I bashed through all the Claremont X-Men issues for the first time recently - going from Giant Sized X-Men #1 to the end of Inferno - and it was weird to read the whole thing in order, instead of the bits and pieces I could pick up when my X-addiction was at its heights.
I learned a few new things, especially when reading comics that were published just before I started really collecting X-Men, and fully realising how important the strengths of the regular artists. But there is also one sad, inescapable conclusion that I came to, and that's that Kitty Pryde really is an absolute jerk.
Of course I thought she was wonderful when I first started reading X-Men. She was a bit older than I was, sassy as heck and a completely normal girl who also happened to be a ninja. She could beat you down the video arcade, get out of scrapes that would defeat every other X-Man, and had really great hair (exceptional hair when Alan Davis got involved).
But reading the X-saga now, with all the prejudices and complaints of a 40-something dude, Kitty comes across as an absolute pain in the arse. She brings the perkiness to a truly obnoxious degree, but is also an.entitled little shit in her dealings with the New Mutants, forever relgating them to the b-team, because she's the nerd who is too cool to hang with her inferiors.
By the time we get the fifth speech about bigotry delivered with all the fervor and logic of a 14-year-old, you're left wishing that Professor X had been more stringent and moved her to the X-Babies.
You still feel terrible for her when the Marauders fuck with her molecular cohesion and she is finally forced to leave the group, and the Shadowcat who became a vital part of Excalibur might be the best version of the character, with all the youthful vigor, but far less brattiness.
I'm a hell of a lot older than Kitty now, and feel a little creepy slagging off a teenage girl like this, even if she is fictional. But she really was the absolute worst.
Rogue was the best. 'Nuff said!