Thursday, November 16, 2017

Betsy Braddock, Chapter I – Childhood and Early Years

Before the X: We’ve decided to launch a new feature to tell the story of Betsy Braddock before she met the X-Men. Those stories were published by Marvel UK and may not be as familiar. This in-depth biography of Betsy Braddock is based on actual facts depicted in canon. The first chapter covers Betsy’s childhood and early years in chronological order. We’ve gathered every piece of information available: actual events, stories told by the characters, memories, flashbacks and even The Hand’s brainwashing, which provided some insight on Betsy’s childhood. We also used articles on Education in England and Pilot Licensing to shed some light on the chronology and connect the dots between one event and the next. With a total of five chapters published weekly, the next one will cover Betsy’s beginnings as the sister of Captain Britain. We hope you enjoy.

CHAPTER I - Childhood and Early Years

Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Braddock was born in England, with her twin brother Brian, in the early hours of April 23, though Betsy was a few seconds older. She was the daughter of Sir James Braddock and Lady Elizabeth Braddock, and the younger sister of James ‘Jamie’ Braddock, who was roughly ten years older than the twins. Betsy was raised in the small town of Maldon, Essex, into wealth and privilege in the family’s ancestral home Braddock Manor. [Captain Britain v2 #1 / Captain Britain v1 #8 / Excalibur v2 #3 / Uncanny X-Men v1 #463, #464]

Sir James Braddock was a denizen of the magical realm of Otherworld and a member of the Captain Britain Corps. As such, he was tasked by the God-wizard Merlyn to sire a savior. A genetically-compatible mate – Lady Elizabeth – was selected for him from the universe known as Earth-616. In Jamie, the Otherworld genes were subverted, but the twins wielded the power. It was apparent they were destined for glory, as they descended from the warrior caste of Otherworld. [Captain Britain v2 #7 / Excalibur v2 #3 / Excalibur v1 #55]

The Braddocks’ privileged life at Braddock Manor insulated them from the ravages of the real world, for this reason Betsy and Brian cultivated a veneer of British reserve. The family was attended by many servants, including a butler, a groundskeeper named Mick and their housekeeper, Emma Collins, who worked for the family since the twins were children. Emma also acted as a nanny and liked to spoil the Braddocks. The twins loved her special soup recipe, but Betsy’s favorite dish was walnut cream cake. [Excalibur v1 #55 / Captain Britain v1 #9, #13 / Mighty World of Marvel v2 #16 / Excalibur v1 #19]

The family’s business was named Braddock Enterprises and was headed by Sir James, a safe nuclear energy and waste management company. The Braddock Estate also included farms at the Manor, which employed many families in neighboring villages, a Summer Cottage in Cornwall, England’s south coast, Jamie’s flat in Chelsea and townhouse in London, Brian’s townhouse in London at 1 Merlin Mews, Betsy’s Lake House, the Empress Matilda Docks, in Rotherhithe, London and a private plane. [Excalibur v1 #1, #19, #31, #59, #61, #62 / Mighty World of Marvel v2 #16 / Captain Britain v2 #1 / Captain Britain v1 #34 / New Excalibur v1 #18]

Betsy had a happy childhood. She and Brian were very close and used to call each other ‘Bee’, though they also looked up to their elder brother, Jamie. Sir James and Lady Elizabeth were often away and used to leave the teenager Jamie in charge of the twins, which became a burden for him. Secretly, Jamie resented his younger siblings and felt he was seen as the prototype gone wrong, before the “terrific twins” came along. Jamie used to taunt Betsy by stealing her toy rabbit, Mr. Poo,  threatening to throw it in the river. The twins would often run away from Jamie to a secret hiding place inside Braddock Manor, noticing how mean he had become. [Captain Britain v2 #1 / Uncanny X-Men v1 #456 / Excalibur Annual #2 / Excalibur v1 #18]

In due time, Betsy and Brian started attending prep school together, possibly at Fettes College in Edinburgh. As a result of financial setbacks, the Braddocks were no longer wealthy enough to fraternize with their former aristocratic peers. Because Braddock Manor was so far out in the country, Betsy used to feel awfully lonely, especially as everybody believed the house was haunted. She thought that her parents didn’t really notice or care about them, as if they lived in a whole different world. [Excalibur v1 #53 / Ultimates 2 v1 #4 / Daredevils v1 #1 / Uncanny X-Men v1 #256]

As the twins grew older, they developed different personalities. Betsy became more adventurous and playful. Brian was more reserved and immersed himself in the study of physics, which annoyed his sister. Since she was a child, Betsy wanted to run like the hounds on the chase, fly like a hawk on the hunt and fight like a force of nature. As far back as she could remember, she dreamed of flying. Unlike other girls, Betsy didn’t play with dolls or ride horses. She liked to pretend she was a fighter aircraft pilot. While Brian was busy studying, Betsy spent more time with Jamie, playing in the ruins of St. William’s Tower, her favorite place to play growing up. [Uncanny X-Men v1 #256, #456, #464 / Daredevils v1 #1 / X-Men v2 #20, #103]

