|This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (October 2013)|
|First appearance||X-Men vol. 2 #17 (February 1993)|
|Created by||Fabian Nicieza (Writer)
Andy Kubert (Artist)
|Notable aliases||Betsy Braddock/Psylocke|
Fictional character biography
Her origins unknown, the woman known as Kwannon was first seen as the prime assassin of the Japanese crime lord Lord Nyoirin, as well as the lover of Matsu'o Tsurayaba, a high-ranking member of a group of ninja mystics called The Hand. When the interests of Nyoirin and the Hand came into conflict, Kwannon was honor-bound to face her lover Matsu'o in combat. During the conflict, she fell from an ocean cliff and suffered injuries that left her brain-damaged and comatose with no hope for recovery.[volume & issue needed]
Shortly thereafter, the telepathic X-Man Psylocke was found washed up on the shore of the Hand's island base in the South China Sea after passing through the Siege Perilous. Matsu'o sought the help of the sorceress Spiral, a begrudging servant of Mojo, to save Kwannon (for reasons unknown, Spiral and Mojo have shown a marked interest in Betsy Braddock prior to these events; Mojo gave her the codename Psylocke when he attempted to make her his servant, and Spiral was responsible for implanting her with bionic eyes to replace the ones she lost, which acted as interdimensional cameras for a time, recording her adventures with the X-Men). Spiral informed Matsu'o that it would be possible to use Psylocke's telepathy to restore Kwannon's mind. Kwannon's natural empathic talent would allow her mind to withstand contact with a high-level telepath's like Psylocke. Matsu'o agreed, unmindful of Spiral's penchant for trickery and deception. Spiral used her magicks, combined with the alien technology of her Body Shoppe to transfer the two women's minds into each other's bodies, also intermingling their DNA. The result of this merge was that they now physically resembled each other and each possessed half of Psylocke's mutant telepathic abilities. Matsu'o tried to manipulate Psylocke, who he thought was his lover Kwannon, into becoming The Mandarin's second-in-command, but an encounter with her teammate Wolverine enabled her to break free of his control and eventually rejoin the X-Men.[volume & issue needed]
Meanwhile, Kwannon was recovered by her employer Nyoirin (with the assistance of Spiral). Her new body was retrained in the martial arts, and she was sent to the United States to confront Psylocke. The merge of bodies and minds between the two women had left each with memories and personality traits of the other, leading Kwannon to believe that she was truly Betsy Braddock. She infiltrated the X-Mansion and fought Psylocke with a psychic katana that functioned in the same manner as Psylocke's psychic knife, cutting through the mind and disrupting the nervous system of its target. When the X-Men arrived to aid Psylocke, Kwannon (now assuming the codename "Revanche") claimed that Psylocke was an impostor. The other X-Men were unable to determine the true identities of the two women; according to Wolverine, their scents were identical, and Psylocke, subject to manipulation many times in the past, was unwilling to allow Professor Xavier to telepathically probe her mind in search of the truth. Finally, the two women left for Japan to uncover the truth, accompanied by Gambit and Beast. Revanche surprised her fellow companions with her ability to read and speak Japanese perfectly, a skill the real Betsy Braddock never had. After a brief confrontation, it was revealed that Kwannon was supposedly the first person to happen upon the unconscious Betsy Braddock after her re-emergence from the Siege Perilous portal. Amnesiac and disoriented, Psylocke's telepathy ran unchecked and fused the two women's minds together. This story was later proven to be the result of false memories generated by Kwannon after being lied to by Matsu'o and Lord Nyoirin. The group found and confronted Matsu'o, but he would reveal nothing about what had truly transpired.[volume & issue needed]
Revanche returned to New York with the X-Men, becoming an unofficial member of the team for a short time. On a mission to an island which housed a colony of Legacy Virus victims, it was revealed that Revanche herself had the deadly disease. The Legacy Virus slowly increased her telepathic ability, allowing her to cut through the confusion and distortion of her own memories, revealing the truth: that she was in fact Kwannon inhabiting Betsy Braddock's original body, as Braddock now inhabited hers. It was also discovered that Kwannon was unconsciously creating psychic confusion in the minds of her teammates concerning her and Psylocke's true identities. Close to death, Kwannon asked Matsu'o to end her life swiftly, in atonement for his transgressions against her and Psylocke, and so that she might die of her own will and not as a victim of disease. Matsu'o killed Revanche with a tantō. With Kwannon's death, Psylocke's full telepathic potential was returned to her. Revanche also left a portion of her psionic energies within Matsu'o, who used it at her behest, removing Kwannon's fractured memories and personality traits from Betsy Braddock's mind, and restoring those of Betsy's that were possessed by Kwannon. Kwannon's epitaph, left by Psylocke and Matsu'o on her grave in Matsu'o's garden, read "Kwannon, love that transcended body and soul".[volume & issue needed]
Later, the Sisterhood of Mutants stole Betsy's original body (in which Kwannon had died) from her grave in Tokyo and performed a ritual using a captured Psylocke, forcibly restoring Betsy into her original body and under the control of the Red Queen. In a final confrontation, Betsy faced off against Dazzler, attacking her with her psionic blade. Alison defended herself, channeling the ambient noise of San Francisco into an intense laser beam, burning off half of Betsy's face and allowing her to regain control. Betsy drove her blade into her own head and confronted the darker counterpart controlling her body on the astral plane. Betsy eventually won, and her psyche returned to Kwannon's body, leaving her original body a corpse yet again. In the aftermath, Psylocke identifies the body as genuine and travels to Japan, intending to re-inter Kwannon, but during an attack by agents of the Hand her original body is destroyed, at the behest of Matsu'o Tsurayaba. Kwannon and Matsuo are later reunited in spirit form when she appears at the moment of his death in order to welcome him to the afterlife, when Psylocke grants his request to be euthanized following a violent final battle with Wolverine.
