117: X-Men V2 #31 - 35 (Psylocke and Revanche Resolved)

What’s Covered?

X-Men Volume 2, # 31 - 35 (April - Aug '94). What if Volume 2 # 60


  • The Psylocke/Revanche confusion is finally resolved.

  • Gambit and Sabretooth spend time in Paris via a flashback.

  • Beast and Gambit learn what Mr. Sinister has been up with the Legacy Virus.

  • Jean and Scott run into a dangerous mutant on their honeymoon.


Roster Watch


Synopsis


X-Men # 31 - 32: The Betsy Saga

Writer - Fabian Nicieza

Pencils - Andy Kubert

I'm gonna come right out and say that this whole Betsy/Psylocke/Kwannon/Revanche storyline is overly and unnecessarily complicated. I've gone back and re-read all of the Revanche stories and I think I might understand it as well as I'm gonna, but that's not saying much.


So we'll start with some backstory. Before Betsy came into the picture, Kwannon was a Japanese ninja assassin working for the Mandarin. She and Matsu'o Tsuruyaba were lovers, but Matsu'o was the leader of the hand who was at odds with the Mandarin. These two star crossed lovers were forced to fight, which ended with Kwannon being pushed off a cliff...her life hanging in the balance.


At the same time, Betsy Braddock had popped out of the Siege Perilous as a powerful psychic but without any memories or identity (as covered in UXM # 256 - 258). In an effort to save Kwannon's life, Matsu'o brought Kwannon's broken body to Spiral and the Body Shoppe. Unsurprisingly, Spiral couldn't be trusted. Spiral fixed Kwannon's body (the hot asian assasin body we have come to know as Psylocke) but she merged both Kwannon and Betsy's mind/personality into both bodies. So the original Betsy-body stayed with Matsu'o and was primarily presenting the Kwannon persona, until she became aware of her Betsy memories, at which time she changed her name to Revanche and hunted down her counterpart, Psylocke. This is the best I can do, folks! This should bring us up to more modern days with Revanche joining the X-Men and both ladies are confused.


While a lot of the backstory from above comes out in these two issues, I'll fill you in on what happened in the more "present" timeline. Revanche realizes that her eyes are still the bionic ones given to her by Mojo (From all the way back in New Mutants Annual # 2, Betsy's first appearance in the X-men/American publishing Universe) so she decides to cut them out of her head (luckily, this happens off panel)gives them to Psylocke, and flees to visit Matsuo. Meanwhile, the Legacy Virus is raging out of control with Revanches pshycic powers rising to unimaginable levels, including connecting across the world to Psylocke. Matsuo and Revanche (Kwannon?) spend a few romantic moments together before Matsuo does her the service of ending her pain with his blade in a surprisingly emotional moment.


Meanwhile, Spiral is attacking Psylocke (and Archangel, who she seems to be spending more and more time with) before Beast, Gambit, and Rogue show up to help. At the very end, Psylocke temporarily leaves the X-Men to seek out Matsuo where Matsuo does some sort of psychic thing to pull all of the Kwannon out of Psylocke.


#33: Gambit in Paris

Writer - Fabian Nicieza

Pencils - Andy Kubert

This is one of those one and done filler issues. Basically we fill in the hinted connection between Sabretooth and Gambit with Sabretooth narrating to Rogue, who is increasingly acting weird towards Gambit.


To make a long story short, Gambit manipulated a young woman by pretending to love her and ended up getting her killed, all in the name of "a job" for his fellow Thief Guild mates.


# 34: What's Sinister up to?

Writer - Fabian Nicieza

Pencils - Andy Kubert

Beast, who is leading the X-Men Blue team while Scott is on his honeymoon (and spending a decade in the future) decides that he is getting fed up not being able to cure the Legacy Virus and it's time to see what type of progress Mr. Sinister has been making. Beast, Gambit, and Psylocke go to Nebraska (the orphanage where Scott was raised) and instead of finding Sinister, they run into a re-birthed Riptide (first introduced during the Mutant Massacre) and Threnody (last seen in X-Men # 27). After an obligatory fight scene, Beast gets his hands on some genetic material that may be helpful. I'm not sure if this actually gets referenced again or not.


# 35: Scott and Jean are back

Writer - Fabian Nicieza

Pencils - Liam Sharpe

Scott and Jean are back after spending 12 years in the future (their minds, not their bodies in the Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix). They run into a mutant named Sunset Grace who is inadvertently destroying reality, but they are able to help her out.


