Monday, April 24, 2017

Self-Aware Mutants and The Shadow King – The Marvel ResurrXion Panel At C2E2

Comicon.com: The newest X-Men book, Astonishing X-Men, will be written by Charles Soule, coming out in July 2017, drawn by Jim Cheung on the first issue. Future artwork will be by Ron Garney, Phil Noto, Greg Land, and many more. Soule said that he’s worked with some of these folks before, and he asks himself what an artist needs in order to do well, script-wise, and he’s trying to do that. With Cheung, who excels at epic feeling and realism, the first issue heads that way. Set in London, intense real-world situations open the first issue, like a James Bond film, Soule said.

The first big villain of the series is The Shadow King, Soule announced, with some art shown. It was a “happy accident” that he also appeared in Legion, but in the comics he’s the first mutant Xavier encountered who was “mean”. Xavier engaged in a “mental battle” with him, and it was an eye-opener to Charles Xavier that bad guys existed, and prompted Charles to start his school to train mutants. But he’s also an “ancient force of darkness” and “chaos”. He resides on the Astral Plane. The Shadow King starts to “twist reality”. The book is “like a puzzle box” and you aren’t supposed to always know what’s happening. Issue one jumps around between locations and characters based on this.

Soule really wanted real cities to be involved, with human settlement, hence London. There’s a “giant purple psychic butterfly” on the Shard, for instance. Soule said that characters have to fight on the astral plane, and the way to “win” on the astral plane is odd–it’s about making “your version of reality” win out. Soule says that he uses “weaponized nostalgia” for fans, hitting on key elements from the past, but that’s not the only thing the story does, turning instead to new territory. The cast for the book are each “very different” in the way they approach conflicts so that enables him to “run the soap opera of the X-Men in different way”.

Friday, April 21, 2017

C2E2 2017: Marvel's RESURRXION Panel

In July, “Astonishing X-Men” arrives from Charles Soule and artist Jim Cheung for issue #1, though the panel said that each new issue will have a different artist including ACO, Phil Noto, Greg Land, Ramon Rosanas and Ron Garney on tap for the future.

Soule revealed that an upcoming issue will feature the return of TV star Amahl Farouk AKA the Shadow King as drawn by Dale Keown. The writer said he was enticed by the idea that the human form of the character was the first evil mutant Charles Xavier encountered and therefore his inspiration for the formation of the X-Men. “He’s this incredibly ancient force of darkness – kind of a dream demon,” the writer said of the Shadow King entity, which will attack the X-Men during their London-based adventure. “The book is a puzzle box, and you’re not supposed to know where everything is going.”

But before that story arrives, fans will get to meet the new team consisting of the likes of Old Man Logan, Mystique, Fantomex and Psylocke. “I can run the soap opera of the X-Men in different ways by looking at each of them as their archetype,” said Soule. He used the example of Bishop as a man who’s lived through several apocalypses. Guggenheim praised his fellow writer for introducing each of the characters by their core personalities in this new series. Soule said that his goal was to make this a book for people who didn’t want to know anything else about who these characters are before they meet them on the page.

  • "The story open in London. Something really intense happens and the X-Men show up and try to fix it."
  • The series will kick off with an issue of intense action before opening up.
  • The mysterious returning villain is Shadow King.
  • Soule talked about Shadow King's history as one of the first evil mutants Charles Xavier encountered.
  • He called the character's inclusion in FX's Legion a "happy accident."
  • Soule called the title a "puzzle box," saying the ever changing nature of the Shadow King's home realm of the Astral Plane means that reality will always be in question.
  • "I think the best X-Men stories are the ones where they're not only saving the world, but trying to convince everyone that they ARE saving the world."
  • Soule talked about Fantomex's role in the story, saying "it gets really weird," with Fantomex constantly questioning his reality.
  • "It's super hard to write, I'm not gonna lie," Soule confessed.
  • The story will visit many points in X-Men history via the Astral Plane. Soule called it "weaponized nostalgia," using the mechanic to convey emotions and ideas.
  • Soule called the line up "incredibly badass," and "incredibly different."
  • Soule talked about Bishop, with Guggenheim calling Soule's take on the character "incredibly poetic."
  • Bishop is constantly looking for the signs of his future coming to pass, trying to prevent it.
  • "I want it to feel like a big, massive X-book. We're swinging for the fences."
  • Soule said Gambit and Fantomex will have a "buddy thieves" dynamic.
  • "The last page is gonna break the internet," said Chris D'Lando from Marvel's marketing department.

