It's official. Kitty Pryde is returning in Uncanny 522. So my hunch that it was the Scarlet Witch was wrong. In this case I'm glad I was wrong. I would much prefer seeing Kitty Pryde return over the Scarlet Witch. Kitty Pryde is one of those rare characters who can really carry a story. In Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-men run she really shined. She was the perfect foil for characters like Emma Frost while also showing a toughness that even someone like Wolverine can respect. Her relationship with Colossus has always made for great drama as well. They took some major steps in Astonishing and it was a shame when she was sent away in the end. Now that she's coming back, those stories that began in Astonishing can continue in Uncanny.
It seems to make sense that Kitty would be coming back around this time. This coincides with her being mentioned in recent issues of SWORD. When she does return she will most likely go to wherever the rest of the team is and at the moment, pretty much every element of the X-men is taking place on Utopia. Not only is Colossus there, but so is Magneto, Namor, and Emma Frost. These are all people she can clash with. She also has the toughness to be involved in X-Force. The possibilities are endless! On top of it all, she comes back just in time for the beginning of Second Coming. Her presence could only increase the story's awesomeness factor.
While I am glad to get Kitty Pryde back in 616, a part of me still wishes that Jean Grey were the one returning. But if she was going to come back, it makes more sense that she would come back in a story like Second Coming. Writers and editors alike (including notorius Jean-haters, Matt Fraction and Joe Quesada), have been dropping hints about her having a connection to Hope Summers, the mutant messiah from Messiah Complex. In a recent issue of Cable, Hope even showed the Phoenix emblem in her eyes while demonstrating telekinetic abilities. This on top of having red hair and green eyes makes it pretty telling. In that sense it wouldn't work if Jean came back in 522 because what would that do for Hope? How would these hints be reconciled?
The hints about Hope and Jean having a connection are abundent and since Hope is in the middle of her own Homecoming story, it works better of Jean doesn't return in 522. I know a lot of Jean fans would probably disagree, but on a purely logistical level it makes more sense. Now there is the potential for 616 to have both Jean Grey and Kitty Pryde back into the fold. Could the awesomeness potential be any greater?
But still, Marvel isn't above making Second Coming yet another tease for Jean fans. By the end of it all there could be no Jean return and Hope could either be killed off or turned into a psuedo-Jean, much like Rachel is. This will offer no condolences to the fans nor will it add much potential, adding yet another Jean look-a-like into the story. But Marvel, particularly Fraction and Quesada, have been adament in their portrayal of Jean. They do not like her because she came back when she should have and she can upset things with Emma Frost. For that reason, I'm deeply skeptical they'll bring her back in Second Coming. I don't want to be, but I'll have to wait to be proven wrong (and I hope I am).
Until then, Kitty Pryde will help. But the sheer awesomeness that she and Jean Grey would bring to the table is just too enticing. Please Marvel? Do the right thing! Do not keep from us the gift of such awesomeness!