Thursday, October 29, 2009

Psylocke #1 Preview

Cover by: David Finch
Writer: Christopher Yost
Pencils: Harvey Tolibao
Inks: Paul Neary
Colored by: Brian Reber
Lettered by: VC's Joe Sabino

The Story: Psylocke has returned to the X-Men! Following the defeat of Madelyne Pryor and her Sisterhood, Psylocke travels to Japan to re-inter her former body in its proper resting place. But when a swarm of Hand ninjas attack Psylocke and do the unspeakable under orders from Matsu’o—the assassin originally responsible for transplanting Psylocke’s mind into the body of an Asian ninja—Psylocke determines that Matsu’o is one loose end that can no longer be left unresolved. It’s a tale of carnage and revenge, brought to you by superstars Chris Yost (X-Force) and Harvey Tolibao (Avengers: The Initiative)!

In Stores: November 4, 2009

Profiles in Comics: Chris Yost, Marvel, DC, Animation

Newsarama: You’ve written many miniseries for Marvel, and coming up you have a Psylocke miniseries. Can you tell us about your thoughts on the character, and the place you see for her in the X-titles and the Marvel U?

Chris Yost: Psylocke was one of the X-Men that I was there for, on the ground floor. I saw her join the team, fight Sabretooth, get her edge to her, the whole Siege Perilous thing... and then, transform into the Betsy we have today. I like Psylocke because she's got that edge, you're never quite sure if you can trust her to a certain extent... she bends a lot of the rules.

And poor Betsy has had a lot dumped on her. She's had to deal with so much insanity... Mojo, Crimson Dawn, being killed, rebuilt by her mad brother, being pulled into Exiles... and the whole body switch thing. Editor Daniel Ketchum and I really took our time deciding how to proceed on this, because her bio is so complicated.

And it has an affect on her. She's gone all surface, and doesn't want to deal with any of it. Is she real, fake, alive, dead... she doesn't know. But being an X-Man, that's something she knows. That's her rock.

MUA2 DLC Pack Release Date Announced

HeroHQ: The news you’ve been waiting for is here: the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 downloadable content will be available November 5th on XBOX Live (worldwide) and Playstation network in America, November 12th for Playstation Network in Europe.

The main DLC package (all-new characters, more boosts, and simulator missions) will retail for 800 Microsoft Points (XBOX) and $9.99 (PS3). Additionally, we’re making Juggernaut available as DLC (same dates) for 160 MS Points (XBOX) and $1.99 (PS3).


Moreover, Kalina, our favorite game producer, spills the beans on how the character roster for the DLC pack was chosen. Kalina said:

Psylocke - C’mon, did anybody who knew me from MUA1 think I would do MUA2 and NOT have Psylocke in the game? :P It certainly helped my case that Psylocke ranked as the #2 desired female character just after Jean Grey (and Jean’s already in MUA2) and more voices than mine have also been asking for Psylocke for a long time! Her in-game model really does her justice - I was really excited to see all the posts that came right after we revealed Psylocke and showed how cool her looks and powers are. And yes, definitely needed to add some female power to the mix."

Carnage - Carnage was a fun add to the game because he’s ALL NEW to the whole MUA franchise, and actually ranked #1 in our polls and surveys and other things among Marvel characters not previously in MUA or MUA2. He’s pretty recognizable on a mass appeal basis."

Cable - Believe it or not, Cable is also all-new to the MUA franchise and topped the list among our most hardcore fans at Comic Con AND via surveys and posts in this very VIP community."

Black Panther - This was actually a request from Marvel, and with an upcoming TV series that was announced and supposed to come out in 2009, we thought we’d tie in nicely with that."

Magneto - Of course Magneto tops the list of desired characters and his gameplay is epic. We thought twice about this one because he was DLC in MUA1, but felt we did need some really big anchor character that has that mass recognition, and Magneto was the biggest, most epic, most mass character outside of the ones we already have in the game. "

Kalina also talked about other characters that were considered for the DLC pack. She stated that it doesn't mean they won't be included in the future. She said:

"Cyclops - Came really close as he did rank high on VIP and Comic Con feedback. Ultimately, we felt that he’s already in the Wii/PS2/PSP versions of the game so people can still play as him. To have Cyclops AND Psylcoke as DLC would be too much crossover, so Psylocke won out."