Astonishing X-Men: Game Plans

Marvel.com: This July, Charles Soule joins a series of the industry’s best artists as they prepare to unleash ASTONISHING X-MEN! Last month, we spoke with the writer about his upcoming work on the series relaunch after its four-year hiatus, and now we return to try and pry some extra details from him about what he and his collaborators have in store for not only readers but also this brand new configuration of the X-Men.


Marvel.com: Charles, last month the news broke that you’d be spearheading the re-launch of ASTONISHING X-MEN. From those early news releases, we learned you’d be taking readers to “all corners of the X-Men mythology” according to Editor-in-Chief, Axel Alonso. Can you shed a little light on what this means for both new and long-time fans of mutantkind?

Charles Soule: I don’t want to give away too much of the story yet, because ASTONISHING X-MEN is designed to work as a series of reveals. Every time you think you know what’s happening, the script gets flipped a bit, usually around the last page of each issue. It’s like a puzzle box: part of the fun is figuring it all out. That said the book does do a lot with what I think of as X-Men touchstones—significant events in the lore, characters new and old—but rarely the way you think. I call it “weaponized nostalgia.” It’s all explained and laid out, though. Even if you’ve never read an X-Men comic before, it’ll just work as a fun adventure.

Marvel.com: I understand you’re looking to make this book just as much of an “entry-point” title for newer readers as it will be a satisfying experience for long-time fans of these characters. How do you strike that balance between seemingly opposite readerships?

Charles Soule: Not easily! But really, it’s about making sure that (a) each character’s powers are clearly noted or explained when they first appear, (b) writing them like real people who act towards each other the way they should based on their respective histories, and (c) having “nostalgia” or “homage” bits work in and of themselves. Like, if you see someone look at a photo of another character and get sad, that works for someone who knows exactly why they’re sad, but also someone who doesn’t, if it’s written correctly. I’m spending a lot of time on this specific aspect of the book. I don’t think you should need a degree in X-Men-ology to enjoy X-Men comics, but I think having that degree should enhance your enjoyment.

Marvel.com: If we don’t talk about the art, then we’re not talking comics! And this particular series will be taking a rather unique approach to the visuals. Can you walk us through the genesis behind the choice to introduce a new artist with each issue and why you and Marvel as a whole felt this was the strongest way to tell the story you’ll be sharing in ASTONISHING X-MEN?

Charles Soule: Well, again, there’s a story conceit I don’t really want to spoil yet, but I think it will work really well, in part because Marvel is staffing the series with an incredible batch of artists. We start off with Jim Cheung and just go from there, all amazing—or…astonishing, even. I’m tailoring each script to each artist’s strengths, to the extent I can. It’s pretty exciting for me, sort of a high-wire act, to make sure each artist gets what they need to draw a great issue but the overarching story gets served as well. Again, not easy, but fun.


Marvel.com: Although this is a series that you’re structuring to appeal to both new and old readers, I understand you’re dipping deep into the archives of the X-Men’s rogues’ gallery in raising The Shadow King to the forefront as the initial “Big Bad,” and someone who fans could even credit as being the original inspiration for Xavier’s creation of the team. What made him the right choice for you when it came to launching this new series?

Charles Soule: The Shadow King was the first “evil” mutant Charles Xavier ever encountered, and as we saw way back in UNCANNY X-MEN #117 in 1979, he’s essentially the reason Xavier decided to train up other mutants to fight emerging threats in the world. The nice thing about The Shadow King is that he resides in a place called the astral plane, which is sort of a dream dimension where anything anyone imagines can become real. So, battles there tend to be about willpower; the person who can impose their reality on their opponents, force them to believe in whatever situation they’re projecting onto them, tends to win. In ASTONISHING, we’ll see some fantastic set pieces built around that idea, some of which will tie into signature past events from X-Men history. It’s not all backwards-looking, though. This is a story that moves the X-Men forward in a huge way.

Marvel.com: Although you’ve certainly worked with your fair share of mutants in your time at Marvel, Charles, I believe your time with this particular group is more limited, no? What aspects of these characters made them the right ones to engage in this journey?

