Time is never good for friendships in the mutant community, but with Kitty Pryde and Magik we are finally seeing a friendship that transcends all their problems.
Firm friends back in the 1980s, these two lost their way. On the one hand, the original Magik died from the Legacy Virus, and fragments of her soul were pulled back together by Belasco; on the other hand, Kitty was lost in space, believed dead, prisoner on a bullet and somehow surviving in spite of everything that was against her. When Kitty was brought back to Earth, she rekindled her relationship with Colossus; but she seemed to rarely interact with Magik.
Now, the reality is that I think the writers dropped the ball. When Matt Fraction restored Kitty to the X-teams, I think he’d actually forgotten how important Magik’s resurrection would have been to Kitty. But from an in-universe perspective, it was no doubt pretty freaky. It wasn’t that long before Magik was incarcerated, either, which must have left Kitty seriously doubting that this really was her old friend. And then the two wound up on different sides of the Schism, which can have hardly helped.
And then, in the aftermath of ‘Battle of the Atom’, Kitty headed over to Cyclops’ side of the Schism. That meant the two were finally on the same team, settled in the same place! What’s interesting is that the two immediately seem to have made an effort. Although, that said, there was certainly some awkwardness…
It only got funnier when Magik tried to give Kitty a hug, and Kitty instinctively phased protectively. For all the brilliant hue of friendship, there were also very real issues – dark swirls of distrust and discomfort. Still, the friendship seemed to be a work-in-progress.
And then Kitty began to date Star-Lord, and it really gets interesting. Sam Humphries followed up on Brian Bendis’ lead, and – since Kitty essentially became part of the cast of ‘Legendary Star Lord’ – he also brought in her best friend. Oh, sure, only occasionally, but he ran with the idea that these two were discussing guys, and he showed hints that Magik was seeking human interaction once again.
And, for all I’ve found ‘Black Vortex’ to be, shall we say, underwhelming, Humphries continued this wonderful vein of human interaction and humour.
And matters come to a head in ‘Uncanny X-Men #33’, an adventure that saw Kitty and Magik head off on their own. It wasn’t everything Bendis had planned; ‘The Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier’ overran, meaning the books have very much drifted away from the solicitations and covers. According to interviews a few months ago, Bendis’ intention had been to send the two off on a Demon Hunting adventure that would have lasted several issues. Instead, we got a single issue dedicated to the two, and I admit – given I wasn’t too happy with the resolution of ‘The Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier’ – that I’m a tad disappointed about that.
Still, Bendis wrote the two well, and focused on their interactions. The really excellent scene is in the first few pages:
I love how their faces are in shadow, completely hiding the emotions, and if you say it out loud you can feel the ‘creepy’ factor. And then, wonderfully, it’s subverted in such an effective way. We’re reminded that Magik has regained her soul, that she has emotions, and that she’s really seeking friendship.
It’s nice seeing an issue dedicated to tying this friendship up, especially when Bendis’ time on the books is limited, and ‘Secret Wars’ is round the corner. And it’s wonderful seeing a friendship bloom once again.