|First appearance||X-Men #17 (February 1993)|
|Created by||Fabian Nicieza|
|Notable aliases||Betsy Braddock/Psylocke|
Low Level Empathy
Psionic Blade Generation
Revanche (Kwannon) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. She first appeared in X-Men #17 (February 1993) and was created by writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Andy Kubert. The character is most commonly associated with the X-Men, specifically the character of Psylocke, with whom she switched bodies. She is a mutant with low-level empathy. In Psylocke's body, she had access to telepathic abilities and used it primarily to generate a psionic sword. She was a member of The Hand.
In the pages of 2019's Hunt For Wolverine: Mystery In Madripoor limited series, she is resurrected and returned to her original body. She will be one of the main characters of the upcoming X-Men spin-off, Fallen Angels, under the code-name Psylocke (the original Psylocke, Betsy Braddock, having become the newest Captain Britain.)
Revanche first appeared in X-Men #17 (February 1993), created by writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Andy Kubert. She appeared in X-Men comics of this era until her death in X-Men #31. Much of the early narrative surrounding the character of Revanche/Kwannon was confused by continuity errors created by Fabian Nicieza, who had failed to read Uncanny X-Men #255, which depicts the character of Psylocke being discovered on the shores of an island by ninjas of The Hand. Revanche's origin described in X-Men Vol 2 #22 directly contradicted this scene, so subsequent comics introduced a convoluted series of events to explain away this and other inconsistencies. Her body - or rather the original body of the X-Man Psylocke, which she had come to possess - is later briefly resurrected by The Sisterhood in Uncanny X-Men #509, but Revanche herself does not appear.
Kwannon is later resurrected permanently and returned to her original body in the final pages of the limited series Hunt For Wolverine: Mystery In Madripoor #4, and she resurfaces in the 2019 series Uncanny X-Men #16.
Fictional character biography
The Japanese woman known as Kwannon was first seen as the prime assassin of the Japanese crimelord Nyoirin and lover of The Hand assassin Matsu'o Tsurayaba. With the criminal interests of Nyoirin and The Hand quickly coming into conflict, Kwannon elicits a promise from Matsu'o that they will fight to the death rather than betray their respective lords. During a duel at the estate of Nyoirin, Kwannon eventually falls from a cliff; with her physical injuries and lack of oxygen while underwater causing her to become brain-damaged and comatose. Nyoirin, who possesses an unrequited love for Kwannon, bids that Matsu'o take her to The Hand to be healed, with the promise that he will not cross their organisation again. The Hand is able to use their scientific and mystical resources to keep Kwannon's body alive, but is unable to resuscitate her mind.
Betsy Braddock Body Swap
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Around this time The Hand discovers the telepathic X-Man Psylocke washed ashore on one of their bases in the South China Sea, suffering complete amnesia after having passed through the Siege Perilous. The Hand presents her to Matsu'o who notes that she (and the X-Men) are assumed to be dead, and that he knows how The Hand may use her. Meeting with the supervillain and crime lord The Mandarin he offers him both the services of The Hand, and the opportunity to create a unique assassin - one with psionic gifts, who can mentally acquire the secrets of his enemies and kill with a thought - if he will use his skills at "conditioning" and sensory deprivation, in conjunction with the "spiritual resources" of The Hand to brain-wash Psylocke. The two men are subsequently shown doing so, with a mind-controlled Psylocke, who is now Asian in appearance, emerging from a sensory deprivation tank at the end of Uncanny X-Men #256.
In a flashback scene from the same time period, Matsu'o and Nyoirin discuss placing Kwannon's mind in Psylocke's body, adding that the transfer will require the use of the Mandarin's rings. It is revealed that Kwannon's low-level empathy is the only thing that will allow her mind to withstand direct contact with the mind of a powerful psychic such as Psylocke.
