Thursday, September 13, 2018

#tbt: X-Men #77 – Psi-War, Part 1


#tbt: X-Men #77 – Storm battles Ananasi and is aided by Psylocke, who reveals that the “god” is a telepath. In the Psionic Plane, the two women find the villagers’ minds set up in a distinct patter. Before they can discern the reasoning, Ananasi attacks Psylocke and brings up her past failures and how she was always considered a redundant Jean Grey-wannabe. Psylocke falls into Ananasi’s trap and accidentally hits one of the villagers, which causes a reaction that cripples the entire psionic plan, as well as all psi-sensitive in the corporeal world. Psylocke is left as a discombobulated mess, as Ananasi reveals himself to be the Shadow King, now free of any opposition on the Psionic Plane!. Written by Joe Kelly and Art by German Garcia. Read full summary here.

35 comments:

Some dude said...

And then Psylocke pieced herself back together in her British body.

Jk, but it illustrates how unspecial and contrived the recent racelifting is. If it was actually justifiable in-story, it would have happened at least half a dozen times earlier in her life. (e.g., Psi-war, resurrection, house of M, Age of X, sisterhood, UXF trip to Otherworld, etc.) I mean, it was so special that it happened in a poorly drawn mini in which Psylocke only appeared in the first and last issues.

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

@Some dude, not really. All that says is that the powers that be were more invested in maintaining sexist/racist trope in all those other storylines. Times and regimes change.

Anonymous said...

@Rahsaan, Absolutely. There was one panel where the Shadow King taunted Psylocke as "that Asian chick on the team". Huh? Really? It didn't sound anything like what the Shadow King would say... because it was really writer Joe Kelly using that moment as a personal sounding board for a character he didn't like. Psi-War was trash, just like most of Kelly's writing, but then again this was a dark time when being a piece of sh*t got you a job as a Marvel writer.

Unknown said...

Psylocke didn't piece herself back together. The Crimson Dawn did.

As for Psi-War, Joe Kelly was really using the Shadow King as mouth piece, wasn't he? The guy clearly hated Betsy. I used to love this story as a kid, but now that I get all the nuances, he really did Betsy dirty. She was a completely and utter fool.

Some dude said...

@Rahsaan, Congrats, suggesting that Asian Psylocke is racist is officially the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. Actually coming from an Asian family, I can say I’ve only ever identified with Asian Psylocke and never found her offensive.

On the other hand, saying that Psylocke is inherently uninteresting or in a rut (Zub’s words) because she is Asian and that she must be “fixed” of her Asian ethnicity and that will “fix” the character...THAT is offensive and as racist as it gets.

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

@ Some dude; not dumb at all. I never said that Psylocke being Asian was racist. Please read properly. The way Asian Psylocke was used and her metamorphosis into an Asian person was racist. Especially, the disregard for what would happen in society or to a person losing white privilege and turning into a woman of color. If you think that is dumb, then oh, well. Also, if you cannot conduct yourself without berating people's views, then that's a shortcoming of your own maturity level.

As for Asian people, I realize no group is a monolith and the same way you have your views as an Asian person, plenty of my Asian friends disliked the character's concept and would have appreciated representation using the various other Asian X-Men.

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

I find it really funny when people are keyboard warriors with insults from behind a monitor and probably wouldn't be so bold in-person. We can debate with respect. Especially, while discussing fictional characters and especially if you wouldn't be so quick to insult someone in-person as that could go awry really fast on multiple levels from looking like an ass to receiving an ass-whooping.

Richard Swift said...

Rahsaan, I don't know why but you seem to get attacked a lot on these forums. *shrugs* Personally, I've always found your observations well communicated and written, even if I don't always agree with them (I'm a fan of Psylocke post- Acts of Vengeance).

That said, Psi-War was a terrible story line. It's in my top 5 of bad Psylocke story lines.

Alex V.W said...

Psi-war is before my time but it seemed like from the things I've gathered it was a decent, if not good storyline for Psylocke. I know that the mid to late 90's Betsy was used less & seemed to be sidelined a lot outside of the Sabertooth/Crimson Dawn plot.

Some dude said...

@Rahsaan:


“...not dumb at all.”

Well, you’re entitled to your opinion, just as you’re entitled to be wrong.