What If # 60: What is Scott and Jean never got married?

This is a fun "What If" issue that walks us through 3 scenarios of what could have happened if things went differently with Scott and Jean.


In the first story, Jean and Scott get married right away. They retire from the team, pushing the rest of the original X-Men (Iceman, Beast, Angel) to move on to normal lives as well. Professor Xavier creates a new team of Storm, Colossus, Northstar & Aurora (the mutant twins from Alpha Flight), and Catseye (one of the Hellions). This team is under prepared for Krokoa and die there (a different version of Giant Sized X-men.)


In a second scenario, Jean chooses Warren over Scott. This leads Scott to become so bitter that he ruins various missions and ultimately finds himself in league with the Brotherhood.


The final scenario shows us what happened if Jean choose Wolverine. This ultimately ends with the Dark Phoenix saga going out of control. In the Dark Phoenix Saga, it was Jean and Scott's healthy rapport that helped her snap out of the Hellfire Club's control and later overpower the Phoenix itself. With Wolverine's support being less healthy and more overly emotional, Jean isn't able to control herself and pretty much everyone dies.



My Connections


Throughout these issues, there are a lot of veiled references to Jubilee needing more support, there not being any students in the mansion, again, etc. It's clear that they are laying the groundwork for Generation X, which is pretty exciting to me. I have personally never read a single issue of Generation X and don't have any connections with any of those characters, so I love that we are gearing up for something new. We haven't really had a new comic launched since 1991 and even then all of the characters used had been introduced elsewhere. Let's go, Generation X!


I also wanted to state that I have dabbled a little bit with current X-Men comics. To be transparent, I've stopped myself a few months into the Krokoan era, but I did read all 6 issues of the brand new Fallen Angels Limited Series which features Kwannon (not Betsy, just Kwannon, in the Psylocke body). In that comic she talks a lot about how angry she is at Betsy for stealing her life and her body, so this comic really hit a bit harder after getting to know Kwannon recently. I'm sure most people read this in the 90's and didn't feel sympathetic towards Kwannon, so I was happy to have this extra perspective.


One more thing. Why...the FUCK...aren't professionals trying to cure the Legacy Virus? I get that people like Beast, Moira, and Professor X are "smart," but are they experts in Infectious Diseases? It's no wonder they haven't found a damn cure if you only have like 3 random pseudo scientists working on it and 1 crazed villain doing who knows what with it. Ok, rant over.


Creators


I think Fabian Nicieza is struggling a bit here. To be completely honest, I think he failed to read the Uncanny storylines before introducing Revanche earlier in the run, messed things up in a way that didn't make sense, then needed to run these stories to try to retcon his retcon. It just comes across messy and unnecessarily over complicated.


#31 is the first issue ever to use digital coloring, which I can immediately notice a different. I can just imagine how much this made things not only easier for inkers, but better for the overall production value.


Character Beats


With Scott on his honeymoon and Storm leading the Gold team, Beast steps into the leadership role. I guess this makes sense with him being a veteran and typically shown competent, but I hope this doesn't last for too long.


The Betsy/Psylocke/Kwannon/Revanche story is finally put to bed with answers somewhat given and Revanche dead. At the end, Matsuo apparently removes all of the Kwannon from Psylocke, but I'm intererested to see what this does to the character. Is she going to be less of a flirt moving forward, acting more like the assertive but more reserved British lady that we got under Claremont? Will she still have her ninja skills (I'm assuming she has to). I'm wondering if this change will have any teeth. This also leaves me wondering if Matsuo is being reformed...because I was almost starting to feel sympathetic for him. Most likely, we won't see him again until the next time he gets a limb cut off by Wolverine.


We don't get a lot of her, but we certainly see Rogue acting different since she secretly merged with Bella Donna in the Gambit solo story. The Sabretooth story from Issue # 33 is certainly going to make her question Gambit even more, so where is this going? Are they going to break up? Will we finally learn more about Gambit's backstory, specifically the traitor storyline with Bishop? I'm keeping a close eye on this to see what happens next.


Finally, this is the second story arc in a row where Psylocke spends time with Warren. He was the only person she told about the bionic eyes, so I'm wondering if these two are heading into a more romantic relationship. It's interesting that they both struggle with villain manipulation as wells as signficiant and permanent body image issues.


My Rating - 5/10


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