"Emma Frost - I like her too! And she is definitely one we can design around. She also came REALLY close simply because we like her, but in our polls and surveys (VIP community included), she surprisingly ranked really low so that knocked her out of the running. She did not even rank in the top 20 characters requested that were not previously in MUA1! So I’ll say this - we WILL be coming out with a survey to VIPs on MUA2, and if you feel that strongly about Emma Frost, be sure you fill out that survey and list her! Those surveys are the most actionable way to get feedback. Also good that I read this particular thread and know how much people want her now."

"Rogue - We struggle with this one. I’d love to get Rogue in the game and she always tops our lists, but she is really, really hard to design. How do you design a character that can have any power if she just sucks it from other characters? Not to say it’s impossible, but we haven’t figured it out yet..."

"Hawkeye and Sentry - Well Sentry’s on the NDS version for those who feel strongly about him, and Hawkeye was already DLC for MUA1. Since we were repeating Magneto, it was too much to repeat another. And there were just characters that ranked higher to be honest, but don’t count them out for “next time” if it happens."

X-Men Forever #10 Spoilers & Art

Spoilers: This is it. Psylocke's first appearance in X-Men Forever. I'm going to be honest here. I dropped Forever after issue #3, so I'm not really sure what's going on. Betsy and Brian return from England to attend Wolverine's funeral. It seems Betsy may have joined Excalibur... or not. Pencils are by Paul Smith.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

X Necrosha & New Mutants #6 Spoilers

X Necrosha

X-Force: Selene's plan to ascend to godhood is about to be set in motion as her army of resurrected mutants moves into Utopia. At the X-Brig, Danger's virtual reality prison is turned off. The prisoners Sebastian Shaw, Donald Pierce and Empath are surprised by the arrival of the once dead Shinobi Shaw and Harry Leland. At the Med Bay, where X-23 is being treated, she and Wolverine smell the coming of the dead. Somewhere else, Emma Frost is shocked by the sight of her fallen students, the Hellions - Catseye, Jetstream, Roulette, Tarot, Beef and Bevatron. They attack her, however X-Force and Cyclops comes to Emma's rescue. After finding Wolfsbane's location (read X-Force #23) and returning to Utopia, Angel and Warpath are caught by surprise by Pyro and Berseker. At Genosha and accompanied by her Inner Circle - Wither, Eli Bard, Mortis, Blink and Senyaka - and Caliban and Thunderbird I, Selene affirms that is the place she will fulfill her destiny. She welcomes them to Necrosha.

New Mutants: Doug Ramsey aka Cypher is resurrected. Two weeks later, he leads Selene's army to break into Utopia as he's the only one able to neutralize the security. Upon accessing it, the Hellions and Doug go separate ways. Cypher reveals Selene has tasked him with the specific mission to kill someone - Magma.

X-Men Legacy: One week ago, Selene orders her minions to bring Destiny to her. The Black Queen wants to know what the future holds for her; Irene tells her she will achieve what she's set out to do. Destiny insists she needs to do something, that otherwise will end badly, however she's put back in her cell again. Somehow, Irene is able to contact Blindfond in Utopia and asks the girl to deliver a message. All by herself, Destiny believes she has made a mistake.

New Mutants #6

Spoilers: While Professor X awaits his son Legion to be stabilized, he's finally reunited with the New Mutants. They happily hang out as Cypher observes their reunion from afar, analyzing their body language and translating the real meanings of their speech. Moments later, Doug surprises Magma in her room. Cypher tricks her and beat her out. Doug shows an unconsciousness Magma to the rest of the team and affirms that was a message from Selene. Shocked, the New Mutants turn on him, but Doug's able to read their body language and predict their moves. Karma manages to possess everybody's minds, which confuses Cypher. Warlock arrives and asks the New Mutants why they are hurting Doug. The New Mutants try to explain everything to Warlock, but it's too late. Doug attacks Warlock and cuts his head off.

Friday, October 23, 2009

X Necrosha Preview

Cover by: Clayton Crain
Writer: Craig Kyle & Chris Yost, Zeb Wells, Mike Carey
Pencils: Clayton Crain, Ibraim Roberson, Laurence Campbell
Inks: Clayton Crain, Ibraim Roberson
Colored by: Clayton Crain, John Rauch, Matt Milla
Lettered by: VC's Cory Petit

The Story: Death has come to the X-Men. The one true Black Queen has returned, and she wants nothing less than every soul of mutantkind...dead or alive. And everyone that's ever crossed Selene is going to pay. The dead rise, familiar faces haunt mutants across the world, and Selene takes her final steps into becoming a god. It all begins here in a full-length X-Force extravaganza, and continues in the pages of next month’s issue of X-Force… but the shockwaves of this terrifying event will be felt in New Mutants and X-Men: Legacy as well, and those reverberations begin here in two all-new bonus tales.