“I never said that Psylocke being Asian was racist. Please read properly.”

You said that by keeping Asian Psylocke it was “invest[ing] in maintaining sexist/racist trope in all those other storylines.” Lets be clear: Your initial comment said NOTHING of her introduction or metamorphosis. You can backtrack all you want or insist that you meant otherwise, but all that really indicates is a rash comment that didn’t communicate very well. As it stands alone, your initial comment just says that every past opportunity not taken to turn Psylocke Caucasian maintained racist trope. In actuality, the only storylines referenced were the ones I made (Psi-War, Age of X, UXF, HoM, etc.) and it’s those you said maintained the racist and sexist tropes...all by not making Psylocke white.

“Also, if you cannot conduct yourself without berating people's views, then that's a shortcoming of your own maturity level.”

If you cannot conduct yourself without berating other people and their maturity, what does that say about you then? I never criticized you, just an idea. Ideas are meant to be criticized and not all ideas are good. Vanilla Coke, kidz pop, the O5, the DCEU...it’s ok to call out ideas. It’s not really my concern if it bothers someone that their idea can’t withstand an even cursory amount of criticism.

Lol. Plenty of your Asian friends. Classic.

Anonymous said...

@Some dude, were here to discuss Psylocke, not to listen to your pissing contest with a good contributor to this blog, which Rahsaan actually is. You should read your own comments, YOU actually kicked off the insults with "Congrats, suggesting that Asian Psylocke is racist is officially the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard." One, he never suggested that and two, really? That's the dumbest idea you've EVER heard? New to the internet?

Some dude said...

Nah, just new to the comment section here.

If you actually read my post, you’d see that I criticized an idea, not anyone personally. Unlike your most recent post.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, Rahsaan, Some Dude, chill the f@#$ out.

Even though I read Rahsaan’s comment the same as Some Dude initially, if Rahsaan didn’t actually suggest that Asian Psylocke is racist then there was no insult in the first place. So everybody can calm down and move on.

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

To everyone who came to my defense, thank you. Even when we disagree here, I always attempt to recall that I’m speaking to human beings with feelings. I can have a debate without insulting folks who disagree.

@Some dude, respect is a two way street. I’m sorry that you were offended by my comment that Marvel’s insistence on maintaining very specific traits of Asian Psylocke were racist. However, I stand by that assertion.

I’m willing to discuss and open to differing perspectives, but I don’t tolerate name-calling and attacks on my intelligence. If you cannot respect that, then it’s best we don’t address one another here at all.

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

And I actually appreciate all the cats on here who regularly debate with me and we still have fun. For instance, Australian Outback regularly disagree and still manage to enjoy and respect one another.

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

One last point, people act like racist and sexist are four-letter words. Both describe systems that have been in place for millennia now. I never called the editors either, but said they were engaging and/or complicit in both. They are not insults. We all have internalized both to varying degrees. If the discussion of either or both in media is more of a transgression than the actual phenomena themselves, then that is even more of an issue.

Anonymous said...

Or we could keep going round and round...

Tazirai said...

That one time when Joe Kelly REALLY wanted to Kill Psylocke, because he hated her lol.
He like others at the time thought she served no purpose, hence the line SK said to her about being redundant.
She was the cute little Fake Asian girl who didn't do much but pose, and he owned her butt until she got her isht together and got REALLY lucky.

Alex V.W said...

@Tazirai

Did Joe & editorial want to kill her off or something at this point in time?

Some dude said...

@Rahsaan

“I’m sorry that you were offended by my comment that Marvel’s insistence on maintaining very specific traits of Asian Psylocke were racist.”

I wasn’t. Mostly because that’s not in your initial post. It didn’t include “specific traits” of any kind. Without that inclusion (in modifying your summary) we get “Marvel’s insistence on maintaining Asian Psylocke were [sic] very racist.” So that’s the idea I criticized. Not trying to put your words in your mouth, just pointing to the words that weren’t there.

And I’m sorry that you were offended and feel disrespected by criticism of an idea that you claim you didn’t even have. But I stand by that criticism.

“I’m willing to discuss and open to differing perspectives, but I don’t tolerate name-calling and attacks on my intelligence.”

No one has called you any names, questioned your maturity, asked if you were new to the internet, or attacked your intelligence by telling you to “Please read properly.”

