Today, Marvel made a major change to an X-Men character, changing one of the most identifiable aspects of that character that has been in place for over 30 years.
SPOILERS for Hunt for Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor #4 by Jim Zub, Thony Silas, and Felipe Sobreiro follow.
Following the events of the Hunt for Wolverine one-shot, Kitty Pryde puts together a team of X-Men - herself, Psylocke, Jubilee, Rogue, Storm, and Domino - to head to Madripoor to investigate whether Magneto is responsible for stealing Logan’s body from its grave.
The X-Men arrive and believe they’re meeting with Magneto, only to find that it is a psychic named Mindblast is using psychic illusions to fool the mutants, allowing the “Femme Fatales,” a group working for Viper - Wolverine ex-wife, former Madame Hydra, and Madripoor crime lord - to strike.
The group manages to capture Storm, Rogue, and Psylocke while Domino, Kitty, and Jubilee escape. Since then, the story has been primarily about the escaped X-Men trying to rescue their captured teammates as well as the actual Magneto.
After the battle, Psylocke becomes the fixation of one of Viper’s henchwomen named Sapphire Styx. Styx hungers for human souls and has made Psylocke her latest prey. Styx drains Betsy so much that Betsy dies, but then suddenly a psychic version of Wolverine in his Patch persona appears. Patch fights alongside the X-Men, suggesting something more is going on.
Mystery in Madripoor #4 opens on Psylocke inside a kind of psychic realm where all of many souls that Styx has drained over her many years of life still reside. One of them is Wolverine, who had previously encountered Wolverine as Patch and tasted his soul, though Logan survived the encounter. Wolverine encourages Psylocke to fight back and the other souls trapped by Styx join with Betsy, increasing her power.
The energy of those souls combined with Psylocke’s own psychic abilities let Psylocke literally burst out of Styx’s body, killing her. Psylocke is then able to use her psychic powers, which are still on overdrive, to build herself a new body resembling her original body molecule by molecule (and a new costume to go with it).
This is the first time that Psylocke has inhabited her original, caucasian body (or a new copy of it anyway) since she was turned into an Asian ninja over 30 years ago.
If you haven’t been reading X-Men comics for that long, Betsy Braddock is a white British woman who was at one point captured by The Hand. The group’s leader at the time had just lost his best assassin and lover, a woman named Kwannon. With the help of the sorcerer Spiral and some Hand magic, the then amnesiac Psylocke was brainwashed and given Kwannon’s body. The change was meant to be temporary, but when writer Chris Claremont unceremoniously left the X-Men line after 17 years, no one else bothered to follow through and reverse the change. Betsy has been in that body for over 30 years.
Even now, it seems that Psylocke's other body isn't done. The final panel of Mystery in Madripoor shows Psylocke’s other body up and active again, even manifesting Psylocke’s psychic knife.1comments
What this means for the future remains unclear.
Hunt for Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor #4 is on sale now.