Charles Soule: That’s correct. Except for Mystique, I’ve never really written any of this group to any real degree, unless you count Old Man Logan and Wolverine as the same character; they’re not, although of course there are similarities. I like this cast because it gives me an immense amount to work with as far as their interpersonal relationships. Rogue and Gambit have a long history together, romantic and otherwise. Mystique raised Rogue for a while. Fantomex and Angel have both been linked with Psylocke. Old Man Logan probably killed all of these folks back in his own universe. And on and on it goes. The power set is varied, they’re all super cool in different ways—it’s a rich stew, and I feel like I can do a ton with it. I should also say that the eight characters on the cover of ASTONISHING X-MEN #1 are not the only X-Men that will appear in the series, but they’re definitely the leads.

Marvel.com: Before we wrap up, I want to lob one “fastball special” your way. There’s always a concern among comic book fans about consequences. With a new series launch, we expect a certain amount of bombast, but what sort of consequences have you baked into the story you’re preparing to launch? In what ways does this story not only matter, but why is it one that’s going to be a “must read” for X-Men fans of all kinds and varieties?

Charles Soule: I think that will all be made clear on the last page of ASTONISHING X-MEN #1. I think I’m known for writing a certain kind of X-book, after DEATH OF WOLVERINE, DEATH OF X and IVX. ASTONISHING X-MEN is no exception. If people want consequences, they’ll get ‘em.

Charles Soule and the top artistic talent in the comics industry bring you ASTONISHING X-MEN, beginning in July!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

X-Solicits for July 2017

Astonishing X-Men #1
Charles Soule (W) • Jim Cheung (A/C)
Variant Cover by: Artgerm
Variant Cover by: John Cassaday
Character Variant Cover by: Terry Dodson
Villain Variant Cover by: Dale Keown
Remastered Variant Cover by: Jim Lee
Action Figure Variant Cover by: John Tyler Christopher
ONLY THE X-MEN CAN SAVE US! An ancient evil is attacking the world’s most powerful minds. It will have them by: the time you finish this sentence, and a moment later, it will have us all. A band of X-MEN discovers the truth behind the threat, but there is no time left. PSYLOCKE, OLD MAN LOGAN, BISHOP, ARCHANGEL, FANTOMEX, ROGUE and GAMBIT will attempt to save a world that hates and fears them. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE THE X-MEN. From blockbuster writer CHARLES SOULE and joined by: a roster of superstar artists beginning with JIM CHEUNG. ASTONISHING X-MEN. It’s the X-book you need.


X-Men Blue #7
Cullen Bunn (W) • Cory T. Smith (A)
Cover by: Arthur Adams
Variant Cover by: David Lopez
X-Men Trading Card Variant Cover by: Jim Lee
Secret Empire Tie-In!
How will our intrepid heroes react to this new world order? Will MARVEL GIRL, CYCLOPS, ANGEL, ICEMAN and BEAST be overwhelmed by: HYDRA? I really hope not!


X-Men Blue #8
Cullen Bunn (W) • Cory T. Smith (A)
Cover by: Arthur Adams
Secret Empire Tie-In!
EMMA FROST! She’s back…and badder than ever.


X-Men Gold #7
Marc Guggenheim (W) • Ken Lashley (A/C)
X-Men Trading Card Variant Cover by: Jim Lee
Secret Empire Tie-In!
When Manhattan is besieged, the X-Men open their doors and repurpose their school as a safe haven for any human or mutant in need of sanctuary. But little do they know that one of the humans they’ve welcomed in is the all-new X-CUTIONER! And he’s about to make the Xavier Institute the last place mutants want to be…


X-Men Gold #8
Marc Guggenheim (W) • Ken Lashley (A)
Cover by: Ardian Syaf
Secret Empire Tie-In!
The Xavier Institute is on lockdown. But the X-Men haven’t succeeded in keeping danger out. Instead, they’ve just locked themselves inside with it. Can the X-Men stop the all-new X-CUTIONER before he claims any more of their number?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Marvel Turns Jim Lee’s Old X-Men Trading Cards Into Variant Covers For July


CBR: To celebrate the upcoming “Astonishing X-Men” series, Marvel Comics is releasing X-Men trading card-style variant covers, featuring the artwork of Jim Lee. For the month of July, you’ll be able to get your hands on updated versions of classic Jim Lee/X- Men artwork.

“Remastered and recolored from the original trading cards, relive this iconic era of the Children of the Atom with a series of eye-popping covers,” an official press release reads. “Originally penciled by legendary X-Men artist Jim Lee with inker Scott Williams, colorists such as Jesus Aburtov, Israel Silva & Chris Sotomayor apply modern coloring techniques to these classic masterpieces!”

