Thursday, March 19, 2015

#tbt: Uncanny X-Men Annual #11

#tbt: Uncanny X-Men Annual #11 – The X-Men find that the citadel protects itself by trapping each intruder by making his or her heart’s desire real. Captain Britain manages to bring them close to the crystal, but then he and Meggan too are trapped by their heart’s desire, fleeing into the fantasy after being horrified by Psylocke’s wish – wanting to be a warrior she turns into metal. Warrior Psylocke walks off to confront Horde and buy Storm time. Written by Chris Claremont and art by Alan Davis. Read full summary here.


Rahsaan Chisolm said...

"Maiden bless, Psylocke"


Whoever tries to say that Elizabeth didn't become a ride-or-die chick until the whole "Acts of Vengence" storyline doesn't know our girl's history.

Leo Polonia said...

If she emerged from the portal as herself, without all the body-swapping bonanza, her story would be much MUCH more cohesive, as she always had this wish... oh well, love her anyway.


Rahsaan Chisolm said...


She did emerge as herself, but Scott Lobdell was a lazy hack who didn't bother to read and thought that Chris Claremont (who is the king of detail... sometimes too much so) never explained her metamorphosis. We saw when Matsu'o first encountered her in a robe and amnesiac when his goons found her on the beach naked and she was picking their language from their mind and replying back. He recognized her and said he knew what to do with her. We then saw her brainwashing protocol and how her subconscious noted that Spiral and Mojo were present as the Hand remade her mentally and physically. And we saw how Wolvie was still able to recognize something familiar about her as they foughtand then he definitively and immediately recognized her face despite whatever Asiatic alterations were made once he broke her Lady Mandarin helmet/mask.

Leo Polonia said...

Rahsaan, thanks for the insight but even so, I really don't see why the whole physical changes.

I actually became aware of her existance as her "new self", but after knowing her whole story, I'd rather have her in her original body all the way.

FSaker said...

The reason for the physical changes (in-story) was that Matsu'o wanted her to help the Mandarin to keep control over the criminals in China, so he needed an agent that would look like a Chinese person (even though Kwannon, the woman who changed bodies with Psylocke, was Japanese, which shows how messy Lobdell's retcon was).

In reality, I guess it may have been some fetish by Claremont (I adore his work with the X-Men, but really, the man presented LOTS of fetishes involving the X-Women throughout his run... remember barely-legal Kitty in Excalibur licking Sat-Yr-9's finger?), or one of his crazy ideas (like Storm being turned into a child by Nanny, getting rid of all the original X-Men, Rachel time-travelling...). Whatever it was, we must admit that it worked (even if for the wrong reasons): she became the "hot ninja" in the X-Men and managed to stay in the spotlight, while her fellows Dazzler, Havok and Longshot were either sent to editorial limbo or got stuck in the B-list X-teams.

I love Psylocke in both bodies; I just fear that having her body-swapped again might make her background even more confusing to new readers (plus, it seems her Asian body has some appeal among many readers, and an Asian Psylocke would be more likely in the next X-Men films than a caucasian one). But I'm okay if Marvel decides to return her to her original body, as long as it is done in a sensible way that doesn't harm her characterization.

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

Valid points. And again, Psylocke was physically made to look Chinese (while retaining some appearance of her old self... why Wolvie knew her), but Lobdell who admittedly never read the backstory thought it was just glossed over and created Japanese Kwannon. And I forgot about how sexual Claremont could be. You're right there. Though his "new"Psylocke wasn't hyper-sexualized until he left.

By the way, I always wonder why people act like the old Psylocke was not hot. Or a dog, even. She was beautiful and ladylike and sophisticated and classy. Not overtly sexual?but nuanced. Hell, she was a former supermodel. And when drawn by Davis, Silvestri, Adams and Lee (who drew her in issue 249 with Nanny and Orphan-Maker), sh looked absolutely stunning.

FSaker said...

I agree. One could say she was actually MORE sexual before the body swap, with the recurring sexual tension between her and Havok, her posing naked for Colossus, walking around (during the time in the Outback desert) in nothing but her swimsuit, etc. She was pretty, and she was hot.

As for the way artists drew her, it's interesting to notice that, back when she revealed to Brian that she was a STRIKE agent (still in her days as a supporting character in Captain Britain's book), Alan Davis used to draw her nose slightly bigger (not ugly at all, just bigger). I don't know why later he decided to give her a conventional nose.

FSaker said...

