Sunday, 21 July 2013
KPW #2: "Terror"
Last time we dropped in on this miniseries I suggested it was struggling for a clear purpose. After reading this issue, things aren't any less murky. Not because there's no sense of what Claremont is trying to do, but because there's so many possible themes here that I'm struggling to figure out which one we're supposed to be grabbing hold of.
It now seems that the sturm und drang surrounding Kitty's dumping by Peter isn't going to feature as much as I'd already assumed. By this point, Kitty is just tagging it on to the end of reasons why her life sucks, as oppose to it informing her actions in any real sense. Indeed, this may be where we stumble onto what's really going on here. Claremont may be suggesting this is an opportunity for Sprite to mature somewhat.
This is a plausible conclusion given events, but we should note that Claremont has chosen an odd vehicle for the idea. In this issue Kitty is captured by Ogun (one of the Japanese gangsters she saw pressuring her father in Illinois, and who reminds her of Wolverine enough to make it clear this is not a dude with which to be fucked), and is brainwashed into becoming a deadly ninja.
I admit it makes some sense for someone to think Kitty would make an excellent assassin; she's small, light and athletic, and she doesn't need anything so prosaic as doors. Quite how Ogun knows this ahead of time I'm not sure - maybe he doesn't, and indoctrinating teenagers is just how he rolls in general - but fair enough. But it's worth noting this isn't the only time Claremont uses the plot-line of a sinister Asian villain brainwashing a western woman into becoming his private assassin. The fact that this of all things could become a recurring theme is... interesting, to say the least.
We'll deal with that in more detail when the idea resurfaces with Psylocke ("Lady Yellowface", as Abi calls her), though. For now we'll focus on what this developments suggests. As I say, it can feed into the idea of Kitty growing up, though the idea this is happening due to a malevolent external pressure causes of all sorts of problems with that as a metaphor. It's one thing for characters to mature through adversity. It's quite another to do through experiencing what is quite clearly abuse. The potential problems of a character arc that can be summed up as "now that adult male has physically and psychologically dominated me, I no longer mind about my teenage crush dumping me" surely need not be stated.
On the other hand, perhaps something else is happening here. The shock reveal at the end of the issue is that Ogun reminds Kitty of Wolverine because her friend was actually trained by Ogun as well. Perhaps this is as much about Wolverine's past as it is Kitty's future.
Of course, that carries its own problems. Kitty's mind-domination is a problem if she's the heroine of the story, but it's no easier to deal with if it's there simply to give Wolverine something to react to. We're in refrigerator territory, here.
Ultimately, though, this is a second issue of set-up. Which isn't necessarily a problem in a six-book series. Kitty and Wolverine are in place, and with Logan threatening Ogun's associate Shigematsu with death if he doesn't secure the release of Kitty, and Ogun himself ordering Sprite to murder her former friend, it's not hard to see what shape issue #3 will take.
Still, though. Where is this all going?
It's difficult to tell how long this story plays out over, since there's no indication of how much time Sprite spends being taught to become a ninja. Clearly it's all going on in her subconscious, since she can't literally have been turned back into a toddler and raised as an assassin, but the necessary time-frame needed for the brainwashing is unclear.
On the other hand, it seems likely Wolverine's appearance towards the end of the issue takes place soon after he arrives in Japan. That, combined with Kitty saying she spent the night in a sewer, suggests this all happens the day after Kitty's arrival in Japan.
Sunday 5th February, 1984.
Argentinian soccer star Carlos Tevez is born.
...Yeah, I got nothing. There's nothing here that's good enough to note, and the weirder stuff has that whole psychological abuse thing hanging over it.