Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Battle of The Atom: Episode 57 – A Pack Of Misfits with Jim Zub


XavierFiles: "Hunt for Wolverine: Mystery In Madripoor" writer Jim Zub joins us to dive into the wild world of Psylocke, New Tian, and what it’s like to write weird X-Men.

What you’re probably most known for in the last few weeks is “Hunt for Wolveryne: Mystery in Madripoor” #4. Psylocke’s in her old body.

Jim Zub: Honestly, the response has been really good. The majority of people I’ve interacted with have been ecstatic or excited. They see the potential in what we’re doing. These characters, the X-Men in particular, go through permutations, and changes and evolutions in their history and this is no different as far as I’m concerned.

What got you thinking that now was the right time to make this change to Psylocke? How that come about?

Zub: We knew that the “Hunt for Wolverine” books each would have their own revelatory things happening. When we were talking what they could be, how could they take place, I brought up this idea of altering Psylocke and returning some aspects. She’s not going back in time. She’s still done all those things she’s done. In the end of the issue, the Japanese body is around. It’s not just British Betsy. There’s more now. The reason why the team got excited about and we got any momentum was because we were not losing a character, we were gaining a character. We were going to add a character to the mix that we can work with as a future ingredient for cool, dramatic X-Men stories. It’s not about negating Betsy or taking away the things she’s done. It’s about building new stories with these new ingredients. Then it became a matter of “How does this work?” It’s comics, there’s always a way to make it work, but how does this function? How does this track as comic logic? I had a funky way to do that as well and it was all centered around this obscure villain that Claremont created called Sapphire Styx. I kept waiting for the editors to say no, but they were really supportive. We liked this idea that we can do something to kick start a bunch of new, cool, dramatic plotlines for Betsy and inadvertently for Kwannon. I knew there was going to be some contentiousness, particularly when it leaked out what was coming before they actually read the issue. People didn’t know that we had the Japanese body still in play. That was tough because people were freaking out, screaming and yelling and I kept telling them to wait for the issue to come out and react to what’s really there instead of their assumptions of what will be there. I’m excited because the “Uncanny X-Men” team embraced what I was doing and now Betsy’s in the weekly book coming out. I don’t want to say that Betsy had fallen into a rut, but it felt like you couldn’t change anything about her, and I thought “Let’s see if I can change some things and add a bunch of new dramatic potential.”

It’s an interesting development and not something I’d expect from the tie-in leading up to the “Return of Wolverine” book, all things considered.

Zub: It’s because Madripoor was a core ingredient of when Betsy became Lady Mandarin, and Wolverine was such an integral part of that initial story. I thought Patch/Wolverine are integral to Betsy’s story in some ways. I felt like there was a tie there that we could build into. We teased that in the first issue, but readers didn’t necessarily know what was going to be.

It was an unexpected, but delightful surprise. People had concerns about changing Psylocke back impacting Asian representation in comics. What was your thought process with that?

Zub: I’m not here to tell someone what they should believe. People get passionate about the stories and these characters and that is totally valid. I have no ill against someone who tells me they didn’t like the story or what we did. That it’s totally your right and I have no problem with that whatsoever. The only thing I can say is those concerns and fears didn’t come out of the blue with us either. In the end, we had to have something cool coming out of this. We had to have stronger representation by the time this is all set and done. Some people are not going to be able to accept it or want it and that’s fine. I’m not trying to erase anyone’s feeling. I don’t laugh any of this stuff off. Equally, it’s important to know what if we don’t take risks, if we don’t do dramatic things with these characters, they grow stagnant  because people are too afraid to change them. We want to have more possibilities and more things we can do with Psylocke and the other stuff we teased at the end of “Mystery in Madripoor.” This is the only thing I can say without getting full-spoilery and the X-Office supports this. There was thought, and care put into this and a desire to come out of the other side stronger in terms of both representation and stronger characterization and good dramatic storytelling.

27 comments:

Finn said...

Ok.. He got my interest.. I'll give it a try.. #CaucasianBetsy #AsianKwannon

PoetryInMotion said...

It's hilarious how they keep trying to fool us into believing that "Asian body fans get what they want" with Kwannon back in the picture.

Some dude said...

^This 1000x.

And also the pretending that this is somehow new. Or his underlying assumption that the only way to make Psylocke interesting is to alter her physically. That’s what so many writers have failed with her over the years, thinking a new power set or something will “fix” her. Good writers like Remender and Bunn knew better.

sydney cruz said...

wow! this is very interesting,i love everything specially the art.:)

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Anonymous said...

So we all agree that Kwannon lady should stay dead regardless of what happens with Psylocke?

Alex V.W said...

If a writer can come in & do something interesting with Kwannon, who was simply created to be a plot device, then I'm here for it. The only thing I'm more iffy with is that they're both exhibiting psychic knives. I know they had basically the same powers during the original body swap but I think a good writer should change the Kwannon abilities. Maybe make her an empath on the level of the Hellions Empath.

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

@Alex, that irked me too. Kwannon is not a telepath or telekinetic. At least she wasn't before Spiral got a hold of her. She was simply an empath would very limited empathic abilities that she had zero conscious control over.

I think they should explore that power to completely differentiate her from Elizabeth if they are going to keep her around. These two need to have their paths completely diverge in regard to powers, hair color (Kwannon should go back to her black hair) and everything else. I think it would be great if they develop a bond due to their shared experience, but there is only one Psylocke. Elizabeth has one twin and his name is Brian.