Anonymous said...

@Alex V.W I'm not sure about the editorial staff, but at the time the 2 main X-books were scribbled by Joe Kelly and Stephen Seagle. These two idiots conducted an entire interview that de-volved into which characters they hated the most. Seagle especially VERY vocal about hating Bishop and Psylocke, wishing (in his words) that they were both dead. So yeah, they hired two hacks that hated characters in the books they were writing about.

Alex V.W said...

@Anonymous
Thanks. I'm tempted to see if I can find the issues in trade form.

I've never understood why writers, both DC & Marvel ones, write characters they hate? If it's editorial mandate to use character X, I'd just keep them to the background. I know it'd probably piss of certain fans but I'd rather do that then give them a crap storyline. Especially with team books when you can usually build a roster. Either don't use the character at all or write them out without killing them/injuring them. The writer who took over Nightwing after Tim Seelys' very good run has been determined for months now to sideline or maim Dick. Looks like he's gotten his wish with his upcoming arc.

CmX said...

I always wondered if Joe Kelly were allowed to kill Betsy at that time if CC would've simply brought her back during Revolution? lol

It wouldn't have been that long of a death, this was late 98? CC returned in 2000. Woulda been a shorter death than when she was dead between 2001-2004

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

@Alex, regarding writing characters they hate... I think often Editorial for whatever reasons vetoes them writing characters out. Not just killing them as CmX mentioned, but even just having them go off-panel. I’m sure many writers pitch giving characters “breaks,” but depending on who the Editors are and which characters they dig or even more have a lot of licensing attached to, they decide to say, “Nah. This character is sticking around for now.”

Didn’t Betsy have a short break after this arc up until The Twelve storyline?

Eduardo said...

Even though Joe Kelly's intention was not the best regarding Psylocke, I think he gave her an interesting story, by portraying her beating the Shadow King not even with telepathy, but with intelligence.

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

Regarding characters that were written by Joe Kelly, have you guys ever read this juxtaposition of Maggot and Psylocke? It’s actually a pretty good take on what makes for a good character:

http://www.comicsbeat.com/why-maggott-isnt-the-worst-x-men-character-of-all-time/

PoetryInMotion said...

^Good take or conveniently misguiding?Psylocke has never been portrayed as a character who thinks she's Asian,her metamorphosis boiled down to her appearance and martial arts only.She has always been pushed as a Westerner of English stock by every writer.

People are still pretending like Marvel aren't just catering to the complaints of a vocal minority with the new body switch.

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

@Poetry in Motion, perhaps, but how do any of us know who is in the minority or the majority? People do online polls, but those are only as reliable as the number of responses.

Also, Marvel is a business. It is in their financial interest to cater to the masses, so if the masses prefer that Psylocke stay Asian in phenotype but not it in identity, it would suit them to keep her that way.

Might it be possible that they as a company decided to go beyond profit and change something that the current powers that be feel was not a socially conscious route to begin with? Sometimes business decide to do someghing that they believe is correct in spite of profit or profit loss. Also, I really don’t see any of us jumping ship completely with this change even if they had left Kwannon dead. The same way none of us who were around jumped ship when the first change occurred. I think Marvel knows most of us will continue to support in some capacity.

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

I know many of you hate this, but I see a parallel.

Different issue, but both pertain to the validation of the lives of people color- - I see Marvel’s Decision to extricate Betsy and Kwannon from one another and give Kwannon her own development (if they follow through) along the lines of what Nike did in signing on Colin Kaepernick, an outspoken advocate for black and brown people who suffer police brutality and prejudicial policing.

Both companies are for-profit and realized that they would alienate some of their customer base, but also took a definitive side on representating people of color and specifically commenting on prior issues that silenced them such as unfair policing tactics or giving a woman with zero ties to any East Asian identity the spotlighted role as representative of those peoples. Both corporations made a decision to take a side (at least for now) on these themes of representation and made a decision that if they lose customers, because of it then so be it.

Now I do hope Marvel will make good on developing Kwannon independently from Betsy (though her using Betsy’s signature power expression continues to tether her the latter) and even more on really developing the X-Men’s roster of Asian and other non-white characters, which we are starting to see with the characters they feature in the new Uncanny. Especially, among the younger set of New X-Men.

