Some couples simply can’t catch a break. Wolverine has this habit of leading his significant others to their deaths. Cyclops and Jean Grey ran into the pitfall of not only both of them seemingly dying, but also two clones of her whom he had proposed to dying as well.
But few couples run into quite as many problems as do Piotr Rasputin and Kitty Pryde: the X-Men’s Colossus and Shadowcat. For nearly the entire existence of both characters, they have been either trying to hook up or trying to pretend that they weren’t wanting to. Everything from villain attacks to romantic rivals to even editorial mandates have done their best to keep the two apart, yet somehow they’ve managed to persevere.
With the announcement that April will see begin the solo-writing stint of Kieron Gillen on Uncanny X-Men came the announcement that his first arc would star the two troubled lovers in their first real story together since Kitty returned from her Space Bullet just before Second Coming kicked off. And with that ahead of us, let’s take a moment to look back at where the two have been and just what has stood in their way these last decades.
Get comfortable. This might take a little while.
Kitty Pryde debuted in Uncanny X-Men #129 during the first issue of what would ultimately become known as the Dark Phoenix Saga. Her appearance set off the chain of events that introduced the X-Men to both the Hellfire Club as well as longtime villain and eventual teammate Emma Frost. Kitty’s initial meeting with the X-Men established an instant attraction to Colossus, and when – following the death of Phoenix and the departure of Cyclops – Kitty joined the team, a mutual crush was established between the two.
The budding relationship had some issues to it immediately. Though Kitty was certainly not written as such, she was repeatedly stated to be only 14 years old. Colossus, while the youngest member of the X-Men to that point, was still at least 18, possibly 19. As the two grew closer together, the message conveyed by writer Chris Claremont was seemingly that love between two people should not have to bow to society’s standards. Though never specifically stated, Kitty implied several times that she wanted to have sex with him, most notably directly to him during a storyline involving the Brood. Colossus politely declined, though the two still took the opportunity to make out.
As the relationship got more serious between the two, while still establishing that Kitty was well under an age of consent, the upper levels of Marvel got wind of it and felt that it was time to split the two up before people started complaining. Kitty sparked up a friendship with local resident Doug Ramsey (later Cypher of the New Mutants) which led Colossus to begin doubting whether he and Kitty had anything in common to base their relationship upon. Then, with Kitty safely away in a storyline in New Mutants, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter did the deal himself with Marvel’s epic crossover Secret Wars. There, Colossus became infatuated with a
plot-development point character named Zsaji who conveniently was around to heal the heroes wounds when need be. Despite not being able to speak with one another, the two fell in love and none of the X-Men seemed to need to point out that he had a thing going with their teammate. When Zsaji sacrificed her life to revive the heroes of the Marvel U, Colossus was heartbroken to the point that he could not even think about a relationship with Kitty anymore.
The editorial mandated breakup left both Colossus and the newly christened Shadowcat with little to do. Colossus resumed his place in the background punching things while Kitty became a ninja…seriously. When the team got a remixing during the Mutant Massacre, both Colossus and Shadowcat – along with Nightcrawler – were the ones who were yanked from the book. Colossus’s injuries even prevented him from being involved in the story that involved saving Kitty’s life (Fantastic Four vs. X-Men limited series). Colossus was tossed back into the X-Men just before the Fall of the Mutants storyline, while Kitty was sent to the spin-off book Excalibur, and there the two remained, separated from one another for quite some time.
It wouldn’t be until the far later story of Fatal Attractions that the two would interact again. By that time, enough time had passed that Kitty’s age joined the others’ in the realm of vague assumption. She had developed so much as a character, it could be safely assumed that she was now a young adult and thus could safely engage in relationships with older characters. And thus, the relationship was revisited as a part of Colossus’s defection to Magneto’s Acolytes. She was used as bait to lure Colossus to Muir Island, seemingly to be recruited to the Acolytes herself, as a ploy to allow Professor X and Moira MacTaggert to treat a head injury that they believed resulted in his defection. The ploy was successful, but Colossus remained with the Acolytes, even forgiving Kitty for her deception.
Kitty didn’t wait around for Peter to get his head together, however. She herself got into an unlikely relationship with black ops agent Pete Wisdom (Pryde and Wisdom – get it?), and the two went public with their love just as Colossus decided to seek solace amongst his friends in Excalibur. He didn’t take it to well, to say the least. The confrontation left both Wisdom and Colossus seriously injured and the rest of Excalibur fuming at Colossus for attacking their teammate in a jealous rage. Kitty herself confronted Colossus, telling him that there chance was over and that she was happy with Wisdom. Colossus swallowed his pride and accepted being “just friends”.
Kitty’s relationship with Wisdom fell apart and she rejoined the X-Men along with Colossus, though the two still did not have any kind of romantic interaction with one another. Instead, upon the return of Claremont to the franchise, the two took very different turns. Kitty dramatically changed her appearance and personality for no definite reason, while Colossus began a kind-of fling by kissing Rogue, her powers suddenly unable to affect his armored body (a continuity gaffe). The storylines did not move beyond their first appearances as Kitty vanished from the book and Colossus and Rogue were otherwise too occupied to deal with it again. Both were to be plot points to be touched upon later, but Claremont was yanked from the titles and given his own X-Treme X-Men title in which neither appeared. Kitty fell into character limbo, which she rather oddly languished for a few years.
Colossus, on the other hand, did not meet such a kind fate. Before Grant Morrison’s New X-Men kicked off a new direction for the line, it was decided that a decade-old plot device, the Legacy Virus, needed to be done away with. Colossus drew the short straw and was used as the final victim of the formerly important story, dying to cure it. Kitty reappeared to scatter his ashes, reestablishing their love for one another, but seemingly too late to do anything about it. She went back behind the scenes, and he was gone.
Then along came another turning point for the X-Men line, under the banner of Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men. Looking to get the X-Men back to their superhero roots, Whedon created a core team for his flagship book and brought Kitty back from obscurity as a central character. But the real shocker game midway through the opening story arc when Whedon surprised the fanbase by bringing Colossus back, alive and well. Kitty’s silent reaction spoke volumes.
Colossus’s return revealed to both of them how much they meant to each other, but their rocky history together prevented either from coming out and saying it. Finally, taking advantage of a moment of downtime before the next big crisis, the two finally did what they had wanted to so long ago, with both of them now willing and able adults to meet society’s standards. They didn’t even let the awkward bit of Kitty phasing through the floor into another room kill the moment.
But even with the two finally a happy couple, fate would not leave the two alone. With their world threatened by a giant bullet launched from Breakworld, Kitty entered the structure and phased it, saving the world but putting herself onto a one-way ride seemingly into oblivion. With no other option, Colossus was forced to mourn for his love just as she had done for him. He was unwilling and unable to move past her, which began making him a liability to the team. Under Cyclops’s advice and with Emma Frost’s help, Colossus finally began to move on, though still unwilling to forget about Kitty.
Luckily, thanks to Magneto, it was a moot point. The master of magnetism managed to retrieve the bullet from deep space and return it to Earth, recovering Kitty from within. But unfortunately they were left with a whole new problem, as the ordeal had locked Kitty within a phasing state, preventing her from making contact with her reunited love. She is now confined to a special suit which gives her physical form and allows communication. And that’s where we are now.
So what does the future hold for Colossus and Kitty, now that they have been reunited? That is a secret held by Kieron Gillen, though if history tells us anything, it likely won’t mean lasting happiness for the couple.