Unsinkable Ship: All The Girls Love Kitty Pryde (Especially Illyana) [Love & Sex Week]
Illyana Rasputin was Kitty Pryde's first true love, and you'll never convince me otherwise. Sure, Kitty had already expressed an interest in Illyana's brother Piotr (the gentle giant known as Colossus), but at the time that was more of a childhood crush. It was only later, after Kitty had become an adult without Piotr getting much older, that later writers decided that Kitty and Colossus had been "true love." Kitty's relationship with Illyana, meanwhile, was a close connection between two equals.
This was in the 1980s, of course. Kitty was the youngest member of the Uncanny X-Men, while Illyana was in the New Mutants. Kitty was a computer prodigy from suburban Chicago who could walk through walls. Illyana was a demon sorceress who'd spent half her life in the infernal dimension of Limbo, learning spells and having parts of her soul removed. Naturally, they were roommates at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.
By day, they fought for the good of both mutants and humans as members of their respective teams. By night, they had tickle-fights so intense they phased through the bed.
The misfits in a community of misfits, they had a bond with each other that nobody else shared, and many readers saw something romantic in that bond. There was even a mystical aspect, where Kitty was the only other person who could draw Illyana's Soul Sword, and inherited it when Magik ceased to exist. As any fan of Revolutionary Girl Utena knows, being able to magically draw a sword out of another person is a pretty strong sign about the strength of your relationship.
Little hints have continued through the years, particularly since Magik's return to life and her graduation to the X-Men. In All-New X-Men #25, written by Brian Michael Bendis, the Watcher shows the Beast possible futures for the X-Men. One such future, drawn by Ronnie Del Carmen, describes the X-Men as "Free to live, free to love," and illustrates the point with a montage of Kitty and Illyana as fast-driving warrior women, slaying monsters and running through the ocean holding hands. The frustrating thing is that Bendis offered us this possible future, and then decided that in the "real" Marvel Universe, Kitty should abandon Illyana and the X-Men to live in outer space with Star-Lord.
But Illyana wasn't the only roommate Kitty fell for over the years. She also had a close bond (psychic rapport and all) with Rachel Summers, with whom she shared a room in the Excalibur lighthouse. In fact, Chris Claremont said in an interview last year that he intended for Rachel to be the love of Kitty's life. Claremont attempted to establish Kitty as queer in the 2003 Mekanix miniseries, but it's never become a part of Marvel Comics canon.
With the coming ResurrXion reboot, Kitty Pryde is back in the X-Men, and on a team with Rachel no less. With her relationship with Star-Lord over, and her previous boyfriend Iceman newly out as gay, now would be the perfect time for Kitty to deal openly and honestly with her bisexuality. Once that happens, her history with both Rachel and Illyana can become canon as well. And if she happens to find a future with one or both of them, even better! Surely Chris Claremont and the Watcher can't both be wrong.