I definitely look forward to companies considering how they represent diversity and even more so to them bringing on more diverse writers and editors as checks and balances.

Anonymous said...

Hey @Rahsaan - while we're both fans since the good old Claremont days, and while I respect your view, @Some Dude does make valid points that you appear to discount and dismiss outright, so it doesn't surprise me that he is offended.

Your main argument hinges on the yellowface argument - that putting Betsy in Kwannon's body was inherently racist. That in itself is a valid argument. However, it's the way you overuse it that raises an eyebrow. After reading your posts on this forum for *years* (since before Rick Remender's X-Force) it is my view that your main objective is to lobby to bring back the X-Men and Betsy that you remember from your childhood or youth. You even want them to re-explore her relationship with Doug Ramsay. (Ew, much? lol.)

You repeatedly press the yellowface argument, which again - is in itself a valid argument - but you do so way too repeatedly and ardently for it not to be a little strange, especially when the overwhelming majority of comments from Asian fans suggest they don't really take issue with it. Seriously - it seems that on a general level, everyone *except* Asian fans are arguing that Asian Betsy is racially offensive. If the main issue is that this is racist (to Asians), why aren't the views expressed by Asian fans taken more seriously? Instead, they appear to be swept aside and ridiculed. If you ask me, this entire decision to erase Asian Betsy is not being handled very well, and makes them look even worse for not learning from their mistakes.

Added to the fact that you constantly call Kwannon "the Asian body" (which is essentially reducing her to an object and not a person) it seems strange that your main argument is that Betsy should not be treated like an object. Why is it okay to treat Kwannon like one, then?

And while these are only my impressions, I have to (reluctantly) say in @Some Dude's defence that I have always (quietly) doubted your sincerity in overusing the racism argument. I'm not saying you aren't concerned - but I think you're over leveraging that argument for your own desire to see an old school version of Betsy and the X-Men brought back. And while I'd love to see the Australian Outback team together again, I don't think it's fair to leverage that sort of argument to get what I want.

And seriously, @Some Dude is right - the 'many of my Asian friends agree with me' argument is actually NOT a valid argument, lol.

Okay, enough tough love from me (which I know you're tough enough to handle). See ya, bish! :D

-AO

Tazirai said...

Thanks for that Comics Beat article.

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

@AO, thanks for that reply. And thank you for making me reflect on my own stance. I will capitulate that my reply about my Asian friends is not a strong argument as none of them participate in this forum to speak for themselves and that I do have a nostalgia for the 80s X-Men which most certainly does inform my views.

Thay being said my views on the racial overtones of the character are prejudicial based less on my nostalgia and more on what I have seen historically in media when it comes to representation. And you and Some dude are correct in stating that this is more about what Asian fans feel than what non-Asian fans feel about the character’s representation or the representation of other Asian characters.

@Some dude, I apologize for discounting your view. I would be offended too if someone did this to me about a character I identify with. While we clarified above, I want to be further cllear with you. I am not angry. What I would appreciate in the future is a bit more willingess to communicate with attacking one another or one another’s thoughts. I can agree to do the same.

I also capitulate that while I personally wouldn’t want a character who was formally socialized as a white aristocrat representing me in media, it is not my place to tell someone else what is right for them. At the time, there were no prominent Asian X-Men and all other Asian x-characters were basically relegated to walllpaper or limbo, so I can see why people would appreciate having a character that did give them representation that was conspicuously missing.

Rahsaan Chisolm said...

That’s my own issue as a black person descended North American and Latin American persons and knowing the history of North & South America and the Caribbean having such explicit histories of minstrel shows, etc. that anything I remotely perceive to be similar rubs me the wrong way. Even if it’s not people of my same background being portrayed and not contextualybthe same as blackface. I’m gonna lay off on telling anyone how they should want to be represented. I would dislike if anyone told me that.

Jeferson Santos said...

I never read this arc, and always wanted. Telepathy fight is always exciting, specially if Betsy is in the area. This guy really did not like Betsy, but besides the awful comparisons with Ms Grey, I think it was a good plot, good point.

kerakova killgrave said...

I agree. Ive never seen any asians take an issue with psylocke at all. My bestfriend who was phillipino adored psylocke and loved her backstory.