The X-Men's Kitty Pryde Murdered Her Rival In What If | CBR – CBR – Comic Book Resources

In a What If? tale, Kitty Pryde violently ended her oldest rivalry, dramatically changing the direction of this important mutant relationship.
In recent years, Kate Pryde has become close allies, and even friends, with one unlikely mutant: Emma Frost. This partnership has mended years of bitterness and rivalry between the two X-Men. In What If? Astonishing X-Men, by Jim McCann, David Yardin, Ibraim Roberson and Kai Spannuth, the rivalry between Kitty and Emma had a much more violent ending for both mutants.
This What If? tale told a very different version of Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men run, where Jean Grey was resurrected rather than Colossus. Jean’s return incited fierce jealousy in Emma Frost, who had just begun a relationship with Cyclops. As a result, Emma was manipulated by Cassandra Nova into bonding with the Phoenix Force, destroying the alien planet Breakworld and attacking her fellow X-Men. The conflict ended when Kitty Pryde phased her hand through Emma’s chest, reaching in and pulling out her heart. Immediately afterward, the Phoenix Force released an explosion that killed Kitty as well.
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This moment brought a rather tragic end to the Kitty/Emma rivalry, which had begun decades beforehand. From their first appearances in 1980’s Uncanny X-Men #129, by Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Terry Austin, Bob Sharen and Tom Orzechowski, Kitty and Emma were enemies. At the time, Emma was still the Hellfire Club‘s White Queen, leading an attack on the X-Men. Kitty was just meeting the X-Men for the first time when she witnessed their attack and abduction by the White Queen’s forces.
Kitty was forced to go on the run as Emma and the Hellfire Club relentlessly chased after the young mutant. Clearly, this wasn’t the best first impression, cementing Emma’s place as a villain in Kitty’s mind. Later on, Emma even tried to steal Kitty away from the Xavier Institute, in 1981’s Uncanny X-Men #151, by Chris Claremont, Jim Sherman, Bob McLeod, Josef Rubinstein, Bonnie Wilford and Josef Rubinstein.
Emma not only tried to enroll Kitty at her Massachusetts Academy, but she also swapped bodies with Kitty’s good friend and mentor, Storm. Decades later, in 2004’s Astonishing X-Men #2, by Joss Whedon, John Cassady, Laura Martin and Chris Eliopoulos, Kitty made it perfectly clear that she hadn’t forgiven Emma for her past actions as the White Queen.
This caused a lot of friction between the two during their time together on the X-Men. Ultimately, however, a mutual respect developed between Kitty and Emma. This became especially apparent when Kitty had to phase a giant bullet through the Earth. During this monumental sacrifice, Emma kept in telepathic contact with Kitty, with the two showing serious respect for one another. Emma even offered to change Kitty’s perception of these events, to ease her pain.
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Since then, the recent Marauders series has continued to develop the relationship between Kate and Emma, bringing them closer than ever and putting their previous rivalry behind them. Emma specifically chose Kate as her Red Queen, putting the two together as partners in both the Hellfire Trading Company and Krakoa’s Quiet Council.
The current relationship between Kate Pryde and Emma Frost has been a satisfying bit of character growth for both mutants. Still, in some ways, the ending to What If? Astonishing X-Men did hold its own sense of closure for the characters as well. In this alternate universe, Kitty got the chance to save the day and take down her childhood tormentor.
Not only did she overcome her personal villain, Emma Frost, she also got to stop the power of the Phoenix Force, which is a big character moment. Of course, Emma herself was robbed of the character development she would receive in Earth-616. Additionally, Kitty didn’t even survive her triumphant moment, taking away all possible future triumphs for the character. Short-term, What If? held a satisfying ending for Kitty and Emma, bringing their rivalry full circle.
Yet in the long term, Earth-616 still has a more satisfying resolution to this rivalry. Seeing Kate and Emma become partners and friends demonstrates plenty of character growth for both mutants. Marauders, in particular, has highlighted how far both Kate and Emma have come, both as individuals and as friends. Ultimately, it’s far more enjoyable to see Kate and Emma put their past behind them, slowly growing from enemies, to allies, to friends.
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Nabeel Gaber is a longtime follower of comic books, cartoons and anything sci-fi. He’s based in Houston, Texas, keeping up to date with all of the latest comics, movies and television series. Nabeel is a graduate of Trinity University, working now as a freelance comic book features writer. In his spare time, Nabeel enjoys running, improv comedy, and, above all else, reading comics. Feel free to follow Nabeel on Twitter at @book_column and check out his blog, thecomicbookcolumn.com!

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