At the same time Matsu'o strikes a deal with the extra-dimensional sorceress Spiral, a begrudging servant of Mojo, to ensure Kwannon's physical body is healed enough to survive the stresses of the procedure. As Mojo and Spiral have a marked interest in Psylocke - and the continued transmission of the feed from the bionic eyes they implanted in her body some time ago - Spiral also uses her magic and the alien technology of her Body Shoppe to intermingle the DNA of the two women. The two bodies now share genetic traits and mutations such as purple hair and eyes, both possessing true telepathic abilities, and have a physical resemblance to each other despite their different races. This resemblance is strong enough that Wolverine is able to recognise Psylocke's face upon seeing her for the first time in Kwannon's body, and later notes that both bodies share a similar smell. Both women are also now able to create psychic weapons - Psylocke a blade of focused telepathic energy from the back of her right hand, and Kwannon a psychic katana construct.
Due to the extreme damage to Kwannon's mind - and possible further intervention from Spiral, who at one point claims responsibility - the switching of minds between the two women is only partially successful. Psylocke in Kwannon's body retains all of her memories, but gains the martial arts and other expertise of Kwannon, as well as some of her preferences and personality traits (she shows a liking for Asian themed clothing and decorations, is generally more aggressive and pursues a flirtation with Cyclops). While Kwannon awakens an amnesiac invalid - essentially a blank slate - but now speaks with a British accent, even while speaking Japanese, and can also read in this language.
Psylocke briefly operates as The Mandarin's assassin before breaking free and rejoining the X-Men. Meanwhile, Spiral meets with Nyoirin, heavily implying that Psylocke's former body now contains the remnants of Kwannon's mind. Seizing this opportunity, Nyoirin takes this body back to his estate, nursing Kwannon back to physical health, while at the same time retraining her and feeding her lies regarding her history and identity. To prove her readiness to confront the X-Men and her 'other self', Kwannon, in a partial duplicate of Psylocke's former armor, defeats a gang of street thugs on the streets of Tokyo and then later slaughters ninja at Nyoirin's estate. During this time Nyoirin specifically refers to her as Kwannon, while Kwannon states her goal is to "regain her rightful place as (Nyoirin's) elite assassin" - making it clear both are aware of her true identity.
At Nyoirin's behest Kwannon travels to America, infiltrating the X-Mansion and showing enough skill with her telepathy to mask her mind from Jean Grey, Charles Xavier and Psylocke. She confronts Psylocke in the Danger Room while wearing a facsimile of her former armor, and is shown manifesting her psychic katana on panel for the first time; using the weapon to incapacitate her. Confronted by Charles Xavier and multiple X-Men, Kwannon states that she is the real Betsy Braddock, and that Psylocke is an imposter sent by Nyoirin to assassinate them all. As Kwannon is in Psylocke's former body, their scents are the same and even the mansion computer registers their energy signatures as duplicates, there is considerable doubt as to the veracity of Psylocke's identity. Even Charles Xavier and Jean Grey are unable to immediately telepathically discern the truth, with both women sharing surface psi-signatures. This is exacerbated when Psylocke refuses a deeper telepathic scan as she does not want her mind violated, while Kwannon willingly offers to submit - something Psylocke notes is "masterfully played". Kwannon also displays intimate knowledge of the X-Men, recognising those present, and correctly identifying that she has never previously met Professor Xavier (whether this is due to careful research on Kwannon and Nyoirin's behalf, or memories she gained from Psylocke is never made clear).
Psylocke and Kwannon preferred to settle the question of their identities through combat. However Charles Xavier and Wolverine note anomalies in Kwannon's story - her scent is different to that of Psylocke's from before she went through the Siege, and she is now proficient in Ninjitsu - it's therefore decided that Kwannon, now calling herself Revanche, Psylocke, Gambit and Beast will travel to Japan to search for answers. A rationale for Revanche's choice of new codename is never stated on panel, though it presumably refers to her stated intent of reclaiming her life from Psylocke. Revanche also debuts a new costume, which incorporates colours and elements from Psylocke's former armor.
