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|First appearance||Uncanny X-Men #330 (March 1996)|
|Created by||Scott Lobdell (script) Ben Raab (script) Joe Madureira (art) Salvador Larroca (art)|
|In story information|
The Crimson Dawn is a fictional mystical pocket dimension appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The dimension is depicted as existing beyond the shadows of the world and part of the Marvel Universe. Its first reference was in Uncanny X-Men #330 (March 1996) where it was searched for the life-giving elixir called Ebony Vain.
When Psylocke was left in a coma after being fatally wounded by Sabertooth, Archangel and Wolverine decided to journey to the realm of the Crimson Dawn. Their intention was to use the Elixer called the Ebony Vein to save Psylocke's life. Logan and Archangel went to New York’s China Town to find the Crimson Dawn, and Dr. Strange, sensing their intent, joined their quest, which brought them to a Chinese restaurant. Inside they met Gomurr, the ancient, an old acquaintance of Logan. The access to the Crimson Dawn was hidden in the mouth of a huge paper dragon, and their way was blocked by several Undercloaks, ninjas with the ability to travel through shadows, but the four allies got through. Face to face with Tar, the elixir’s Proctor, Gomurr kneeled and begged for them to take some of it, but Tar refused, rather annoyed that he was only visited when someone needed something of him. He spirited Gomurr away, but while Logan kept Tar busy, Dr. Strange and Archangel approached the Ebon Vein. Actually the Elixir could only be used on people present, but Strange reached into Archangel’s heart and pulled out the part of Psylocke’s soul that she had entrusted to him, resembled by a beautiful figurine. As he shoved the icon of their love into the glowing sphere containing the Crimson Dawn, back in Westchester, Betsy’s life signs stabilized and as a result Psylocke obtained a scarlet mark over her left eye. Tar angrily expelled all three heroes from his realm and they found themselves back on Earth, along with Gomurr.
Over the following months it became quite clear that the experience changed Betsy more than on a skin-deep level. She grew much colder and distanced herself from her lover and their friends. Even when she manifested the ability to shadow-port, Psylocke didn’t bother much nor tell anyone, one day startling the X-Men by teleporting into the mansion without warning. Just like them, Betsy understood that something was amiss with her, but she couldn’t bring herself to talk with anyone about her concerns. When she found herself under attack by a group of Undercloaks, she managed to fight them off all on her own, and did keep the battle secret, not even telling Warren despite the dark warriors having attacked her in his penthouse.
Later, it was revealed that their actions had also weakened the dimensional walls which allowed those who have been trapped in the Crimson Dawn, such as the Dragons of the Crimson Dawn, a group of monks from the last years of the Ming Dynasty, to escape the mystical realm. Journeying to the Wildways, another Magical dimension and the home of Spiral when not serving Mojo, they needed her help to teleport them to Earth, but when Spiral refused to aid them, she was threatened with torture that was even beyond her Body Shoppe’s capabilities and she reluctantly accepted to join them and received the mark of the Crimson Dawn. Actually Spiral thought she could outsmart the Dragons at one point, but the Crimson Dawn’s influence was too strong and she had no choice but to release them on Earth, namely in London, where they attacked by surprise Captain Britain. They took him prisoner to their native Hong Kong, where they wanted to channel his powers into breaching the dimensional wall to the Crimson Dawn, thus enslaving Earth.
However, Spiral alerted Excalibur to the Dragons’ plan, and teleported the team to Hong Kong. Another one trying to spoil the plan was Xiandu’s spirit, a monk with ties to the Dragons of the Crimson Dawn, who told Meggan, the only one to sense him, that like him the Dragons of the Crimson Dawn were from the time China was overrun by the barbarian Li-Tzu Ch’eng. They had prayed that the kingdom would be spared from the endless bloodshed, but the Ming dynasty ended anyway. Frustrated that their prayers hadn’t been answered, Xiandu and three of his friends, Ra’al, Barak and A’yin, went down the darkest road they would ever travel. They sought out the "Covenant of the Ebon Vein", and were inducted on the promise that China would be freed from its oppressors. The four of them tasted the life-giving elixir and were given the scarlet mark over their left eyes, however, Xiandu underestimated the might of the elixir and during the night, A'yin, Barak and Ra'al were corrupted by its powers and murdered Xiandu. By killing Xiandu they were transformed into the Dragons of the Crimson Dawn, and Xiandu would roam Earth as a spirit for centuries to come, awaiting for their inevitable escape from the Crimson realm. The spirit revealed to Meggan that not only her abilities but also her love for Brain was needed to rescue him and stop the two worlds from merging into one. While the rest of Excalibur temporarily held the Dragons of the Crimson Dawn at bay, Meggan helped Brian redirect the power flow, releasing it safely into the atmosphere. While Brian survived, he was Captain Britain no more, his powers gone. The Dragons left by melting into the shadows, vowing that one day they would succeed and rule Earth.
Another creature to break through from the Crimson Dawn, was the demon Kuragari. He hunted down Tar, and magically wrested control over Tar’s servants from him, only proceeding to kill him to become the next Proctor of the Crimson Dawn. Gomurr found his old rival’s body, and gave him a decent burial. Knowing that Kuragari would come after Psylocke next, he tried to warn her and Archangel, but he happened to be too late. In the meantime, the two X-Men had once again been attacked by Undercloaks, this time leaving behind a strange ring. By the time Gomurr arrived, Betsy, somehow attracted to the piece of jewelry, was already wearing it on her finger, thus allowing Kuragari to abduct her to the Crimson Dawn realm. Gomurr also revealed to Warren that Kuragari was the one to send the Dragons of the Crimson Dawn in the first place.
Apparently one can not take from the elixir without giving something in return, and as Psylocke’s debt had never been paid, Kuragari now thought to force her into becoming his bride. Psylocke tried to resist as hard as she could, but by the time Archangel arrived, sent after her by Gomurr, Betsy had already been transformed into a shadow creature. While Betsy left with Kuragari, Warren had to face an entire army of Undercloaks. Back on Earth, Tar’s spirit visited Gomurr, thanking him for the burial and explaining that their past years of enmity had only served one purpose – training lessons for Gomurr to become the rightful next Proctor.
Accepting the mantle passed on to him, Gomurr too crossed over to the Crimson Realm and helped Archangel. In order to release Betsy from the Dawn’s hold, Warren sacrificed an unknown amount of his own life-force to pay the debt. Now free of Kuragari’s influence, Betsy’s darkened skin vanished and together they managed to drive Kuragari away. While the lovers returned home, Gomurr remained behind in his new home.
Further changes awaited Psylocke, as when she found herself tricked by the Shadow King into creating a psionic energy wave that temporarily disabled all psionic abilities on a world-wide scale, she manifested another ability thanks to the Crimson Dawn. Actually the Shadow King had torn apart Betsy’s astral self, leaving her twisted and disfigured. Betsy, though, rebuilt herself in a new black form and found that this shadow astral self was nearly impossible to be detected, eventually defeating the Shadow King.
- Uncanny X-Men #328-330
- Uncanny X-Men #338
- X-Men (2nd series) #61
- Excalibur #107
- Excalibur #108
- Excalibur #109
- Excalibur #110
- Psylocke & Archangel: Crimson Dawn #1-4
- X-Men (2nd series) #78