Take a look at the Psylocke Variant Cover on the right, which will grace the cover to Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #2 next July.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

#tbt: X-Men Annual #2 – The Revanche Saga, Chapter 7

#tbt: X-Men Annual #2 – Pyro explains that the island is going to be a haven, a refuge for the dying - and then reveals that is why he has come here, because he has contracted the Legacy Virus. The Beast points out that Chambers is an energy vampire, and argues with Toad. Pyro makes it clear that he wants to stay on the island and let Chambers use his powers on him, as it alleviates his pain, before Revanche tells the X-Men that they should leave, as it is not their place to get involved in the decisions of Pyro and Chambers - and she knows best because, like Pyro, she reveals that she also has the Legacy Virus. Chambers assures the X-Men that he merely wants to offer afflicted mutants comfort, and as the X-Men prepare to leave, Gyrich reveals his presence, announcing that they believe illegal activities are being perpetrated on people against their will. Cyclops hesitates, before confirming that nothing illegal is taking place on the island. Chambers has some harsh words for Gyrich, before Chambers invites Revanche to stay on the island. She declines his offer, and the X-Men warn Chambers to practice what he preaches. The X-Men then depart the island, leaving the Brotherhood behind. Written by Fabian Nicieza and Art by Aron Wiensenfeld. Read full summary here.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

New Psylocke Collectible To Be Released

X-Men Psylocke 4-Inch Diecast Metal Figure Diecast by Jada Toys is expected to go on sale Apr-May 2017. This item is an adult collectible designed for use by persons 14 years of age and older.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

'Astonishing X-Men' To Have New Artist Each Issue, Beginning with Jim Cheung

Newsamara: The artists drawing the previously-announced Astonishing X-Men relaunch have been revealed. The July-debuting title written by Charles Soule will be illustrated by a new artist in each issue, beginning with Jim Cheung and going on to include Ron Garney, ACO, Phil Noto, Greg Land, and Ramon Rosanas.

"The threat facing our heroes touches on all corners of the X-Men mythology," said Axel Alonso, Marvel's Editor-In-Chief. "So each issue - illustrated by a superstar artist - will dig deep into one of your favorite pieces of X-Men lore, with some eye-popping surprises along the way. The last page of issue one definitely qualifies as one of those, and it's bound to make X-Men fans very happy.”

Astonishing X-Men was originally advertised to begin in June, but it is now scheduled to debut in July according to Marvel.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Charles Soule Lays Out His Astonishing Mutant Landscape


Announcing Cheung, Garney, ACO, Noto, Land, Rosanas and more bringing the story to life!

Marvel.com: It shouldn’t be too astonishing that the X-Men are as popular as they are. After all, their collection of diverse of mutants offers a never-ending grab bag of super powered mayhem that usually goes toward saving the day–when they’re not too busy butting heads with the Inhumans, that is. Simply put, there is no shortage of classic “X-Men” content and one particular title is about to re-enter the limelight.

After a four-year hiatus, Marvel is bringing back the “Astonishing X-Men” series this summer under the confident pen of writer, Charles Soule who’s not too worried that he’s got some big shoes to fill. We’re also excited to announce that Jim Cheung, Ron Garney, ACO, Phil Noto, Greg Land, Ramon Rosanas and more will be bringing the serialized, ongoing story to life with some incredible artwork.

Get pumped for the returning title by checking out our interview with Charles who discusses the book’s iconic cast, its use of the entirety of Marvel history and how the series will mutate under his skilled direction.

Marvel.com: “Astonishing X-Men” is a title whose original run spanned from the mid-1990s to 2013. What was the most exciting part about being the person responsible for relaunching it?

Charles Soule: “Astonishing” is one of the fundamental “X”-titles for me, especially the Whedon/Cassaday run. It’s some of the best “X-Men” storytelling of all time. So, exciting, yes – also somewhat terrifying. But like any book I take on, I’ll do my best.

Marvel.com: Over the years, the series was written by a litany of big Marvel creative minds like Joss Whedon, Warren Ellis, Marjorie Liu and Greg Pak. How were you hoping to approach it differently than these writers did in the past? How did you pour your own heart and, forgive me, soul into the writing?