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

Giving her Psylocke's abilities keeps her tethered to Psylocke, which is supposed to be the antithesis of what they're doing by making her a real character.

I also hope they don't make her bitter and angry about what Psylocke and Wolverine decided to do to Matsu'o. Matsu'o needs to remain in the past.

Anonymous said...

No we don't. I'm excited to see what is coming next for both characters.

Anonymous said...

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Jeferson Santos said...

they probably gonna touch this Matsuo stuff |o|

Jeferson Santos said...

I always felt like Betsy was more mystic, psychic (telepathy plus visions of future - what is her original power); Kwannon is more agressive in physical aspect (telekinesis plus ninja sword and skills).

Anonymous said...

No we don't agree, @Anonymous 1. I'm with @Anonymous 2 and looking forward to seeing both characters developed. I'm actually very curious to see what they do with Kwannon.

It's funny how he says that the reaction has been so positive. There are a ton of fans who are alienated by this so it's really selective of him to underscore the positive, and I really take it with a grain of salt when he claims that people really like the change he made, which was his own idea. What is he going to say? "A lot of fans think this is pretty poor and she looks bad?" (which they do.) Hopefully they don't further alienate these fans to the point that the damage is beyond repair and they no longer identify with the character. This is to say hopefully Kwannon's treatment is well thought out and not half-baked.

I haven't forgotten Betsy - I hope they improve her awful costume and make her seem less boring. She was great when Claremont wrote her but things have changed, and now they need to make an effort to make her seem less of an outdated wallflower i.e. a poor man's Deana Troy on the Starship Enterprise, especially in that Star Trek looking aerobics outfit.

-AO

CmX said...

I'd love to see Kwannon have some ties to Wolverine or take Psylocke's role of the aggressive killer/XForce member. Hopefully Kwannon isn't only involved with Psylocke and gets her own supporting cast elsewhere. I'd be happy if Kwannon kept the TK and Psylocke keeps the TP.

Anonymous said...

Courtesy of Spiral, they have the same power sets. I'm all for seeing them use the same powers in their respective signature ways, but if we are campaigning for them to have different power sets, Kwannon should keep the more physical representations and manifestations of the powers (particularly, the psychic knife, telekinetic katana, etc.) but as we have seen, both Betsy and Kwannon use the psychic knife so its more likely that they will have the same power sets but demonstrate a different style while using them.

-AO

Anonymous said...

I like CmX's idea too.

-AO

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

@Jeferson, question for you. Would you prefer Psylocke not be physical at all any more? Or just that she not have the physical manifestations aside from psycho-blasting? I would think that she still would enjoy martial arts even if she didn’t use all that bloody psychic weaponry.

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

@Outback, I’m about to get a two week class pass for all the aerobics classes in my city and invite you for a visit.

Some dude said...

I’d agree with that. Kwannon was hollow mess of a shell who could never escape Psylocke’s shadow the first time around and I doubt rotting for 25 years will have changed that.

X-Man said...

I liked the article, the only thing that I dont like is that Kwannon has psychic weaponry. She gave Betsy back her full telepathy when she died. It makes no sense that she can still do that. I rather the empath route, since they've stated In the past that that is what she originally was. I'm very excited to see where the story goes though. I really feel its poetic that after her body was taken by forces beyond her control, she ultimately was the one who regained control and got it back (as close as she could).

Stephen W said...

Kwannon should lose the psychic knife & focus on enhancing her empathic powers... such as causing pain to others....maybe give her telekinetic powers....keep her with the katana blade too....but no telepathy

Guy McNichts said...

Call me a cynic, but this has not inspired confidence and I'm afraid all they've done is split my favorite character in half.

Over here, we have Betsy who's been robbed of her martial arts abilities and reduced to a poor-man's Jean Grey.
And over there, the bad-ass ninja had been turned into Kwannon--who I've not a single f**k to give about.

I liked the whole package of Psylocke. The telepath AND the ninja.

Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong.
But this sounds like trash.

Some dude said...

Agreed. Kwannon is a redundancy just like the O5 are. Even if Psylocke retains her martial arts (which actually makes the redundancy worse), Kwannon lacks an identity and no matter what power she ends up with Psylocke’s (probably) had them during her 30 years in that body, so she will always be in Psylocke’s shadow. So yeah, trash just like the O5.

Unknown said...

After gaining her original body back, her telepathy seemed stronger. She used her telepathy in situations where she would have normally used martial arts.
I think both of them should have the same abilities but different preferences. Psylocke preferring telepathy while Kwannon preferring Telekinesis.
The only thing that will make me invest time in reading a Kwannon comics is if they amp her martial arts skills and weapon constructs.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2, Anonymous 3, Anonymous 4, it looks like we all do agree that Kwannon lady don’t need to be running around after all. She is pointless.

Tazirai said...

@some dude, Psylocke has been in that body 3-4 years tops. Not 30.
Comic time is not real time.
Also

@whoever Anonymous, Kwannon is only redundant because she was never given an actual chance. Some of the Psylocke "Fans" seem to know nothing about the woman they claim to like.

kerakova killgrave said...

Personally i feel if there going this route kwannon needs to be the only one with the psionic weaponary, martial art skills and possibly shadow teleporting. While besty goes back to being the ethereal telepath with no combat skills and her butterfly imagery. I honestly think this whole decision happed because of xmen apocalypse where psylocke is a villain. Now revanche will assume that mantle.