In Stores: October 28, 2009

Like a Butterfly's Anniversary!

Hi everybody! Exactly one year ago, we created this little blog - Like a Butterfly. By that time, I was pretty annoyed Psylocke was stuck in New Exiles, without any hopes to return to the X-Men titles. And I was not the only one. It felt like everyone was forgetting about her, or didn't care about her anymore. That's why I created this blog. Betsy Le Site - the best Psylocke fansite that ever was - wasn't updated anymore. I kinda wanted this place to bring all the fans together again, and my inspiration was Rebel Rogue, an amazing Rogue fanblog. Soon enough, things started to happen. New Exiles was cancelled, and Sword of the Braddocks was released. Afterwards, Psylocke was finally brought back to the main Marvel Universe in Uncanny X-Men. In the most "classic Psylocke story" (i.e. convulated!) way! Those were turbulent times, but everthing worked out in the end. 2009 was a pretty big year for Betsy. She regained her telepathy and the spotlight she so long deserved. Currently, she appears in Uncanny X-Men, and soon will be guest-starring in X-Men: Legacy and Wolverine: Weapon X. And of course in a few weeks, Psylocke, her first solo miniseries will be released. How great is that? Not to mention her inclusion in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. Things started slowly for us, but now we have like 2.000 visits a day! I just wanted to thank CmX who's always helping me out, all you guys who are always commenting here, the guys on CBR and the creators I've annoyed this past year, especially Chris Yost and Mike Carey. LOL. And by the way, I hope you guys like the new layout. =]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Psylocke Free Sketchbook! Torn from the pages of Uncanny X-Men, the most dangerous mutant ninja assassin is getting her own limitied series, and you have a chance to go behind the scenes of Psylocke for free! Discover the Psylocke Sketchbook, courtesy of Marvel Digital Comic Unlimited, right here! Red hot writer Christopher Yost and fan favorite artist Harvey Tolibao provide in-depth commentary on never before seen sketches from the upcoming series! What sends Psylocke into a murderous frenzy? And how is Wolverine involved? Fans can't afford to miss this sneak peak into an explosive story of betrayal and revenge!

This highly anticipated limited series promises to change the already significant role of Psylocke forever! Be sure to check out the Psylocke Sketchbook for free right here! Don't forget to get your hands on the very pulse-pounding Psylocke #1, in-stores November 11!

X-Position: Chris Yost & Craig Kyle

X-Force writers, Chris Yost and Craig Kyle, join CBR to answer your questions in today’s X-Position. Another Psylocke question makes it!

Psylocke is a character that most just see as a sexy ninja. With her new miniseries coming on, will we get the opportunity to finally go deeper than this and understand her motivations, dreams, and fears? She's also been changed and transformed so many times since her creation that I wonder – is there anything left in Psylocke from that little blonde British girl who first appeared in "Captain Britain"? Is there any way to unify these different incarnations of the character and make it a whole?

Chris Yost: It's funny, because we do see that "little blonde British girl" a few times in this series. This series is really about this character reflecting on her life and just the flat-out insanity of it, and what that does to a person. Like, what does being involved with the X-Men, and all the death and all the resurrection, and being blinded, and having your brother from an alternate dimension try to hurt you in horrible ways, do to a person? How do you not snap? This is a sad story. It's basically like Matsu'o taking a match and throwing it onto the powder keg that is her life. It's a very touchy-feely book.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

MUA2: The Making of Psylocke

The Making of Psylocke: For this week’s dev diary on our newly announced downloadable character, Psylocke, we’ve gotten the deadly duo of Steven Vanseth and Steve Nelson to help us out. Take it away, guys!

What was the overriding “theme” or direction you tried to capture with Psylocke?

Steve Vanseth

Psylocke is a fan favorite, and I wanted to make sure I stayed true to her character and captured the appeal of her character. This started in the basic traversal. I really wanted to give her a strong feminine attitude. As for her powers, we felt it was key to play up her martial arts abilities as much as possible and incorporate her ability to create “psi” weapons.

Steven Nelson
Effects Artist

Violet. Almost all the characters in the Marvel Universe have a color associated with them or their power sets. This is almost always the first consideration in making a visual effect. Even when a character doesn’t have a theme color in the comics, we will give them one we think is appropriate. After that, I keep in mind what the character isn’t actually capable of. I try hard not to give a character powers that they don’t have, or that don’t make since in the comic book reality. Psylocke was a difficult case in which I had to fudge the visuals a bit to make the FX look interesting. Nothing really super about a person throwing a couple kicks in a row. But throw in an aura around their body at the moment of impact and a bright flash, and all of a sudden that kick looks a lot more powerful.

