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Welcome Kitty Pryde to the X-Men

Brian Wood discusses how the one-time youngest member of the mutant team has come into her own and then some!

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By Brett White

The X-Men franchise's latest mutation takes the action and drama that fans have come to expect from the team and multiplies it exponentially. X-MEN, the new series from writer Brian Wood and artist Olivier Coipel, stars six of the biggest characters in the X-Universe bound together by duty, fate and friendship to form a heavy-hitting fighting force.

Fittingly for a book simply called X-MEN, the women that comprise the team represent time-tested, fan favorite characters with rich personalities. Wood skillfully brought the group dynamics germane to close knit teams to life while writing the previous X-MEN series last year.

Katherine "Kitty" Pryde joined the X-Men as barely even a teenager, giving the team a sense of hope following their darkest mission. With her genius intellect and ability to phase through solid matter, Kitty grew into her own on the team, becoming an invaluable member and close friend to those she fought alongside. Now she's been the headmistress of the Jean Grey School and currently mentors a group of time-displaced teenage X-Men.

We spoke to Brian Wood about which of Kitty's many skill sets he hopes to utilize.

Marvel.com: You're a big fan of Pixie and Jubilee. What are your thoughts on Kitty Pryde's greater role in the X-Men, as the character that started the teen-girl-amongst-adults role that's become essential to the mythos?

Brian Wood: It's hard for me, and for plenty of readers, I gather, to see these characters as true teens. Even if they haven't aged in story-time, they are decades old in real time. Perhaps more to the point, they have decades of experience under their belt, which ages them even if physically the look the same. So Kitty's not really a teen girl and I don't write her as one.

Traditionally, Kitty's the brains of the outfit, and has a tendency to be the smartest one in whatever room she happens to walk into. Her role in this team is the strategist, the fixer, the problem-solver and the deliverer-of-wise-cracks. I like writing her as hyper-capable—well, they all are, really, but each in their own way. Kitty's way is to be clever as hell, able to read people really well, and [she] is most likely to be the one to get everyone out of an impossible situation.

I've enjoyed writing some scenes in this first arc where she interacts and works with some of the Jean Grey School students since, while she's not really a typical teenager like I said above, she can still relate, and I liked having her banter back and forth with the kids. I'm sure she just loves being called "Ms. Pryde", too.

Marvel.com: How do you think Kitty has grown up during her tenure as an X-Man? Does any part of you wish you could write teenage Kitty Pryde?

Brian Wood: I think Kitty works best a little older. It can make her cleverness and dependability less earnest-seeming when its coming from, let's just say, a 24 year-old than a 16 year-old, at least the way I write. Also, in a general way, I always try and write younger characters older. I think kids are smarter than most people think. Or, at the very least, they're trying to be smarter and older.

Marvel.com: Similarly, Kitty's gained much more responsibility lately by taking charge of the original X-Men in ALL-NEW X-MEN. Will that play a part in this book, or does Kitty get to cut loose a little more here?

Brian Wood: This title here should be her chance to cut loose a bit. Our missions are really high-action, OTT-type affairs, and this is where she should be in the thick of it. Besides, if she really misses dealing with the dramas back at the Jean Grey School, she can get her fill of the dramas while doing plane-to-plane rescues over the Sierra Nevadas. Plenty of dramas up there. Just wait for issue #4.

Marvel.com: Kitty's powers are defensive in nature, yet she's been trained to fight by Wolverine. Will you be using both the defensive and offensive sides of Kitty?

Brian Wood: Both. Over on ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN, I've intentionally limited that Kitty Pryde to her defensive powers. Partly for story reasons, but also there is no shortage of interesting ways to use her phasing power. It's sort of hard not to. But yeah, she has a whole other aspect to her powers and I'll absolutely be writing that in this series.

Marvel.com: Kitty and Storm's friendship was essential to both characters for years, but they've spent more time apart than together lately. Will they be able to pick up where they left off in this series?

Brian Wood: Absolutely. A key theme of this whole series, not just this intro arc, is one of family. I do believe that in spite of past stories where there was conflict or beef or any sort of bad feelings, there's a foundation of, at least, respect. And we'll take it from there. Everything I've written and am writing to date has been stories that bring them closer, that justify this team existing.

Pick up X-MEN #1, available now!

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