Infiltrating Nyoirin's estate, Kwannon demonstrates intimate knowledge of the buildings and defenses, claiming this is due to being held prisoner there for months. She leads the X-Men to Nyoirin's study, which contains a large portrait of Psylocke in Kwannon's body, titled "Kwannon In Repose" - Revanche states this is proof of Psylocke's treachery, however the portrait features purple hair, which Kwannon's body only gained after the mind swap, so it is clearly part of a larger deception by Revanche and Nyoirin. The quartet are ambushed by Silver Samurai, who is easily dispatched by Psylocke and Revanche, with the two demonstrating mirrored fighting styles and instinctively coordinated attacks, as they did while fighting ninja earlier.
The battle with Silver Samurai reveals a hidden scroll written by Nyoirin, which Revanche is able to read despite it being written in Japanese. She then stabs Psylocke with her psychic katana, preventing her from leaving while she reads a story from the scroll (and seems to project the images from this story into Psylocke's mind) that seems to explain what happened to the two: while on assignment, Kwannon found Psylocke who had just emerged from the Siege Perilous, her body and mind fractured. When the two touched their minds fused, with a confused Psylocke running off and becoming brain-washed by Matsu'o and The Mandarin, while Revanche ended up in a sanitarium, and was eventually found by Nyoirin. A key factor demonstrating the falseness of this story is that Psylocke is showing emerging from the Siege fully clothed in her armor, while anyone truly emerging from the Siege Perilous does so naked. The four are then confronted by Nyoirin. After a standoff, he insists that the two women have merged minds and identities, and sends them after Matsu'o. Of note the narration in issue #22 states that Revanche is seeking answers about her identity, which contradicts previous issues where she is clearly a willing participant in Nyoirin's deception.
Psylocke and Revanche then confront Matsu'o in his home, grievously wounding him and further demonstrating their coordinated fighting style. Matsu'o also insists that the two women have combined identities, with he and Nyoirin each having deliberately moulded them into assassins.
Upon returning from Japan Psylocke and Revanche spar, trying to come to an understanding about their current state of being. It's stated that even though they move and function in concert, they are unable to read each other's minds. A conversation at the end of the issue further implies that Revanche is not who she says she is. Revanche is accepted by the X-Men, and is present during a meeting regarding Magneto's attack on the Earth, Thanksgiving celebrations, and accompanies a team of X-Men to Genosha while Psylocke is left behind.
Seeking answers, Psylocke finally agrees to let Jean Grey probe her mind, with Jean finding that the two women have been fused on a fundamental level. While on a mission with the X-Men's Blue team Revanche reveals she is suffering from the Legacy Virus, a lethal infection that is fatal to mutants. Her reaction to her illness and subsequent behaviour further call the truth of her claims into question, while Psylocke alternately displays concern and antagonism toward her.
With her death approaching Revanche departs the X-Mansion in the middle of the night, leaving behind the bionic eyes that had been implanted in her body and a note confessing her duplicity in attempting to assume Psylocke's identity. At the same time Spiral visits Matsu'o, confessing her part in merging the two women. Journeying to Japan Revanche confronts Matsu'o for his part in her ordeal, stating that the Legacy Virus is increasing her telepathic powers as it builds to her death; allowing her to cut through the fog of her memory, and the lies told by Nyoirin, to the truth. Even as she painfully probes Matsu'o's mind he still refuses to see Revanche as she currently is, picturing her as Psylocke instead. He also continues to insist that he had no knowledge of the two women switching bodies until after the fact, suggesting an extreme level of denial as to his part in the body swap. However, he does confess that once he did realise he tried to mould Psylocke into a facsimile of Revanche, hoping that having her body would be enough; while Revanche confesses that what she believed to be her previous memories were actually based on lies and a fictitious diary created by Nyoirin specifically to keep her away from Matsu'o. This explains why she failed to recognise Matsu'o during their previous encounter, while Matsu'o states he pretended not to know her as part of some penance for the wrongs he had visited upon her.
With the moment of her death imminent Revanche begs Matsu'o to kill her, which he does. Her death is felt telepathically by Psylocke and Archangel, while the final truth and some of the telepathic energy she wielded is imprinted onto Matsu'o.