What’s something you worked on that did this particularly well?

Steve Vanseth

I’m really happy with the way her traversal animations turned out. She has a lot of character, and I think she really stands out from the crowd… just take a moment to look at her walk. On the powers side, I think her Triple Strike works really well. It combines everything we wanted to show in Psylocke: strength, appeal, and skill.

Steven Nelson
Effects Artist

I think that the “collect and smash” fusion that Psylocke performs came out pretty well. I had some challenges with the fact that she doesn’t exactly have “explosive” powers, visually. So I did a little cheating by giving her a transparent model trail to emphasize when she’s using her powers. That, in combination with creating a sword and slicing up some baddies, really sold the grandness of the fusion.

Now that Psylocke’s about done, what’s your favorite part?

Steve Vanseth

Surprisingly, I think finishing her walk was my favorite part. I think I enjoyed it so much because I was able to really play up her character and try and get a lot of her personality to come through that animation.

Steven Nelson
Effects Artist

I get really excited when people get that WOW feeling from something I have made. However, it’s tough to get the “aw, that’s not how they look at all.” I feel like I have done a good job of walking the line between bringing the effects from the static images of the comic book to the three-dimensional moving world of the video game. In the end, though, it’s you guys who decide whether or not I’ve succeeded. I will tell you this, though: Before I started work on this project, I had been slacking on my comic book reading. In an effort to get things as right as possible I am now re-addicted to my local comic book store and the pull list gets more ridiculous by the week.

Psylocke's Top Five 'What the--?!' Gaming Moments Last week, I celebrated the announcement of downloadable Carnage for "Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2" with a retrospective on all his game appearances. Well, you may have heard that Psylocke has been announced as a second downloadable character since then (once again, per audience demand), and I wanted to do the same kind of thing for her. But I won't. She's just been in too many games, and there's not much I can tell you that Wikipedia can't already.

Looking over that list, though, I realized something -- a number of Psylocke's game appearances, not unlike those hilarious videos has been running over the past year or so, just make you go "What the--?!". With that in mind, I present to you...

Psylocke's Top Five "What the--?!" Gaming Moments
(Thanks Psychilde!)

5. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (Activision, 2006 -- X360, PS3, PC, Wii, Xbox PS2)

Psylocke's appearance in the first "MUA" was quite different than what you'll see as "MUA2" DLC. As you might recall, you're cruising along toward the end of the game when all of a sudden Doctor Doom uses his newly acquired god-like powers to turn a bunch of defeated heroes into "Dark" versions of themselves to fight your team. With no real build-up to her, Dark Psylocke appears with Dark Cyclops (who had been established in an amazing cutscene), inspiring a bit of a "What the--?!" from the gamer, as you prepare to pound her to a pulp. And if that doesn't do it, her face will. I think Ash said it best in "Army of Darkness": "Honey, you got real ugly."

4. X-Men vs. Street Fighter (Capcom, 1996 -- Arcade, Saturn, PlayStation)

Marvel fans who walk around screaming "shoryuken!" know very well that Psylocke is crazy-lethal in fighting games from Capcom and Activision -- except one. Well after her fighting-game debut in "X-Men: Children of the Atom" (side note: also the first Marvel fighting game ever), she was snubbed from the playable roster of this debut Marvel vs. Capcom showdown.

Psylocke does, however, show up out of nowhere if you beat the game as Cammy (the Capcom cutie who sees even less use in actual pants than Betsy). For no apparent reason, Cammy has lost her memory after the last fight, and the Hand just happens to be hanging around to pick her up (thinking Lady Mandarin II, perhaps?). Cue flash of purple light and "Someone appears out of nowhere!" It's Psylocke. Ninjas beaten. Day saved. Cue the two screens you see above... Somewhat head-scratching cameo complete.

3. Wolverine (LJN, 1991 -- NES)

The first time we ever saw the modern interpretation of Psylocke in a game (and, on a personal note, the first time I ever saw the character, period) was perhaps her most forced appearance into a game. For whatever reason, she's the holder of a device that can summon Havok to heal Wolverine. Why does Psylocke have this? Why is she hanging out in a hidden room amidst teems of evil whatchamacallits? Why can't Havok give the device to Wolverine himself? Why didn't Wolvie just grab it from the mansion so that nothing's trying to kill him? And can't he heal himself already or something? We may never know the answers to these burning questions...