Originally, Kwannon was an 'intuitive empath' who could sense the emotional state of others. It is unknown if her original abilities are the result of mutation. Upon inhabiting Psylocke's body she gained half of Psylocke's original telepathic potential, including the power to generate a psionic blade like Psylocke's psychic knife, but larger and more ornate. Her psi-katana was capable of disrupting a person's neural functions on contact, generally rendering them unconscious. The appearance of the katana varied; on at least one occasion Revanche was shown to generate a small psychic dagger instead of a full blade. Using her psi-blade, Revanche could force her way into another telepath's mind.
Though her new body had originally been shown to possess extremely strong telepathic abilities Revanche very rarely utilised any telepathic powers, relying instead on her psychic katana. However, Revanche was shown to possess enough skill to successfully shield her mind from Jean Grey's telepathic scans, and sneak into the X-Mansion undetected. It was later explained that because of her discomfort and dislike of her telepathic powers Revanche unconsciously projected these emotions onto the X-Men whenever she was around them, causing them to be more agitated and aggressive in return. This manipulation was so subtle that neither Jean Grey nor Professor Xavier detected it.
Once infected with the Legacy Virus, Revanche's telepathic powers increased to the point where she was able to cut through the fog of her own clouded memories, remembering the truth of her origins. She was also shown to read minds and project her own thoughts—even across continents, and to possess enough power to mask her mind from Professor Xavier's telepathic abilities, even while standing right beside him. Shortly before her death, Revanche displayed a butterfly-like psychic energy aura whenever using her powers, as Psylocke did in both her original and Asian bodies. Revanche was also somehow able to temporarily imprint Matsu'o Tsurayaba with telepathic energy that freed Psylocke of the portions of Revanche's mind she had absorbed.
Age of Apocalypse
In the six-part 2005 limited series, X-Men: Age of Apocalypse written by Akira Yoshida and drawn by Chris Bachalo, which was part of Marvel's celebration of the 10th anniversary of the original AOA, a counterpart of Psylocke was introduced. The AOA incarnation of Psylocke is an Asian ninja, though no explanation is given as to the circumstances of her ethnicity. She possesses the ability to generate psychic blades (an ability that 616 Psylocke only manifested after switching bodies with Kwannon) that can affect physical matter as well as living beings.[volume & issue needed]
Captured by agents of Apocalypse, Logan and Silver Samurai first notice Psylocke hiding in the shadows. She frees Charles Lensherr and captured X-Men and has a brief reunion with Logan, for whom she bears an obvious grudge. Psylocke later battles Dagger, defeating her quickly, and uses her psychic blades to counteract the brainwashing of some of the X-Men; first on Jean, who is released from Mr. Sinister's influence, and then on Kirika, which allows the young mutant to remember that Logan and Mariko Yashida are her parents. At the end of the series, Psylocke and the other Japanese members of the X-Men (Sunfire, Kirika, and Silver Samurai) depart for Clan Yashida's refugee colony in New Japan.
In Ultimate X-Men #18, S.T.R.I.K.E. Psi-Division agent Elisabeth Braddock is killed by Colossus in order to destroy Proteus, who has taken her as his host. In #25, she later appears at the gala celebration held at the X-Mansion in the last issue of Mark Millar's run on the title, this time in the body of a Japanese teenager. She explains that after she died, her consciousness migrated to the body of a comatose Japanese girl named Kwannon, who was "happy to go the light". Despite the disdainful reactions of her listeners, Betsy herself does not mind the change, stating she's "never felt perkier". This version of Kwannon was considerably younger than Betsy Braddock; upon inhabiting Kwannon's body Betsy was too young to be a S.T.R.I.K.E. agent, but was working undercover for Professor Xavier. She eventually became a member of the most recent lineup of X-Men.[volume & issue needed]
House of M
Kwannon, in Psylocke's original body post bodyswap, was seen in the House of M altered reality as a member of Magneto's elite guards, as depicted in House of M #7. She was returned to her grave after the House of M was undone.[volume & issue needed]
- Uncanny X-Men #508
- Uncanny X-Men #511
- Psylocke #1
- Psylocke #4
- All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update vol. 1 #4
- X-Men #23
- X-Men #22
- X-Men #20
- X-Men #32
- X-Men #31
- X-Men: Age of Apocalypse #4
- X-Men: Age of Apocalypse #6 (June 2005)