Charles Soule: I’d like to think that any story I do will be different from the other incredible talents who have worked under this banner in the past, just because I’m not them. This sort of “Murderer’s Row” legacy isn’t anything new to me, though – from my very first Marvel project (“Thunderbolts”) to Daredevil to pretty much everything I’ve done, I’ve been working on titles that have superstar creators in their past. You just put your head down and write your story and hope that it can stand next to the other books in the line.

Marvel.com: Going off that, can you talk a little bit about the artistic vision you had for the look and feel of the series?

Charles Soule: I mostly want it to feel epic. I’m trying to go as big as I can both for character moments and “page-feel,” if that’s a term I can coin. I remember when Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch were working in what was termed “widescreen” back on their “Ultimates” project. I’d say it’s something like that, but within every massive beat there’s a character moment (or ten) to back it up. Mostly, I wanted to anchor “Astonishing X-Men” in the real world, so-to-speak. Many times the big superhero stories take place away from population centers, especially mutant stories. I get it – a superhero slugfest with a bunch of civilians around complicates things immensely. I’ve done it myself many times. Setting your battle scene on a remote glacier solves a lot of storytelling problems. However, I think the X-Men are at their best story-wise when they’re not only fighting super-villains, but their activities are seen through the lens of the human world. So, we’ll get a lot of that here – a lot of the action takes place in the heart of London, with all the attendant repercussions. Good times all around.

Marvel.com: We know the series will feature a veritable Who’s Who of fan favorite X-Men (i.e. Old Man Logan, Archangel, Mystique, Rogue, Gambit, Psylocke and Fantomex), but what can you tell us about the villains being featured in the story?

Charles Soule: Not too much just yet… but we’ll get there! I want it to feel like a nice reveal, but the way the story is designed I can pull in bad guys from literally any era of Marvel history. The book is built like a bit of a puzzle box, with multiple layers of reveals. Part of the fun of certain “X”-stories is speculating about what’s really going on, and this is definitely one of those.

Marvel.com: Now onto the heroes. What was the decision process behind choosing these specific characters to make up this team other than being adored by fans and veterans of the original run?

Charles Soule: It’s a mix of characters who I really wanted to write and characters who hadn’t been seen in a bit, or both! I wanted a bunch of people I knew I could write well, but who also had lots of history with each other. All of these people have been “bad guys” at one point or another – checkered pasts all around. Many of them have dated each other, or have been in love triangles… it’s just a feast of drama, and the soap opera stuff is part of what makes the X-Men great. It’s fun to write all these folks, especially in a really focused story like I’m telling in Astonishing. The book has a specific point, story and end goal… which you’ll see soon enough!

Marvel.com: Will we be seeing a different team dynamic than we’ve seen in the past and were there any specific characters you had a blast writing?

Charles Soule: I’ve said this before, but this book doesn’t have a team. It has a cast. It doesn’t have a leader, either. It’s like a novel, or a film, or a TV series. There are characters who are more or less prominent from scene to scene, but this isn’t a story about superheroes coming together with a shared goal to fight bad guys, with a base, and cool coordinated costumes and so on. This is a bunch of flawed, extremely powerful individuals who find themselves in the same place at the same time as something very intense and potentially world-ending happens. Then, we see what they do next. It’s a pretty cool ride, I think.

Friday, March 24, 2017

#tbt: X-Men Annual #2 – The Revanche Saga, Chapter 6

Revanche:
Psylocke: 
#tbt: X-Men Annual #2 – In the Danger Room, Rogue, Gambit, Jubilee and Revanche are having a training session, which does not go as Revanche planned. Jean Grey, Cyclops and Psylocke discuss Psylocke’s current predicament - the Kwannon situation. Jean Grey telepathically probes Psylocke’s mind, and the women witness a young Betsy attacking her brother, Brian. Written by Fabian Nicieza and Art by Aron Wiensenfeld. Read full summary here.

Stay tuned to the conclusion of this story next week!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Marvel Solicits for June 2017

Secret Warriors #3
Matthew Rosenberg (W) • Javier Garron (A)
Cover by: Tradd Moore & Matthew Wilson
Variant Cover by: Chris Samnee & Matthew Wilson
Mary Jane Variant Cover by: Javier Rodriguez
SECRET EMPIRE TIE-IN! The team’s quest to unite the Inhumans will bring them into the land of the only people who truly understand the dangers they face: The X-Men! But, uh, it does NOT go well…Quake’s leadership forces Ms. Marvel to make some tough choices about what she is willing to do to win this war. And all of this leads to a shocking showdown with [REDACTED]!!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

X-Position: X-Men Blues Cullen Bunn Teases Magneto’s Machinations

CBR: This week in X-POSITION, “Uncanny X-Men” and “X-Men Blue” writer Cullen Bunn returns and answers all of your questions about Psylocke, Monet, Magneto and more.

