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X-Men Annual #8 (1984, September)

October 4, 2014

There will be no post tomorrow. But for today, by Claremont and Steve Leialoha, “The Adventures of Lockheed the Space Dragon and His Pet Girl Kitty.”

The Adventures of Lockheed the Space Dragon and His Pet Girl Kitty

Oh yeah, this is a fun one.

We start with Wolverine telling a story at a campfire. It’s a story about a female samurai being asked by a god to be his queen. She refuses, out of loyalty to her lord. Storm carries over some firewood, and everyone thinks about how hard it must be on her to lose her powers. Amanda talks to Colossus about how everyone feels he betrayed Kitty. Kitty guess Wolverine’s story was meant as a reference to what she just went through in Japan, in a story that hasn’t been told yet. Xavier says it’s time for bed, but Illyana wants a chance to tell a story to cheer Kitty up, to return the favour from Kitty’s Fairy Tale way back in the day.

The Starliner, Chicago, is attacked by pirates. Kitty is grabbed, and taken to the White Queen. The White Queen touches Kitty, and part of Kitty’s arm becomes crystal as she’s bound to the Queen. Kitty panics and runs, right through a console. The Queen’s ship comes under attack. Wolverine boards and fights, joined by Nightcrawler. Kitty’s lost, but found by the Queen, who has her parents. And then kills them. Before the Queen can take her over, though, Lockheed rescues her. He invites her to join his crew, which includes Illyana as the ship’s AI.

A few years pass. They get invited to a jubilee by Xavier, and Kitty tries on a few different outfits (designed by Trina Robbins). At the party, Kitty sees Colossus, and thinks he’s gorgeous. Lockheed suddenly flies off as Kitty is introduced to him. Wolverine follows Lockheed while Kitty and Nightcrawler enjoy the party. Lockheed is attacked by more dragons, and is teleported away. Luckily, Wolverine did capture a prisoner of his own (who resembles Lockheed). Less luckily, the White Queen shows up and freezes him.

The White Queen sends a holographic projection to the party, and kills the dragon Wolverine captured. Kitty swears revenge, and Illyana finds a trail to follow. The White Queen follows, hoping they’ll lead her to a source of power. The trail leads to a black hole, so they need a good pilot to get them through it. Kitty heads into a dive bar, and finds Ororo, a shattered shell of a woman. Ororo says she doesn’t fly any more, and Rogue tries to get rid of Kitty. Kitty tells Ororo off, and manages to convince her to try.

They manage to get through the black hole. They head down to a planet, where they find Lockheed, living in the lap of luxury. He’s in a dragon colony that seems to be entirely female. Then the ship is blown up, and the White Queen teleports into the colony. Kitty grabs hold of Lockheed, who flies her into orbit and into the Queen’s ship. Lockheed frees Wolverine, who then kills the Black King, while Kitty sabotages the ship.

Back on the planet, the Queen shoots Lockheed, and then Kitty tangles with her. It’s a battle of wills as the Queen tries to take Kitty over. Kitty cries over Lockheed, who wakes up when her tears land on his face. Even Ororo and Illyana are still alive. Happy endings! Now Lockheed has a choice between fathering a whole new generation of dragons, or being a pirate. He chooses his race. On the ship, it turns out he sneaked aboard after all.

The story’s over. Storm decides it might be time for her to leave the team, to find herself. Kitty goes to make up with Colossus.

This isn’t as good as Kitty’s Fairy Tale, but it’s still a good, fun story. It’s cute, and rather sweet. There’s even a little bit of story development, with Storm deciding to quit. And, of course, there’s the make-up between Kitty and Colossus, and Kitty cheering up a bit after her Japanese adventure. Still, for the most part, it’s just a fun story-within-a-story. The art is a bit odd. It’s very, very sharp, like JRJr but even more. I can’t actually decide how I feel about it. I can’t say I loved it, but I don’t think I hated it. I’m torn between kinda liking it and kinda disliking it. I guess I’ll just say that I’m glad it was only this one annual, and he didn’t become the regular artist. Leialoha spent a while as artist for Spider-Woman in the early ’80s, and his style was a lot more conventional at that point. He’ll do an arc of New Mutants in another year, and it’ll be less angular than this comic. I wonder if the inking and colouring might be part of it. This is a very bright story, that might accentuate just how sharp his lines are.

Anyway, this isn’t required reading. It’s one of the weaker stories in quite a while. But it’s still pretty good.

Song of the day: Don’t Stop Lovin’ Me by Pomplamoose.

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