the most prominent protégé of Wolverine, who trained her in combat and became a surrogate father figure. The two always contrasted because Wolverine was the group’s blood-stained warrior and Kate its sparky conscience, however that dichotomy is over. As Shadowkat and now Shadow Tiger, it’s clear that Kate has fully embraced Wolverine’s tactics and morality.

Kate Pryde Has Become Wolverine, But Is That a Good Thing?

Kate Pryde’s Fate Will Make a Major Statement About What X-Men Considers Justifiable

Kitty Pryde’s introduction to X-Men lore was far more transformative than many fans realize, both for the franchise and for pop culture. Kitty blazed a trail as the young protagonist on a team of adult superheroes, learning and growing while coming into her powers. Kitty all but invented a ‘type’ which is common today, with Joss Whedon even name-checking the character as “the mother of Buffy [the Vampire Slayer]” in an interview with Wired.

Marauders officially began a new stage of Kate’s life – no longer the trainee hero, but now the team badass. Her more combative, cocksure attitude felt like an earned maturation, however the fall of Krakoa has arguably turned this ‘growth’ into corruption. Broken-hearted and vengeful, it’s hard to see ‘Shadowkat’ as a positive change for Kate, and Shadow Tiger seems set to distance her even more from her humanity. Marauders has made a point of exploring Kate via the names she adopts – she rejected her youthful ‘Kitty’ nickname as Kate Pryde, became the captain of the Marauders as the Red Queen, transformed into a killer as Shadowkat, and now faces the end as Shadow Tiger. What name will Kate carry forwards after her experiences during the Krakoan Era?

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One of the major tasks Rise of the Powers of X needs to accomplish is providing a nuanced end-note to Kate’s evolution over the last five years. She shed her ‘kid sister’ persona to become a swashbuckling hero, but then ended up abandoning her heroic identity as a ruthless killer. Is Shadowkat who Kate had to become to save her fellow mutants, or did she take a wrong turn along the way? The way in which Marvel handles Shadow Tiger will answer this question and make a major moral statement about the last five years of X-Men stories.

What’s Next for Kate Pryde?

Of Every Character, X-Men Needs to Stick the Landing for This Former Reader Surrogate

Kitty Pryde art by John Cassaday

Marvel has announced that the X-Men’s next era will be titled ‘From the Ashes,’ suggesting that after Rise of the Powers of X/Fall of the House of X conclude, the team will be left to deal with the fallout of their final fight against the Dominion. While time travel shenanigans may overwrite the future where Shadow Tiger exists, it’s highly unlikely Marvel will reverse Kate’s journey from Kitty to Shadowkat. So is Shadow Tiger a warning of what Shadowkat will become if she doesn’t step back from the brink, or the most extreme expression of who Kate has already become? Only the epic finale of X-Men‘s Krakoan Era can provide the answer.

Rise of the Powers of X #1 is available January 10 from Marvel Comics.

Source: Dave Richards, CBR; Adam Rogers, Wired

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