Despite putting a fight, I got the feeling that Magneto had somewhat of a death wish during his fight with Psylocke. It felt like he was okay and at peace with his life coming to an end there. Will this fight with Betsy affect him during your run on “X-Men Blue”?

I think Magneto having a death wish is pretty close to the truth. Did it feel to you like he might have been holding back a little? Like he might have been planning to die? Elixir was right there, ready to bring him back, wasn’t he? The fight will continue to have long-lasting ramifications for Magneto, both internally and externally.

First and foremost, Psylocke went and blabbed to everyone that she killed Magneto. Now everybody thinks he’s dead.

Why did you decide to end “Uncanny” with a conflict between Psylocke and Magneto? I know they have their differences, but Psylocke knew from the beginning what kind of person Magneto was.

Psylocke did know what kind of person Magneto was, but she warned him time and time again that if he cut out of line she would take him down with extreme prejudice. My decision to end the series with that moment boils down to me feeling that this put a nice bow on the series and tied everything together. From the beginning, it was about Magneto and Psylocke.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

X-Solicits for June 2017

X-Men: Gold #5
  • Marc Guggenheim (W) • R.B. Silva (A)
  • Cover By: Ardian Syaf
  • Mary Jane Variant By: Anthony Piper
  • Double ships every month!
  • Each new generation of Sentinel has been DEADLIER than its predecessors…and 0101 is no exception to that rule! As the X-Men race to stop the perfect mutant-killing machine from executing its programming, they’ll find themselves asking one question: Are they the hunters…or the hunted?


X-Men: Gold #6
  • Marc Guggenheim (W) • R.B. Silva (A)
  • Cover By: Ardian Syaf
  • Double ships every month!
  • The perfect mutant-killing machine has MUTATED. As the X-Men fight for their lives against the most fearsome SENTINEL yet, one X-Man decides to do the unthinkable! Will it take the life of one X-Man to save the rest?



X-Men: Blue #5
  • Cullen Bunn (W) • Julian Lopez Velarde (A)
  • Cover By: Arthur Adams
  • Mary Jane Variant Cover By: TBA
  • Double ships every month!
  • THE RETURN OF…
  • The X-MEN and their new teammate investigate the NEW MARAUDERS. Who are they? And what do they want? Guest-starring MS. SINISTER and a whole gang of nasties you won’t want to miss!


X-Men: Blue #6
  • Cullen Bunn (W) • Jorge Molina (A)
  • Cover By: Arthur Adams
  • IT’S A PERFECT DAY IN MADRIPOOR…OR IS IT? – Double ships every month! Of course nothing can ever go right for the X-MEN — even when they’re exploring the streets of MADRIPOOR! But, then again, what did they expect? Sunshine and lollipops? It’s freaking Madripoor, guys!!!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

X-Men ResurrXion

Flashback Friday: Psylocke


Marvel.com: Betsy Braddock has had one weird road to being a super hero! Psylocke might be throwing down with Magneto in this week’s UNCANNY X-MEN #19, but she might not have been so bold back in her first appearance. In fact, as longtime X-fans will know, the woman known as Betsy Braddock has actually changed more than her appearance since she first showed up in the Marvel UK comic CAPTAIN BRITAIN #8 in 1976 by Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe.

The sister of the title hero, Betsy displayed some telepathic abilities, worked with S.T.R.I.K.E., and even took over as Captain Britain for a brief adventure. She would go on to appear in other Marvel UK books like THE DAREDEVILS and SUPER SPIDER-MAN AND CAPTAIN BRITAIN before making the jump across the pond in NEW MUTANTS ANNUAL #2.

In that issue, Mojo and Spiral jumped her and used her to help dazzle the children of Earth with a new animated series. Though executing the usual evil plan, Mojo did help restore Betsy’s previously lost sight and granted her the name Psylocke. After the New Mutants rescued her, she decided to attend Xavier’s school in order to get a better handle on her powers.

