• Columns 

    Character Spotlight: Psylocke

    By | October 28th, 2009
    Posted in Columns | % Comments

    In last the premiere Saturday Showdown between Matt and David, something was brought up that hurt me to my very core. David dissed my girl Psylocke. Everyone who’s a regular reader knows she’s my favorite X-Man. and well, I think it calls for a Character Spotlight.

    The woman known has Elisabeth “Betsy” Braddock has a very storied, if not complex, history. She introduced first as a supporting character in Marvel UK’s Captain Britain and stood in for her brother Brian Braddock for a short time in what is admittedly one of the ugliest costumes I’ve ever seen. I guess it wasn’t the costume so much as it was the hair! It looks like one of those “4th of July” popsicles. But I digress.

    She was born in England, the second child of three. Younger than her brother Jamie and older than her twin brother Brian, in her early days she trained to be a charter pilot. She later learned her younger brother, Brian, was Captain Britain and developed precognitive and telepathic abilities after being kidnapped by The Red Skull. She later spent time as a model but left the profession for a job working as a spy, putting her newly discovered psychic to work. Later, as I mentioned before, took up the mantle of Captain Britain in that unfortunately designed suit. But in true Women in Refrigerators fashion, was subsequently blinded by the supervillain The Slaymaster.

    After that, her creator, Chris Claremont, integrated her into the X-Men universe by having her abducted by the master of the TV driven “Mojoverse.” Here, Mojo fitted her with bionic eyes and a brainwashing. She was rescued by the New Mutants and lived with them while not being an official member until the Mutant Massacre, when she gained vital information from Sabretooth’s mind. She was officially invited to the team and adopted the name “Psylocke,” which she had been given while in the Mojoverse.

    Later, her story gets weird. She’s originally just a pure telepath in the vein on Professor X or Emma Frost, but is later kidnapped, brainwash her (again) and switch bodies with a Japanese assassin named Kwannon. She also gains her trademark Psychic Knife.

    When the team splits into the Blue and Gold teams, she joins Cyclops’ Blue team with the new Adjective-less X-Men Volume 2. Smitten with Cyclops, she attempts to seduce him. Here, Kwannon returns and claims our Betsy is a fraud, but Kwannon was the fraud, but Betsy’s flirtations with the leader of the X-Men were part of the plot in which Kwannon was created, and were not of Psylocke’s own accord.

    Free of the influence of the mind splicing, she entered into a romance with another original X-Man, Warren Worthington, III, better known and Angel or Archangel. During this relationship, she is nearly killed by the X-Baddie Sabretooth but is saved by using the mystic artifact The Crimson Dawn. It gives her a telepathic power boost and allows her to move through the shadows, but it started to change her entire personality. This power boost also enabled her to trap The Shadow King on the Astral Plane, at the cost of never using it again without releasing him again (now that I think about it, that sounds rather similar to a plot point used in the current Matt Fraction run on Uncanny with regards to Emma Frost and The Void). But she instead develops telekinesis. Soon after this, she is killed by the villain Vargas, while searching for the diaries of the psychic Destiny.

    Her death lasts for 4 years, which is an eternity in comic book years. She is later revived in the pages of Uncanny X-Men, by the very man who killed her, her creator, Chris Claremont. After this, she spent a great deal of time with the reality hopping team The Exiles. This brought her face to face with the Slaymaster of the Earth-1720, a version of the man that blinded her. She eventually defeated this alternate Slaymaster, and joined the Exiles for a time.

    Continued below

    She recently returned in the pages of Fraction’s Uncanny X-Men, While transversing the Omniverse, she was kidnapped by Madelyne Pryor and the Sisterhood of Mutants, brainwashed (yet again, how does she even HAVE a brain anymore). They had also stolen Betsy’s original body, and switched her back. Her personality and soul were restored to her Asian body by Dazzler. This caused her telepathy to emerge and also let her rejoin the X-Men.

    I know that’s a lot to digest, I’ve been a fan since I was a kid and it’s still hard to process. I’ve always loved her enigmatic personality and unique manifestation of telepathy. And who doesn’t like a hot ninja of death with issues? She might be “One Note,” I think that with her being handled by the Multiversity Comics Approved Christopher Yost in a mini-series devoted to her burying her original body and dealing with her multitudes of issues (called, appropriately enough, X-Men: Psylocke), she’ll be expanded much in the way Maria Hill has been in Fraction’s other title Invincible Iron Man. I also think it might remind certain people why she was so awesome, just…mishandled. I’m still looking forward to it, and it starts up next month.

    //TAGS | Character Spotlight

    Gilbert Short

    Gilbert Short. The Man. The Myth. The Legend. When he's not reading comic books so you don't have to, he's likely listening to mediocre music or watching excellent television. Passionate about Giants baseball and 49ers football. When he was a kid he wanted to be The Ultimate Warrior. He still kind of does. His favorite character is Superman and he will argue with you about it if you try to convince him otherwise. He also happens to be the head of Social Media Relations, which means you should totally give him a follow onTwitter.


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