Psylocke is visited by Spiral, who confesses her part in proceedings and hints she should use the bionic eyes to show her the truth. Psylocke watches a playback from the time of her transformation, recorded by the eyes, which answers many questions regarding Matsu'o, Nyoirin, The Mandarin and Spiral's involvement. She also realises that Revanche was unconsciously using her telepathic powers to create anger and confusion in the minds around her, explaining the aggressive reactions of some of the X-Men; and likely explaining away plot holes like why Psylocke or Revanche didn't simply read Nyoirin or Matsu'o's minds when they confronted them.
This information leads her back to Japan, where she finds Matsu'o, who has killed Nyoirin for his part in things. Matsu'o presents her with the final truth regarding the body swap, confirming that Revanche was never comfortable with the telepathic abilities she gained and projected that anger and discomfort into the minds around her; and that ultimately she came to respect Psylocke and the X-Men. He is then able to use the final burst of Revanche's telepathic energy to take away all of Kwannon's memories from Psylocke (thought she retains her martial arts skills and abilities).
Psylocke and Matsu'o then bury Kwannon, putting their history behind them and departing peacefully.
Much later the Sisterhood of Mutants stole this body from a grave in Tokyo (it seems Kwannon's final body was moved by Matsu'o, as this is not the original location of her grave) and performed a ritual using a captured Psylocke, which forcibly restored Betsy to 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. Psylocke eventually realises this is an attempt by Matsu'o to goad her into performing a mercy killing on him. Psylocke eventually agrees, and projects an illusion of herself as Kwannon to comfort him in his final moments.
Resurrection in Original Body
During the "Hunt for Wolverine" storyline, Psylocke's soul is absorbed by Sapphire Styx, leaving her body dead. As Psylocke's soul escapes, Styx's body explodes and she instinctively reforms a new body, identical to her original British body, from Styx's soul power. Later, Kwannon is revealed to be returned to life in her original body, now vacated by Psylocke. She ambushes a henchman in Viper's penthouse, stating in Japanese that she has some questions and manifesting one of Psylocke's psychic knives.
Kwannon reappeared in East Transia when the X-Men took on a new version Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Finding out that this Magneto was actually the clone Joseph, Kwannon killed him with her sword, then told the X-Men while speaking in Japanese that she was trying to remember them and that she was nothing as translated by Wolverine. She said she killed Joseph because he was a weapon to be used to erase mutants from the world if not stopped.
Previous to the exchanging bodies with Psylocke, Kwannon was said to be an intuitive empath. The extent and origin of these abilities is unknown. Upon inhabiting Psylocke's body she gained telepathic abilities and the power to generate a katana and other bladed weapon constructs composed of psionic energy. These blades were 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 possessed a wide range of telepathic abilities, Revanche very rarely utilized them. In combat she relied almost solely on her martial arts skill and psychic katana. However, she was shown to possess enough skill and power 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 the discomfort of using her newfound telepathy, Revanche unconsciously projected her frustration and confusion onto the X-Men whenever she was around them, causing them to be more agitated and aggressive in return, and to believe the same lies she herself had been told by Nyoirin. This manipulation was so subtle that none of the X-Men's other telepaths were able to detect 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 and recall the truth of her origins. She was also shown to read minds and project her own thoughts, even across continents, and to psionically mask her mind from Professor Xavier's own 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 Japanese 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.
After resurrection in her original body, Kwannon has displayed telepathic abilities and the capacity to generate 'knives' of psychic energy from the back of her hands. She is now skilled enough with her telepathy to read and tracks minds and project her thoughts - even employing the ability to read and anticipate the movements of an opponent during a bladed duel.
The Ultimate Marvel version of Kwannon appears in Ultimate X-Men, beginning in issue 32. 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. She later appears at the gala celebration held at the X-Mansion, 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.
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]
In other media
The character had a non speaking cameo appearance in the mid-1990s X-Men animated television series. She can be seen in the multi-part storyline "Beyond Good and Evil" (Part 4) as one of Apocalypse's captive psychics.
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