By the way, I'm really worried with the lack of Psylocke (British or Asian) in Secret Wars so far. NONE of the tie-ins seem to bring her at all, and I doubt she'll be among the main Earth-616 heroes featured in the main miniseries.

Our only hope is probably the House of M tie-in, since she was in its teaser. But even then, we may find out she won't be in the HoM tie-in either...

I wonder why Psylocke isn't in any tie-in so far, while other X-Men like Jubilee and Kitty Pryde appear in multiple series. Hopefully Marvel won't do to her what DC did to Hal Jordan and Raven in Crisis on Infinite Earths (and DC at least had a reason to leave them out of the event)...

@JJfroud said...

Marvel is being really secretive and elusive about what the state of the MU is going to be like after Secret Wars. Things are definitely going to change but we don't know by how much. The future of the X-Men franchise is particularly under question after months of suspicion in regards to the marginalisation of properties that aren't under Marvel Studios control. One of the biggest criticisms of the X-Men franchise is its convoluted history, and, unfortunately, Psylocke is the epitome of that. Even the most die hard Psylocke fans find it hard to coherently explain her history. IF Marvel is going to reboot some of its properties after Secret Wars, I'm afraid Psylocke would definitely be a casualty of this. If I were a Marvel editor, I would definitely take this opportunity to tidy up the character, no matter how much I love her. I can even imagine Marvel eventually just making them two completely different characters who are somehow connected. Having one as Kwannon and one as Betsy.

But this is pure speculation. We will have to wait towards the end of the year what the fate of our Betsy, and the X-Men in general, may be.

But it seems to me that Marvel has always had a problem with pushing Psylocke forward as a character. She is often marginalised and over looked in crossovers, other media and even in alternate universe stories. Over the years I have noticed this, it seems they don't want to her to gain more popularity and eclipse the other characters they want to push. Maybe because of her connection to cliche 90s troupes or her similarity in powers and abilities to other characters who Marvel seem to groom (Jean Grey, Emma Frost, Elektra...). But I think 'Uncanny X-Force' may have been the ultimate career highlight for Betsy. But I doubt we'll have anything like that ever again for our purple haired ninja aristocrat.

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

You summed up perfectly how Marvel has screwed over Bets with their convolution. I hope though that your predictions about Remender's X-Force being her last hurrah proves false or we'll all be quite disappointed.

FSaker said...

To be fair, I don't think ANY Marvel character will get a highlight as big as Betsy got in Remender's UXF; her development there was just perfect.

As for the state of the MU after Secret Wars, I don't think it will be as drastically changed as many people think. I mean, many people believe Marvel will reboot their heroes, but they NEVER did it before, even when the timing was perfect for it (like when Marvel NOW was launched after AvX and a year after DC rebooted their universe with The New 52; or after the Age of Ultron event). I don't see why would they reboot everything now (and no, "to make it more similar to the films universe" isn't a good argument, as Marvel is already doing it anyway by means of retcons, characters' progression and little importance given to their past - see how AvX undoes the 1980s retcon that established that the Dark Phoenix wasn't really Jean Grey).

I guess some elements from the other worlds composing the Battleworld will be inserted in Earth-616 after Secret Wars, but the whole continuity will remain unaffected (for instance, if the 1990s version of Professor X is sent to Earth-616 to replace the dead Xavier, both the X-Men and himself will still be aware that he's NOT the Xavier from Earth-616, just like Nate Grey is aware that he's not from Earth-616).

As for Psylocke, I'm curious about her situation after Secret Wars anyway... she's that kind of character that isn't popular enough to get her own ongoings and is often forgotten in events, but she's still popular enough to assure that she won't be just sent to editorial limbo (just look how Hickman showed alternate Psylockes THREE TIMES in his Avengers/New Avengers books - sure, all of them died, but still). My prediction is that she'll remain the same way, just with the whole body-swap thing being ignored - not erased, just ignored.

FSaker said...

Now, if she'll be a big character or just a cameo in the X-Men books after Secret Wars, that's the big question for now. Her absence in nearly ALL tie-ins revealed so far makes me fear that the latter is more probable.

Hopefully whenever the tie-in involving the House of M world is revealed, it will confirm that she's there (unfortunately, that teaser illustration from last year isn't a confirmation). And who knows, maybe one of the three still classified "nations" is based in a story where she was important (the 5 Ronin miniseries would be nice, but I doubt that Marvel will add it to the Battleworld).