Friday, January 18, 2013

Too Catty For Mind Control

Can it be? Could Chris Claremont finally have created a character immune to his favorite pet peeve... mind control?

It sure looked that way when he introduced the mysterious girl known only as Cat back in Exiles # 97. 

Cat is an obvious analog for Kitty Pryde, one of Claremont's favorites from the regular 616 Marvel universe. A natural genius, she quickly became the Exiles' resident computer whiz, using the Crystal Palace's Panoptichron multidimensional scanning systems like she was born to do so.

However, she also had some curious quirks. For one, she was decidely anti-social and nothing like the semi carefree teenage Kitty the other Exiles were familiar with. She was also far more lethal. During a mission, she killed an alternative Wolverine by phasing the adamantium claws from his skeleton and lodging them in his vital organs.

And the mysteries kept piling up. For over a year, Claremont teased readers with little hints about her mysterious backstory and delivered on them in New Exiles # 12 by finally letting (the) Cat out of the bag.

*waits for crickets to quiet down after that particular zinger*

As it turns out, the reason this Kitty Pryde acted so different was because she wasn't actually a member of the X-men at all! In an interesting reversal on established 616 history, both professor Xavier and Emma Frost tried to recruit the young mutant but in this reality the White Queen won out.

Under her tutelage, Kitty quickly became one of the Hellfire Club's best and deadliest elite agents. And ow yes, the White Queen was also mind controlled by the Shadow King.

Just cos.

"She also knew that, regardless of how hard Emma tried to sink her hooks into Cat's mind and soul... the young girl was too intangible to be properly ensnared."

So, being able to phase makes one invulnerable to mind control? Guess that's a new one. But this is still a Chris Claremont comic and that means his pet characters will always have whatever it takes to make them awesome... Common sense is for pussies, and she is a Kitty, darn it!

Y'think I'm being a bit harsh? Well, just read what Wikipedia wrote about the new additional abilities Cat's intangibility granted her...

"Cat's skill with using her powers means she is not tied to any dimension and can see through various realities, including those of the mind (...) Her arrival in the Crystal Palace and connection to its computers has increased this, giving her the ability to "cascade" through different alternate versions of herself, altering her appearance and details of her powers."
Did someone just start whistling Chaka Khan's classic "I'm Every Woman" ? Because that's exactly what Cat turned out to be once her body continuously started transforming against her will. For those of you keeping score: Yes, forced female body transmogrification is indeed another one of Chris Claremont's long cherished peeves.

So it only made sense Kitty would turn into this...

"She interfaces with an infinite collection of alternate identities and bounces randomly from one to another... until she finally synchs with one that feels "right".

And I suppose turning a 13 year old into every Furry cosplayer fetisjist's dream come true apparently felt right too. Still, there was more ahead for poor ol' Cat.

Remember how she killed that Wolverine? He was one of the lieutenants of the New Exiles's greatest enemy: an alternative reality Invisible Woman who had come to rule Earth as the evil Empress Hydra. Essentially, think Viper with a blond fright wig and invisible forcefields.

Cat was mortally wounded during one of their confrontations. Luckily, another mind control related power kicked in to keep her going...

Cat phases with fellow team member Mystiq, the two becoming one and miraculously healing both their injuries instead of inflicting double the wounds on one body. And what a body it was...

For some reason, merging an alternate male version of Mystique and an equally alternate, body hopping Kitty Pryde leaves you with a 616-like Shadowcat. Who, I'm sorry to report, also dies by the end of the issue.

Hey, the arc is called Away We Go for a reason, right?

Two issues after Cat's demise, New Exiles folded with Sage becoming the living essence of the Crystal Palace's omniverse monitoring systems. However, so it seems when one reads between the lines, had the series had continued... This also would have been Cat's job...Because that really would have made her the epitomy of awesomesauce.

"Yeah, well now she's too DEAD."

Yeah, that too, Psylocke. Alas, poor Cat, we hardly knew ye.

No comments: