Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Captain Carter #5 Spoilers & Art

Spoilers: Agent Braddock and Tony Stark kidnap Commander Lance Hunter and let him on about the conspiracy of vampires infiltrating the higher ranks of the British government and law enforcement and the framing of Captain Carter. Agent Lizzie also reveals she might be a mutant. With the aid of Commander Hunter, Harley hacks the security system of the prison where Peggy is detained. Braddock handles the S.T.R.I.K.E. agents by herself and frees Peggy. Captain Carter joins the fight, and the vampire threat is dealt with. Agent Braddock is promoted to Deputy Director General while Captain Carter chooses to resign.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Psylocke | Captain Britain – Unused Designs

This is a compilation of official Betsy Braddock designs, which ended up unused, reworked or altogether rejected by Marvel throughout the years. These unused costumes were edited and colored by us and will be added to our Costume Gallery in the next update.

Captain Britain by Alan Davis (c. 1985)

Alan Davis' original Captain Britain design had slightly different patterns; however, Betsy's wig was supposed to be shorter and wavier as opposed to the long, straight wig of the final design. Alan Davis' plot notes reveal that originally Betsy would become Captain Britain earlier in Captain Britain vol. 2 #9 (1985) during the battle with the Cherub Whirlwind warpies. Ultimately, Betsy's final Captain Britain design debuted in Captain Britain vol. 2 #12. This character design was published as an extra in the Captain Britain Omnibus (2022).

Outback Psylocke by Arthur Adams (dated November 5, 1987)

According to X-Men: Archives Sketchbook #1, there was a strong desire to update the X-Men's appearance at the time. Art Adams worked up several takes on those "new looks" and proposed a series of costume designs, particularly for the female X-Men members of the era. For Psylocke, Adams designed a black bodysuit covered by a one-piece bathing suit, with and without a cape/hood. His only note is that it should not be pink. This design eventually evolved into the "Australian Outback Armor", which debuted in Uncanny X-Men vol. 1 #232 (1988). These character designs were published in X-Men: Archives Sketchbook #1 (2000) and Modern Masters #6: Arthur Adams (2006).

Lady Mandarin by Jim Lee (dated June 22, 1989)

According to X-Men: Archives Sketchbook #1, Jim Lee tried a dramatically interpretation of the "new" Psylocke when designing Lady Mandarin. Whereas the first design is similar to the final, approved Lady Mandarin costume, the second design is rather different. According to Lee's notes, it consisted of a black suit, black gloves, a protective "death" mask and weapons concealed within the boot. Both versions had a retractable blade attached to the fist. The final Lady Mandarin costume debuted in the cover of Uncanny X-Men vol. 1 #256 and in the pages of #257 (1989). These character designs were published in X-Men: Archives Sketchbook #1 (2000).

Mystery Telepath by Salvador Larroca (c. 2002)

Legend has it that Chris Claremont originally planned for Psylocke's death in X-Treme X-Men to be temporary, with the idea being that when she returned, she would be stripped of the Crimson Dawn plus perhaps even returning her to her original body. According to Claremont's Facebook Group, Betsy was supposed to return as a psychic "ghost" circa X-Treme X-Men #19 where she'd fight the temptation to possess people. Salvador Larroca's notes reveal that Psylocke should have had a black costume, blue hair and yellow eyes. However, this was during a period where Marvel had decided that no characters would return from the dead, so Claremont's plans were squelched. This character design later surfaced online in the mid-2000s. A similar character with blue hair and yellow eyes was introduced by Larroca in X-Men vol. 2 #171 (2005) in Foxx, Mystique's disguise as a student at Xavier's. As for Betsy, she was ultimately resurrected in Uncanny X-Men vol. 1 #455 (2005).

Uncanny X-Force/Marvel NOW! by Kris Anka (c. 2012)

When Kris Anka was approached to redesign the members of the Uncanny X-Force relaunch, he started with Psylocke. According to Anka, as the leader of the team he wanted to nail Psylocke's design first and allow that to be the foundation for the rest of the team. Anka worked up four different designs before the final design eventually picked. Anka published all his designs with notes on his Tumblr page in October 2012.
Design 1 - Anka: “I started off with a straight up tactical suit. The image in my head was her descending out of the ceiling into a dark room to assassinate someone; So I tried to create a design that I could believe in that situation.”
Design 2 - Anka: “With this one I tried to help break up all the black of the costume, and re-implement some of the skin-stripes that are so quintessential to the Psylocke-look. But I didn’t want them to be completely separated from the costume as per the Jim Lee design. I tried to take a page from the design Opeña designed for the first volume of the Uncanny X-force. But add a bit more “me” to the shapes of those cut-outs.”
Design 3 - Anka: “More of the same. Trying to break up the black.”
Design 4 - Anka: “Tried something way more stealth. Visually a lot more effective for an assassin in the dark.”

X-Force/All-New Marvel NOW! by Rock-He Kim (c. 2013)

Artist Rock-He Kim redesigned all X-Force members when the book was relaunched in early 2014. When USAToday announced the book in November 2013, Kim's original character design for Psylocke was revealed. Originally, Betsy's X-Force costume was more detailed with camouflage patterns resembling the leg and arm stripes of Jim Lee's classic Psylocke design. The final, approved design, albeit similar, was simpler, with less camo and less patterns, and debuted in X-Force (vol. 4) #1 (2014).

Mystery in Madripoor/Disassembled by Mahmud Asrar (c. 2018)

Artist Mahmud Asrar was tasked with redesigning Psylocke for Mystery in Madripoor, which would see Betsy reclaiming her original body once more. As far as we know, Asrar worked up two different designs. The design picked, known to fans as the "Disassembled" costume, debuted in Hunt for Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor #4 (2018). A second, unused design was later published as an extra in the Director's Cut of Uncanny X-Men vol. 5 #1. This design was similar to Jean Grey's X-Men Red costume (also designed by Asrar) and resembled Psylocke's Outback armor, with similar elements, such as the hood, a cape and pieces of armor.

Captain Britain/Dawn of X by Marcus To (c. 2019)

Marcus To redesigned Betsy as Captain Britain when she claimed the mantle in Excalibur vol. 4 #1 (2019) as part of the Dawn of X relaunch. To later revealed that he had worked up different designs for Betsy. In April 2020, To published this unused costume on Twitter, which was reused for Brian Braddock in Excalibur vol. 4 #6 (2020). As opposed to the Union Jack design, this costume was mostly red and referenced Brian's original Captain Britain costume, with golden details and a golden Lion Rampant symbol on the chest.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

X-Men '92: House of XCII #3 Spoilers & Art

Spoilers: The events of X of Swords are reimagined in the context of X-Men '92. Arkon, ruler of Polemachus, challenges Krakoa to a contest of warriors for the fate of Arakko. Psylocke is enlisted by Apocalypse as one of the ten champions of Krakoa. Betsy duels Deadpool, who teases her about the bodyswap.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Tini Howard Babbles About "Knights of X"

Tini Howard confirms in her newsletter that Betsy has been "finding herself" for the past 3 years and 30+ issues (Yes, we could tell) and that she thinks her book is "really good" (😂). Check it out:

Knights of X #4 confirms the long-simmering feelings between Betsy Braddock and Rachel Summers with a big, deep, wet kiss. Captain Britain has a girlfriend and her girlfriend has started going by Askani. There’s been some very kind recognition of that, and I just want to express my gratitude.

This book is one of the rare times in my life where I think every issue just gets better and better. It’s part of why I’m so comfortable with our final issue coming next month with Knights of X #5. Read beginning to end, it feels like a perfect little 2.5 hour superhero movie. And oh boy... the sequel. What’s coming next is taking Betsy to whole new heights. She’s been finding herself for 31+ issues of comics, and now she’s come back through the Siege. We’ll see what happens in Knights of X #5. Hope everyone survives the experience. All this kissing is great but is Gambit going to be okay!!?!?

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Editor Explains why Ongoing Books become Minis

Off Panel: Marvel Editor Sarah Brunstad, who edits Knights of X among other books, joins Off Panel for a discussion about the wider world of editing comics.

Do you think of a comic book run length before going in or you hope for more because five issues might be it? Do you have to orient around for just those five issues?

Brunstad: It’s a big challenge because from the get go you want to go in and fight for more [issues] and the sad truth is that the fate of a lot of books is decided by the time issue #2 comes out if the sales have already dipped. I think both readers and retailers are impatient. My gut instinct is usually when I know it might end at #5 is just to [approach the author] and say we should just plan that it’s probably going to end in #5. I’d rather let somebody tell a really satisfying story in five issues than to get them excited to build up and try to put in a B-plot that we’re not going to be able to pay off. A lot of the things that fans complain about are the direct result of not being able to get an extended series. We want more soap opera, more romance, more B-plot kind of structures but you can’t do that in just five issues. When you get an extension, you have another five issues, but you’re going to build another five-issue unit. You can’t build it like a ten-issue [unit] at that point.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Tini Howard Explains her Uninspired Take on Betsy Braddock

EW: Writer Tini Howard shares her thoughts on her uninspired, bland version of Betsy Braddock and her uneventful book "Knights of X".

