What the D'ast? Lockheed
(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with Marvel Cosmic and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
By Byron Brewer
If you were an X-fan when I was an X-fan (that is, at the beginning of the “all-new, all-different” series by Claremontand Cockrum), you have to have a special place in your heart for Lockheed. His story with Kitty Pryde over the decades has been one of a special love and dedication. Let’s take a look.
Lockheed is a member of a highly advanced dragon-like extraterrestrial race, who are capable of traveling through space via special astral ships which transport their essences. Their society is similar to insect hives, with the individual being only part of the "Flock". Lockheed had been celebrated by his people as a brave fighter and hero against horrible monsters. He has demonstrated individual attitudes and wishes, however, which were realized only when he encountered the X-Men.
Kitty Pryde, once a teen X-Man, told a bedtime story to young Illyana Rasputin, who was living with the X-Men at the time. The story recast the X-Men, including the recently deceased Jean Grey, in the roles of fairy tale characters. One such character was a giant black dragon named "Lockheed,” who was based on the modified SR-71 Blackbird jet aircraft used by the team. (The name originates from the Lockheed Corporation, makers of the Blackbird.)
Not long thereafter, the X-Men were kidnapped into outer space by the alien Brood and taken to a Brood-colonized planet. Here, Kitty met a cat-sized purple dragon who resembled the creature from her fairy tale. He saved her from the Brood and then departed with her. She tried to hide his presence from Professor X and her teammates, but he was revealed back on Earth when he again saved her life, this time from a nest of alien Sidrian hunter hatchings. The X-Men accepted his presence in their mansion, and Lockheed has since been Kitty's longtime companion.
Lockheed also bonded to a lesser degree with Illyana Rasputin, who, after being abducted into the dimension of Limbo (also known as Otherplace) by the sorcerer Belasco, had aged into a teenager, manifested her own mutant powers and been installed as Kitty's roommate. Lockheed occasionally accompanied Illyana after she adopted the codename Magik and joined the X-Men's "junior team," the New Mutants, including an adventure where the two encountered Brood-controlled clones of the X-Men.
In addition to serving alongside Kitty with the X-Men, he joined her when she founded the British super-team Excalibur. There he would form a friendship with Widget, who was also a version of Kitty.
During his time with the team, Lockheed participated in the so-called “Cross-Time Caper,” which involved he and his team leaping through dimensions on a train. The train itself came from an alternate universe and it was discovered the power source was an alternate version of Lockheed himself. The two Lockheeds became good friends even though the other desired to stay in the train. Lockheed would travel with the team (and their ally, Alistaire Stuart) on several adventures throughout multiple realities, which included almost losing Kitty to the mystical powers of an alternate Queen of England. The team would also encounter a humanoid version of Lockheed. He, along with a female Nightcrawler analogue, would become the duo-team of Captain Britain, protecting the citizens of a magic-heavy planet. After their return to Earth, Lockheed's new dragon friend left with Numbers, a member of the interdimensional Technet.
Eventually, Lockheed's past exploits following his meeting with Kitty and the X-Men came back to haunt him. By having left so unexpectedly with Kitty, he had left behind his fiancée, whom he had been due to wed the following day. Later, while healing from injuries gained from fighting Dr. Doom, his astral form was apprehended by the Flock and had to stand trial for treason. In his astral form, Lockheed was capable of speech. After managing to explain his motives and saving his fellows from a piloting accident, he was officially exiled from his race, but on amiable terms.
Lockheed developed a severe distaste for Kitty's romantic interest: the secret agent Pete Wisdom (Kitty and her Peters!). Lockheed demonstrated that he has the ability to speak, but only talks to Wisdom, telling him that he "hated him." Peter tells Kitty about this, but she believes Wisdom is only joking, and Peter suffers the frequent theft of his clothing and cigarettes. Even so, Lockheed did eventually save Peter's life, although he made sure to tell the Londoner "I still 'ate yoo." It appears that one reason Lockheed disliked Wisdom so much was that he much preferred Kitty's previous boyfriend Colossus (Peter Rasputin). This was proven at Captain Britain and Meggan’s wedding in which Lockheed attempted to help them reconnect by snatching the bride's garter and dropping it into Rasputin’s hands, just after Kitty had won Meggan's bouquet.
Later, after Kitty left Excalibur and the X-Men entirely, it was believed that Lockheed was killed through unrevealed circumstances. In reality, Lockheed was found wounded and confused by a pair of young girls who practiced in witchcraft. He bonded with them until he discovered that the girls used their super-powers to terrorize the local populace. The duo were soon humiliated in battle by their rival, another young girl with powers. This new friend healed Lockheed and helped direct him back to Kitty.
It was revealed that Lockheed was a mole within S.W.O.R.D. The agency’s director, Abigail Brand, later told Kitty to stop coddling the dragon like a "celebrity's chihuahua" and that the dragon was an informant in exchange for S.W.O.R.D.'s help with pressing issues on its homeworld, and the dragon can speak more languages than Professor X. The shocked team looked on as Lockheed flew away from Kitty.
After discovering the truth about Lockheed, the X-Men team joins S.W.O.R.D. in an attempt to end the confrontation with the alien race of Breakworld, who are attempting to destroy Earth with a giant missile. Kitty is assigned with the team appointed to stop the missile, while Lockheed is forced to remain behind. The two share a final lingering look before Kitty leaves. Later Kitty phases into the missile to disrupt its circuitry, noting that it is composed of the same material as the rest of Breakworld, making it difficult and exhausting for her to phase through. After phasing for a mile into the missile, Kitty finds the center, only to discover it empty. The missile is fired, causing Kitty to pass out inside of it as Beast discovers too late that due to its shape, trajectory, and lack of internal circuitry, the Breakworld's weapon is not a missile, but a bullet. Kitty, who is unable to get out, manages to phase the bullet through the Earth, but is trapped within. At the end of Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men, Scott Summers mentions that Reed Richards, Dr. Strange and some "top men" tried to save Kitty but believe she has fused to the bullet as it continues to hurtle through space in a constant state of phasing.
While grieving over Kitty, Lockheed drinks heavily to help with the pain. Eventually it is revealed by Brand that Kitty is still alive within the bullet but they can't get her out yet. Lockheed then approaches Unit for help but then changes his mind and flies off as the price for helping Kitty involves freeing Unit from his prison.
Lockheed and Kitty, who was rescued from the Breakworld bullet by Magneto, seem to share a mental/empathic connection; both the alien dragon and she can "sense" each other's presence at times and generally understand one another's thoughts and actions.
I am happy that Lockheed has continued on throughout the many incarnations of the X-Men. Certainly it’s always nice to have a dragon around the house.