2. X-Men: The Ravages of Apocalypse (WizardWorks Software, 1998 -- PC; copy of "Quake" required)

If you know anything about "The Ravages of Apocalypse," it's not so much Psylocke's appearance in this FPS "total conversion" of the original 'Quake' that makes you say "What the--?!" so much as the premise of the game itself. As an unnamed cyborg created to serve Magneto (of course!), it's up to you to take on cloned X-Men characters created by Apocalypse. Cyborg Psylocke is among them. And if you've ever wanted to see Betsy bleed, this first-ever M-rated Marvel title will likely be the only chance you'll ever get.

"Ravages" would rank No. 1 on the list if it actually included Ms. Braddock herself. But since it doesn't, that honor goes to...

1. X-Men II: The Fall of the Mutants (Paragon Software, 1990 -- PC)

Psylocke's first-ever game appearance wasn't so "What the--?!" in its day -- we weren't so discriminating as gamers in the days of DOS -- but looking at it now, such a reaction is almost inevitable. Without getting into too much detail (check out her bio for that), until about 20 years ago, the character looked incredibly different, to say the least -- just check out that image from the box art. (I also love that the birds-eye shots of her are basically just a blob of purple hair.)

But Psylocke's look in the game isn't all that's kind of peculiar about her gaming debut: "X-Men II" takes Betsy in her early X-days and makes her go one-on-one with...well...let's just say I think this screenshot alone gives "X-Men II" the No. 1 slot here...

So, what do you think of this list? Agree? Disagree? Did I leave off anything you can think of? And while I'm at it, what are your favorite Psylocke gaming appearances? Please...comment away, True Believers! Excelsioryuken!
Chris Baker.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

MUA2: Psylocke's Alternate Costume & Dossier

"Picking Psylocke’s alternate costume was tough because there were a lot of good choices. Some questions I was often asking myself were, “Does it look fun?” and “Does it stand out in a crowd?” Ultimately most people on the project were drawn to her House of M costume. It had a kind of formal appeal to it but without the constraints of a standard dress. Plus I knew that we could really get the dragon motif to pop and shine."
Bryan Shutt – Art Director

Monday, October 19, 2009

X-Solicits for January 2010

Psylocke #3
Written by: Christopher Yost
Penciled by: Harvey Tolibao
Cover by: David Finch
“Kill Matsu’o” Part 3. Psylocke wants Matsu’o Tsurayaba dead for what he’s done to her. But it turns out that she’s not the only one who wants his head. Now, Psylocke is in a race against a super-powered assassin to get to Matsu’o first…because if anyone is going to end Matsu’o, it’s going to be her.

Uncanny X-Men #520
Written by: Matt Fraction
Penciled by: Greg Land
Cover by: Terry Dodson
“Nation X” There's a rogue Predator X stalking mutants beneath New York City and it's down to Wolverine and Fantomex to hunt it down. There's an island in the San Francisco Bay that the mutants call home and it's slowly sinking -- and only King Namor can save the day. And meanwhile, in San Francisco, a supermob is making life hard in Chinatown...somebody call the X-Men! Part 6 (of 8)

X-Men: Legacy #232
Written by: Mike Carey
Penciled by: Clay Mann
Cover by: Adi Granov
“Necrosha” A classic X-Villain hitched a ride on Destiny’s body when Selene brought her back from the dead. But this villain doesn’t want to be part of the Black Queen’s master plan. He’s got his own agenda. So it’s up to Rogue, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Psylocke, Husk, Blindfold and MAGNETO (what? You haven’t been reading UNCANNY X-MEN?!?!) to take this villain down. Part 2 (of 3)

Wolverine: Weapon X #9
Written by: Christopher Yost
Penciled by: Yanick Paquette
Cover by: Adam Kubert
In the crazed conclusion to "Insane In the Brain," Logan's stay in the whacked-out Dunwich Sanatorium finally comes to an end as his pals Psylocke and Nightcrawler show up to rescue him from the maniac clutches of Dr. Rot. But even if they can save his life, is it possible to recover what he's lost of his sanity?

X-Force #23
Written by: Christopher Yost & Craig Kyle
Pencils and Cover by: Clayton Crain
Variant Cover by: Clayton Crain
X-Force has a new mission: KILL SELENE. As Utopia burns, Wolverine and the team heads to take down the Black Queen and rescue one of their own, but they have no idea what they're in for when they arrive on the shores of Necrosha. The biggest X-Force story yet continues as Selene's Inner Circle begins to tear itself apart, and the truth about Wolfsbane is finally revealed. Part Four (of Six)