On Captain Britain
Tini Howard: For me, the most interesting thing about this character has always been that they're not a nationalist hero, they're a magical hero who defends the idea of story and legend. I like looking at those legends and talking about what kind of people are allowed to have these victory stories. What kind of people are allowed to be heroes?

On Brian and Betsy Braddock
Tini Howard: The biggest difference between Betsy and Brian is that Betsy is too smart to trust the narratives because she understands they weren't written for her. They were written for people like Brian. The fact that she knows that, and isn't afraid to change the story, is what scares the people in power. If you're Brian Braddock and you are a straight white man that lives in England, and a magical man appears to you and says, 'I have a quest for you,' you're more likely to trust that. But if you are a queer woman and mutant, and a man appears to you and tells you that he has something for you to do, that carries a different charge and a different level of trust.

On Betsy and Rachel
Tini Howard: One of the most exciting and affirming moments I can remember as a comics reader was reading Peter David and Valentine De Landro's X-Factor #45, turning the page and being completely surprised by a kiss between Rictor and Shatterstar. It was just such an incredible thing, how it was treated like any other awesome surprise kiss, and so exciting. Also, I think kissing is very important to good X-Men stories. There's such a thrill when two characters you like kiss, it's like winning the Super Bowl...I imagine. I've spent three years working behind the scenes to create that feeling for others that I so loved myself. That's what making art is all about, to me.

On archetypes
Tini Howard: I have a real love for the sorceress and the knight. From Final Fantasy to Geralt and Yennefer in The Witcher, I love a sword-wielder and their more magical partner who is equally powerful and tough. That dynamic lets the characters react to the expectation that one of you defends the other or something; instead they can show how partnerships actually work and how people actually love each other.

On Knights of X #5
Tini Howard: In Knights of X #5, we'll learn a bit more specifically about the power and potential that the connection between Rachel and Betsy is capable of. Rachel's past taught her to claim space for herself outside of the desires of others, and she's going to be in a role to help Betsy to learn this as well.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Knights of X #4 Spoilers

Spoilers: King Arthur and his minions pursue the Knights, while they argue about Gambit’s death and the meaning of his sacrifice. Mad Jim Jaspers is freed and incapacitates the Furies. Jaspers then opens a portal to Mercator. Betsy decides to go alone, but her Knights follow her. King Arthur also crosses the portal to Mercator and ends up in the new realm sinking in black mud. Absolon welcomes him and explains that Mercator is the Siege Perilous itself turned into realm and that the Siege forces one to face oneself. A data page follows with a letter from King Arthur addressing Merlyn ending their alliance and writing about how he loves his son (Don’t worry, it makes no sense). Each Knight of X is also faced with their innermost fears/desires. Rictor desires to die, but sees Apocalypse instead. Meggan sees an aggressive version of Brian. Mordred sees a version of King Arthur. Betsy sees the Captain Britain Corps blaming her for her failures, but realizes she had been in that place before when she crossed the Siege Perilous back in the day.

Meanwhile in the Floating Kingdom, Roma senses that something has awakened within Shogo. Roma and Saturnyne ride on Shogo and head to Mercator. Merlyn, who was randomly nearby spying on them after disappearing last issue (?), decides to pursue both women. Rachel somehow realizes what Roma and Saturnyne are up to and says she won’t let them tie Betsy to them in every timeline. The peasant woman Geraldine approaches Rachel and says she must gather the Knights to save the timeline. A data page follows explaining how Rachel is unique in the multiverse.

Afterwards, Shatterstar is fighting Spiral and Adam the X-Treme when Rachel interrupts his vision and recues him. Rachel proceeds to rescue Bei from a vision in which she kills Doug and Kylun from a vision where he relives the death of his former lover Sat’neen. Meggan and Rictor break free from the illusions by themselves, and the Knights regroup. Rachel flares up a beam of light to guide Betsy back to them. When they reunite, Besty and Rachel kiss passionately with butterflies around them. Absolon Mercator welcomes them and points out to Shogo arriving shortly with Roma and Saturnyne. Merlyn is pursuing them and says it’s time to end the battle.