Tuesday, May 20, 2014

X-Position: Spurrier Takes a Broken "X-Force" Team To War

X-Position: This week, X-Position welcomes back the always-entertaining Simon Spurrier to answer your questions about the current incarnation of "X-Force," the "broken" nature of its team members, and the possible return of the telepathic Starfish to Dr. Nemesis' life. Plus, he touches on constructing story and the importance of an artist to comics as a whole and brings along exclusive art from "X-Force" #6.

Psylocke was never fully on board with Wolverine/Jean Grey School's views during/after the Schism. Do you think she aligns herself with Cable's proactive views or she's in it just to quench her thirst for blood? Does she feel her X-Men teammates are failing to aid mutantkind?

Spurrier: I think... well, this slightly goes back to a question I answered above, about being deliberately open to evolutions in these characters' minds, because Betsy's arguably the most complicatedly messed-up of the whole bunch, and the most liable to go off in a weird direction. Psychologically she's like a swan on a still pond: graceful, beautiful, streamlined, full of dignity and poise and clarity of design -- but you look a little bit closer and you can see her feet paddling like mental just below the surface.

So, let's start with what we know. At her most rational she's inarguably a Good Person. She wants what's best for the highest number of people, with a natural skew towards the rights and dignities of her fellow mutants. I tend to imagine her childhood -- raised in extreme wealth and privilege -- has given her the sort of fascinating reverse-sensitivity for class, poverty and societal fairness one occasionally sees in spoilt brattish kids. She's the Siddhartha of the mutant set: the social warrior who feels the suffering of others most keenly precisely because she was raised so far beyond its reach. In that respect, yeah, I think she fits with the abstract manifesto of the Jean Grey bunch: to provide succor, education and benevolent oversight to one of the most downtrodden groups on the planet. She undoubtedly quibbled over the detail, but I think the concept is something she'd buy into.

On the other hand, there's definitely a whole lot more going on in there than an attempt to make amends for her own off-center class identity. She's traveled extensively, she's seen injustice of all kinds, she's undergone the most bizarre series of physical/mental/dysmorphic adjustments conceivable, she's lost lovers, betrayed family members and pried into some of the most obscenely evil minds in the world. By anyone's estimation she's been bombarded by so much sheer nerve-jangling experience that she should by rights be a dribbling wreck.

My suspicion is that she's simply too strong -- mentally -- to succumb to the almost unbearable weight of pain, horror, guilt and self-revulsion sloshing about in there. And perhaps most importantly: the weight of complication. She's so complex, so full of contradiction and uncertainty, that there's literally no way of unmuddling the mess. And so she's done what seems like the only sensible thing: she's internalized it. She's anesthetized herself against the darkness, she's tamped it right down into the chilly little core of who she is, where she thinks (wrongly) it can't hurt her, and it's left her surface-layers utterly numb. The swan on the pond.

It follows that whenever that darkness finds a way out -- which it always will and always does -- it's explosive, it's nasty and it's unpredictable. Even worse it's oh-so-seductive -- because when you spend your life being numb even horror feels like joy -- and there's no easy way of overcoming it. So Betsy will always self-sabotage. She'll always push people away -- partly to save them, partly because she can't help feeling secretly thrilled by the perverse joy of hurting people. She'll always befriend or seduce the worst conceivable candidates. She'll always destroy everything good that comes into her life, whether because the sickness comes out to play or because she rationally pre-empts it in order to limit the damage. Above all else, remember, she's Good And Noble, which means she literally cannot allow other Good And Noble people to get too close to her for fear of what might happen. She tries to control who she is -- even tries to rationalize and use the negative energy -- but unless she can find a way to dig it right out and purge the core, there is no way that anything in her life will ever be easy, simple or smooth.

So to go right back to your question... let's say you're her. Let's say you're a seething black-hole of ugliness and pain, held together -- just barely -- by a paper-thin veneer of poise and grace. Let's say you know that in order to survive you need to let out some of that craziness, now and then, to keep it from bursting out. And let's say that on a far more conscious level your defining aim is to provide a safer, better world for downtrodden mutants.

So, yeah, by day? You can probably fake it. Work at the school, be noble, be idealistic, be part of a functional team. Be the swan, Betsy.

By night? You need an excuse to go slit throats and howl at the moon.

4 comments:

Brian said...

Oh, muh god. That was beautiful. That summarized Psylocke in what I think is the best possible way, and explains a good part of why she's my favorite X-Man.

Well done, sir.

Eduardo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eduardo said...

Elizabeth has really been through a lot. I see her as a warrior and a survival, in spite of all that happened to her, it did not make her give up.
But above all that is her loyalty to her X-fellas. I think she fights because she believes in what she does and that things can be changed to solve what is messed around her. Whenever she could, she faced her issues and went on forward, as she is facing her addiction now. She has good intentions but made some wrong choices on the path. Anyway, she has the character to admit them and have attitude to fix what is possible.
But I see that Spurrier did his homework. I hope that furtherly Betsy manages to solve this addiction issue nicely.
It is easy to relate to her because she is human, she has probelms, she makes mistakes, makes new choices, correct things and proceed learning.
She is marvelous inside and out. Her inner self may shake her, but that shows how worried she is about doing things right and become a better person.
Wish she would show that two sides of the swan better. And that her closer friends could see that too. I like when they portray these vulnerabilities.

Eduardo said...

I just do not agree with the last part when it says that she is faking...Both features are part of the swan and different kinds os stimuli trigger the different parts of it.
She is being true to herself and admiting her problems and dealing with them.