After serving with the X-Men for a while, an amnesiac Psylocke wound up in the Hand’s possession where they continued to brainwash her into thinking herself the assassin Lady Mandarin. The group also altered her appearance so she would more seamlessly blend in with Hong Kong. Luckily, Wolverine restored Psylocke, as seen in the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN #256–258, but Betsy retained the incredible fighting skills she learned as well as her now-iconic psychic knife.

Around this same time a ninja named Kwannon also appeared with Betsy’s old face. The case of mistaken identity bounced back and forth for a while until ultimately coming to a conclusion that left Psylocke in control once again. Braddock continued fighting the good fight, even getting a power upgrade thanks to the Crimson Dawn, but she fell in the first few issues of X-TREME X-MEN; she got better in UNCANNY X-MEN #455.

Later she helped the reality-hopping Exiles save several existences in the pages of both EXILES and NEW EXILES. She also played a big part in X-MEN: SWORD OF THE BRADDOCKS and starred in her own 2010 limited series. Upon fully returning to the Marvel Universe, Psylocke has become a big part of the X-Men again, appearing in books like UNCANNY X-FORCE, X-MEN, and UNCANNY X-MEN.

Flash Forward

The most recent volume of UNCANNY X-MEN marks just one more step in the long relationship between Psylocke and Sabretooth. They first met one another in the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN #213, not long after Betsy enrolled at the school. After quickly taking out Rogue, the then-villainous ‘Tooth entered the mansion to do the same with Betsy, but she used her powers—enhanced by Cerebro—to stun him before running away. Braddock held her own pretty well, but ultimately Sabretooth got the drop on her, but not before Storm and Wolverine showed up to pick up the slack. Later in UNCANNY X-MEN #328, Psylocke stepped in to stop an enraged Boom Boom from getting herself killed in Sabretooth’s cell, an act that led to her own evisceration. While running around with the Exiles, Psylocke actually started a relationship with the Age of Apocalypse version of her enemy. Most recently, the two came together on the same team.

Friday, March 17, 2017

#tbt: X-Men #24 – The Revanche Saga, Chapter 5

#tbt: X-Men #24 – Behind Xavier's mansion, at the Boathouse overlooking the Spuytin Dyvil Cove, Revanche and Psylocke practice stalking one another to see who is the better assassin. Finding themselves too evenly matched the two women decide that they cannot fight one another because they are like mirror images of each other. Appearing suddenly, Wolverine asks them if they will fight all the time or just get on with their lives. While in Psylocke's bedroom in Xavier's mansion, Revanche and Psylocke decide to come to a stalemate, still unsure though of the extent of their connection. Written by Fabian Nicieza and Art by Andy Kubert. Read full summary here.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Entering Marvel Contest of Champions: Psylocke



Marvel.com: Betsy Braddock makes her inaugural appearance in “Marvel Contest of Champions” this week, katanas and psi-blades ready to slice her opponents to shreds. A new combatant on the fields of Battlerealm, she enters the fray alongside Archangel and a host of other Champions with less than pure intentions.

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about Psylocke’s kit and the all the ninja awesome she brings to the game.

Marvel.com: Psylocke is definitely a unique mind-melding, soul-swapping, one-of-a-kind mutant. As collectibles go I have no doubt Betsy’s a must-have. The question becomes, why’d it take so long for The Collector to snatch her up?

Gabriel Frizzera: As it’s been the case with many recent arrivals, Psylocke was brought to The Contest not by The Collector, but by a third party. In her case it was The Grandmaster, as part of his X-Enforcers. He knows Betsy spells trouble for his brother: She’s a skilled ninja warrior, capable of physically subjugating her enemies, but also possesses incredible psychic powers. The Collector’s many secrets are not safe around her!

Marvel.com: Where’s this Psylocke from in the Marvel-verse? I can’t quite place her costume. Is it from a particular comic or is this another “Contest of Champions” exclusive?

Gabriel Frizzera: This one is a blend between her classic purple costume from the 90’s and two of the more recent black-and-white incarnations from UNCANNY X-FORCE. We wanted the X-Enforcers to look like an homage to that fantastic team, but at the same time feel like they’ve been “evolved” by the Grandmaster. So we did some subtle tweaks to both Psylocke and Archangel, but without changing too much.

Marvel.com: Recently she’s been using her katanas to slice and dice, but from the image I saw it doesn’t look like she packed her swords for the trip to Battlerealm. Any reason why she’s just rocking her psi-blade?