Betsy and Jamie grew closer again, having their own adventures, while Brian lived in his books. A popular racing car driver, Jamie surrounded himself with girlfriends, for whom Betsy didn’t feel any affection, though the aristocratic tones in the voice of Godfrey Calthrop – one of Jamie’s friends – used to make her swoon. Sir James often took Jamie and Betsy on foxhunts while Brian preferred to spend the day indoors. When Betsy killed her first fox, Jamie was very proud, which made Brian jealous of his siblings’ close relationship. Growing up rebellious, Betsy’s parents shipped her off to a sheep farm in New Zealand when she was 14 years old. Sir James and Lady Elizabeth wanted to teach Betsy a lesson in responsibility. [Uncanny X-Men v1 #256, #464, #473 / Excalibur Annual #2 / Uncanny X-Force v1 #23 / Uncanny X-Force v2 #6]

Sir James was a member of the Hellfire Club branch in London, located in Grosvenor Crescent, Mayfair. He held the position of Black Bishop and would take both Betsy and Brian there at times. Betsy thought the parties were brilliant and loved seeing all the best and brightest of British society gathered together. She visited the Club often in her younger days and liked the pomp, but Brian have always avoided it. The leather and lash parties were “oh-so-helpful” during Betsy’s formative years. [Excalibur v1 #9, #21, #96, #97 / X-Men v2 #29 / Uncanny X-Men v4 #12]

At 18 years old, the minimum age required, Betsy began training for a Commercial Pilot License. Having met the specified practical and theoretical training requirements, she gained her pilot’s license before she learned to drive and spent every moment she could in the air. Betsy started working as a charter pilot and flew private jet charters. Betsy also loved to sing and received proper vocal training at the Royal Academy of Music in London. She always wanted to perform in front of a crowd. Betsy was also a skilled ski racer and used to ski outside Braddock Manor during the winter. She could complete the Olympic slalom course in near-record time. [X-Men v2 #103 / Captain Britain v1 #8 / Psylocke v1 #1 / Uncanny X-Men v1 #319 / Captain Britain v2 #14 / New Mutants Annual #2 / Pilot licensing in the United Kingdom / What’s the minimum age for a commercial airline pilot?]

Once Betsy finished secondary education (referred to as sixth form/Key Stage 5 in the UK) at 18 years of age, she left Braddock Manor to attend college. The University and course of study remain unspecified. While away at college, Betsy’s parents – Sir James Braddock and Lady Elizabeth – both died in an explosion which wrecked the private laboratory at the Manor. Betsy remembered her father’s striking smile and humble genius and that she still felt like a child when she lost her mother. The Braddock siblings drifted apart after their parents’ death as there was no real need to see each other. Betsy and Brian kept in contact, but Jamie was mostly absent, and they only heard of him through the papers. Jamie also became the head of Braddock Enterprises, which flourished under his leadership. Brian accepted an internship at the Darkmoor Energy Research Centre to keep himself busy during the summer break. For Betsy, it was a very lonely period. [Captain Britain v2 #1 / Captain Britain v1 #14 / Excalibur v2 #3, #4 / Uncanny X-Force v1 #35 / Uncanny X-Men v1 #460 / Excalibur Annual #2 / Excalibur v1 #59 / Education in England / Key Stage 5 / Higher education in England]


Rahsaan Chisolm said...

🖤 Thank you.

Anonymous said...

You guys are amazing, this is fantastic, beyond words! ♡ Thank you guys for your passion and dedication, you are the best. /G.

BMS said...

You guys are the best! Thanks for the effort and good work

Finn said...

Thanks!! This is great!!

Antone Poitier said...

Hard work pays off, awesome job! Can't wait for more of this.

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

Is the blonde with her hair up with a deck of cards between her in the smoking man (who is he?) in the third Hellfire Club image Elizabeth? If so, I've never seen that one. Which book/issue is it from and what was the context? It looks live it was drawn by Alan Davis who is my favorite Psylocke artist. He always draws her so well... in both European and Asian forms. You can tell how much he loves the character. All of these memories make me wish Marvel would really stop pushing her as this character with zero ties to her Marvel UK life which was when she was most interesting. If Marvel ever did explore that side of her and integrate it (especially with her STRIKE days and her lover, Tom who she never mentions which is appalling seeing how traumatic his death was for her)into her portrayal in the US comics, I think I'd willingly support a Psylocke ongoing solo book.

like a butterfly said...

Thank you all for the kind words.

@Rahsaan Chisolm It's Sat-yr-9 posing as "Courtney Ross" at the London Hellfire Club (Exalibur #9). Just to depict how the London HC looks like

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

@like a butterfly,

Thank you! Duh on my part! I totally forgot about Sat-yr-9 and Courtney!!

Jeferson Santos said...

Such a big character Psylocke is. Hands down to the great Olivia Munn to bring life so brilliantly in the movies, and plus in comics.
Psylocke claim a solo book again.

Psyloco said...

I recently read Captain Britain material and I was amazed by Marvel UK universe.
Such a shame it's not explored nowadays.

Thanks for the biography.