Psylocke is a popular member of the X-Men (and soon to be one of the Uncanny X-Force) and she’s even survived death once or twice (it’s best not to count how many times one has died when it comes to Marvel’s Morbid Mutants), but I’m still stuck on the Psylocke from–wait for it–my child hood.
In Uncanny X-Men #213, Psylocke is left all alone at the X-Mansion and who should come calling but Sabretooth!
My Betsy Braddock is drawn by Alan Davis (who agrees with me) and still totally British. There’s a fun thread about the Asian versus British debate on Comicvine with some great scans of Betsy over the years. Seriously, giving a natural blonde woman purple hair is one thing, but to transform her into another race using mystical science from dudes who employ ninjas as mob muscle is a whole ‘nother thing. Seems like these kinds of convolutions only happen in comics.
I prefer the Psylocke who is recognizable as the sister of Captain Britain, the supermodel, the woman wanting to prove her mettle. I find it rather offensive that comics fans of Asian descent don’t have a unique character from their heritage, but have had their culture appropriated for a blonde Brit. Psychic ninja Psylocke seems to have less characterization and more tokenism attached to her. She’s a walking stereotype in an outfit stolen from Elektra (I know purple is different than red, but you know what I mean). The whole time Betsy joined the X-Men her inner monologues had to do with being a warrior, finding a way to show everyone the tiger within. What happens? She wears body armor for awhile, bodyswaps with some other purple haired lady and has to run around in a thong. Sure, that’s the way to get folks to take you seriously. The Crimson Dawn tattoo around her eye didn’t help either.
Doug Ramsey (Cypher) and Betsy had a cute flirtation. Then he died.
What’s done is done. The nimbo look seems here to stay and British Psylocke has bit the dust (quite literally). Unless some amazing artist creates a more marketable design, Psylocke is stuck in her current fashion faux pas.
Even John Allison celebrates the 80s X-Women.
Of course, the flouncy sleeves don’t have many fans. I get that. And how do her tights stay on when she has a flesh baring anti-belt? And seriously, does she have ribbons hanging from her wrists? *Nods sagaciously* Yes. I know. And Chris Bachalo has found a way to make the thongkini actually look a bit menacing. One fan is a serious detractor of all of her costumes.
This is the comic that made my mother think that “X-Men” stood for transgendered folks.
But this is the Psylocke I love. The pink costume is sweet and endearing. It’s a bit naive and for that I will defend it forever. Now you focus the totality of your telepathic powers and let me know what Psylocke you love in the comments!