Gabriel Frizzera: Actually she uses both the katana and the psy-blade in her basic moveset! We really wanted her to feel like a ninja warrior, so the sword is out all the time, along with the psychic bag of tricks. And that’s not all: in her special 3 attack she uses her “psy-bow and arrow,” a personal favorite from the comics!

Marvel.com: I’ve always been curious, when the team takes a crack at someone like Psylocke, how do you figure out how she fights? She’s shown up in fighting games before, so did you take any inspiration from those appearances, or is this Betsy all “Contest of Champions”?

Gabriel Frizzera: If a character has appeared before in movies or TV shows, I usually guide the team to it. But as a general guideline we only go to other Marvel games as a last resort, to avoid getting overly influenced by it. Sometimes we end up in the same creative space, but this approach helps create something fresh for [“Contest of Champions”]. In the case of Psylocke, we mainly wanted the comics “bad-girl” attitude, and then used Japanese sword fighting videos as animation reference to get the stances and moves straight from the source.

Marvel.com: Ok let’s dig into her abilities. Her Signature Ability in game is Psi-Feedback. Can you tell us a little about that?

Simon Cameron: Certainly! Psylocke’s Signature Ability increases her Critical Damage the lower her opponent’s Power is. It also gives her the ability to suppress her opponent’s Abilities when she’s reduced them to zero Power. If she can set up her opponent and keep them from gaining Power, she can do big critical damage while preventing them from countering her with an ability of their own.

Marvel.com: The rest of her abilities, Power Burn/Drain/Lock, make it seem like she’s the mutant you want to use when you really don’t want your opponent using their special powers.

Simon Cameron: Shutting down her opponent’s Power is certainly one thing Psylocke does very well. This goes hand in hand with her Psi-Charges, which allow Psylocke to continue attacking her opponent without granting them Power in return, but at a risk. Psylocke builds Psi-Charges by siphoning away some of her opponent’s Power. She can use it to power her own abilities, but these charges can also be reclaimed by her opponent to use against her. She’s a talented assassin and reflecting this she can be extremely powerful if she gets her opponent into the situation she wants.

Marvel.com: And when can we pick her up for ourselves?

Simon Cameron: This skilled mutant hero and assassin will be available on March 16!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Uncanny X-Men #19 Art

Uncanny X-Men #19 Spoilers

Spoilers: Psylocke infiltrates the War Room X, her former HQ in the Savage Land, seeking to deal with Magneto once and for all. Erik springs a trap and destroys the Room. Magneto tells Betsy he’s been expecting this confrontation from the very first moment he recruited her. Psylocke mind-controls a Tyrannosaurus Rex to attack Magneto, before hiding. Magneto wonders if Psylocke saw too much of herself in his ruthless and cold-bloodedness actions and feels somewhat remorseful about this final encounter. Betsy surprises Erik again and tells him his team is gone: a stabilized Mystique might still be a killer but knows she should stay away from Magneto; Sabretooth reverted to his old ways and Monet hasn’t been the same since her encounter with her brother, both gone; Xorn vanished after what happened in New Attilan, deeming himself too dangerous; Archangel was left in charge of the weaponized mutants, the so called sleepers; and no one knows what became of Fantomex after he went deep into The World. Betsy accuses Erik of wanting them to be X-Men, X-Force, the Hellfire Club and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants at the same time. They both keep fighting until Erik destroys Betsy’s metal katana. Psylocke forges a telekinetic katana and stabs Magneto in a deadly way. Psylocke says that he will die a slow, painful death and that mutantkind will have a chance now with Erik out of the picture. After Betsy leaves Magneto to die alone, Elixir and Exodus both come to his rescue. Elixir heals Magneto anew. Erik declines their invitation to join them, and tells them he must remain “dead” for the sake of mutantkind, but no that dead… not yet.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

#tbt: X-Men #23 – The Revanche Saga, Chapter 4

#tbt: X-Men #23 – In Japan Lord Nyoirin explains to the X-Men that Shinobi Shaw and Matsu'o are responsible for Revanche and Psylocke's merging of minds and abilities. Gambit and Beast then head off to Tokyo, where they give Shaw a message to send to the Upstarts: the X-Men now know they exist. At the same time, Psylocke and Revanche find Matsu'o at his house in Chosin Japan where they are attacked by him. The two women easily defeat Matsu'o and, both using their psi-powers, have their revenge for his manipulation. Written by Fabian Nicieza and Art by Andy Kubert. Read full summary here.