Follow TV Tropes

Following

Characters / Marvel Comics: Psylocke

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/uncanny_x_men_vol_1_509_textless.jpg
After and before the body swap.
This was never neat between us, Betsy Braddock. It isn't to be solved. It merely is.
— Kwannon to Betsy, Excalibur (2019) #19
Advertisement:

Psylocke is the code-name of two characters in Marvel Comics: Betsy Braddock and Kwannon.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Braddock was created by Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe. In the UK, she was first introduced in Captain Britain Vol. 1 #8 (1976), published by Marvel UK. In the United States, she was introduced in New Mutants Annual #2 (1986), where she started calling herself "Psylocke."

After that, she joined the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #213 and became a long-standing member. However, after a trip through the Siege Perilous, Betsy was taken by the Hand and brainwashed into becoming an assassin named "Lady Mandarin" and her body was changed into that of an Asian woman. Later on, it turned out that her body was actually switched with the body of a woman named Kwannon.

Kwannon, in Betsy's body, started calling herself "Revanche" and originally claimed that Betsy was an imposter, before the entire situation was cleared up. Kwannon, however, ended up dying of the Legacy Virus, meaning that Betsy was stuck in her body.

Advertisement:

Until, that is, Hunt for Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor. After having her life essence drained by the mysterious villain Sapphire Styx, Betsy used her considering psychic abilities to reconstruct a body for herself based on her original body. And Kwannon's body, it turned out, was inhabited again by Kwannon, undoing the bodyswap after 29 years.

After the Soft Reboot House of X and Powers of X, Betsy became the lead of Excalibur (2019) and took on the role of Captain Britain, while Kwannon decided to take name Psylocke and used it as the leader of the Fallen Angels and the Hellions.


Advertisement:

Psylocke

    Betsy Braddock 

Elizabeth "Betsy" Braddock / Psylocke / Captain Britain

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/betsybraddock.jpg
All the looks of Elizabeth "Betsy" Braddock. Artwork by Russell Dauterman.

Notable Aliases: Betts, Bets, Lady Mandarin, Lady Briton, Death, Elisabeth/Elisabetta

Nationality: English, American, Krakoan

Species: Half-Otherworlder, half-human mutant

First Appearance: Captain Britain #8 (December, 1976) note ; Captain Britain Vol 2 #12 (December, 1985) note ; New Mutants Annual #2 (October, 1986) note ; Uncanny X-Men #213 (January, 1987) note 

It's a fresh start. No one can promise it won't hurt like hell... but I've certainly had enough of my own. This one is yours.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Braddock is a Marvel Comics character associated with the superhero team the X-Men. She's one of the most famous British superheroes in the Marvel Universe. She was created by Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe. In the UK, she was first introduced in Captain Britain Vol. 1 #8 (1976), published by Marvel UK. In the United States, she was introduced in New Mutants Annual #2 (1986). She has been known as Psylocke, Lady Mandarin, Lady Briton, and, her current role, Captain Britain.

Betsy is a pilot, secret agent, supermodel, and the twin sister of Captain Britain. She developed Psychic Powers and spent some years as a supporting character in her brother's book, then had a brief but disastrous go at filling in for him and was blinded by his nemesis Slaymaster. After that, she tried to quit superheroing but was kidnapped by Mojo and rescued by the New Mutants. She was initially a character with mediocre fighting skills but excellent telepathy. She was later kidnapped in China and turned into a McNinja, getting magically body-merged with the mutant assassin Kwannon (resulting in the assassin looking like Psylocke, and Psylocke looking Asian but with her face still recognizable) and picking up super martial arts skills. She even got a psychic knife, which after she switched her powers from telepathy to telekinesis turned into a telekinetic katana.

In the aftermath of Hunt for Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor, Betsy regained her original British body after causing the psychic vampire Sapphire Styx to explode using the power of her victims' souls, which also brought Kwannon back to life.

As part of the Dawn of X initiative, Betsy took on the identity of Captain Britain, while Kwannon began using the Psylocke name.


Betsy Braddock has appeared in:

Main Comics appearances

  • Psylocke and Archangel: Crimson Dawn (1997)
  • X-Men: Sword of the Braddocks (2009)
  • Psylocke (2010)

Other comics:

Animated series

Film

Video Games


Betsy Braddock provides examples of:

  • '90s Anti-Hero: Her body switch turned her into this: an exaggeratedly sexy kunoichi who wielded an impossibly cool psionic shiv and loved to beat people down.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: At first her psychic blade was only able to fry the brains of her foes, not any matter. After a Re-Power that made her powers telekinetic instead of telepathic, it went from a wedge-shaped field of Kirby Dots to a detailed energy katana that could function as a blade that could slice through anything (yet still have its stunning/psychic effects if it hit flesh and blood).
  • Action Survivor: In her early appearances, before she had powers, when she was victimized by her brother's enemies.
  • Alliterative Name: Betsy Braddock.
  • Affirmative Action Legacy: Psylocke is a rather complicated example:
    • Before she had a "Freaky Friday" Flip with Kwannon, Betsy briefly became the second Captain Britain, replacing her brother Brian. Later, in 2018 when the "Freaky Friday" Flip with Kwannon was reverted, she once again took the identity of Captain Britain, and this time officially, as she was granted the Amulet of Right that powered her brother, which leads the new iteration of Excalibur. All in all, this leads to her being a bisexual woman taking the mantle of a heterosexual man. For added bonus, she's a mutant, and Brian is a human.
    • Her original Psylocke identity at the same time is taken up by Kwannon. This effectively makes her a true Japanese woman taking the identity of a hero who was originally white, and not culturally Japanese. (Perhaps worth noting is the fact that, when Betsy was originally "Freaky Friday" Flip-ed, she was explicitly Chinese instead of Japanese, which was a later Retcon. Making Kwannon a Japanese successor to a White/Chinese/Japanese–but–culturally–British hero.)
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Literally. A team-up with The Incredible Hercules revealed that during an earlier team-up, the two of them had flirted back-and-forth and then slept together. Before parting, Hercules told her that her beauty was "unforgettable"... and yet, back in the present, he didn't seem to remember her at all. Psylocke punches him in the jaw.
  • Animal Motifs: Butterflies, a symbol of her telepathy. They represent her gracefulness and change, what with switching bodies, becoming Captain Britain, gaining new psychic powers, and joining the X-Men.
  • Anti-Hero: Initially a pragmatic Type II during her British days, then after the body swap she became a darker Type IV. Over time she reverted to a lighter hue, even after joining the Black Ops squad Uncanny X-Force. Now she's somewhere in a complicated "Type IV trying to be Type II" stage.
  • Arch-Enemy: Psylocke has the Shadow King and Matsu'o Tsurayaba. The Shadow King temporarily destroyed her psychic form, nearly killing her, temporarily forced Psylocke to sacrifice her telepathic powers to keep him imprisoned, and once tried to make her his queen.
  • Ascended Extra: She was initially a supporting character in her brother's comics. She quickly rose to fame and eventually become much more famous than he.
  • The Atoner: In Uncanny X-Force Vol. 2, she is trying not to kill anymore, since it has become like an addiction to her.
  • Attempted Rape: Kaptain Briton, her brother's evil alternate reality counterpart, attempted to rape her. Fortunately for her, she discovered her previously minimal psychic powers were considerably more formidable than she believed at that point. Unfortunately for her brother Captain Britain, who was trapped in the alternate universe Kaptain Briton came from, he too faced this at the hands of villainess Sat-Yr-9, just without any ability to fight them off, adding to his growing list of never-mentioned-after rape experiences.
  • Back from the Dead: She was once fatally stabbed by the man known as Vargas while protecting Rogue and Beast, who were badly beaten by the villain. One year after her death, Betsy awoke where she had died, unaware of how she had survived, and was soon reunited with the X-Men. It is later revealed that the responsible party was her elder brother Jamie, who had Reality Warper powers.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Her costume from the Exiles comics.
  • Beta Couple: For several years, she and Archangel were the beta couple to Cyclops and Jean Grey. Then Thunderbird III came along.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Was Veronica to Jean's Betty in the early days of the Blue and Gold team split, where she tried to start an affair with Cyclops, acting overtly seductive towards him, such as performing a Sexy Surfacing Shot right in front of him and acting as The Tease. The whole story was eventually dropped with no real explanation. Given that many of Jim Lee's personal comics outside of X-Men contain cold and remote but incredibly hot ninja-babes who wear ass-floss uniforms, it's possible that this is something he interjected into the storyline himself after Claremont left.
    • She was also the Archie in the Love Triangle between her, Warren (Betty) and Fantomex (Veronica), in Uncanny X-Force. She ultimately didn't end up with either.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Had tons of aggressive sexual tension with the Age of Apocalypse version of Sabretooth (who was much nicer than the one in her universe) during Exiles. It eventually culminating in them sleeping together and becoming a couple briefly, but he got Put on a Bus soon after and she moved on.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Betsy Braddock is the daughter of a British lord and is a graceful Head-Turning Beauty who had a modeling career for a time.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Her psychic knife manifests in this style.
  • Blind Seer: Kind of. After she lost her eyes, she could use her psychic powers to see through the eyes of everyone around her. She also occasionally saw the future.
  • Blood Knight: And in denial about it, in the 2010s X-Force series. She considers herself an addict (much like her alcoholic brother). Her addiction is killing people.
  • Blue Blood: The Braddocks are a high-class family, and she and Captain Britain have hereditary membership in the Hellfire Club's London branch.
  • Blue Is Heroic: Her leotard was sometimes colored blue.
  • Boobs-and-Butt Pose: So common in the 90s and early 2000s that she illustrates the trope page, and many artists and fans actually call this the "Psylocke Pose".
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: Betsy is a borderline example; while she has martial arts skills in addition to her Psychic Powers, and has the ability to use her powers and martial skills in unique ways, this was granted to her in an impossible "Freaky Friday" Flip fashion, and not something she learned herself. Kwannon, the woman whose body she inhabits, is this trope played straight, as a low-level empath who trained to become an expert assassin.
  • Braids of Action: She often wears her hair in a braided ponytail when going into a fight. One issue in the Savage Lands shows her plaiting her hair in preparation for battle while calmly discussing the plan with an ally.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: More than once.
    • The first time was when she was captured by the Hand, body-swapped/merged with Kwannon, and programmed to serve as Lady Mandarin. That time the brainwashing was broken by her using her psychic knife on Wolverine, who at the time was in the grip of a hallucinatory psychotic break; the resultant double dose of bonus crazy was enough to override her brainwashing.
    • A more insidious example came from the Crimson Dawn, which was said to have stained her soul. The full implications were never completely explained, but she was generally reckoned to have become more ruthless and violent under its influence.
    • And again by Archangel, after he took his place as the heir of Apocalypse and transformed her into his Horseman of Death. This took direct intervention by Jean Grey to override.
  • Breakout Character: From initially being a supporting character in Captain Britain's books to being far more popular than her brother ever was.
  • Break the Cutie: Uncanny X-Force Vol. 1 is a never ending Trauma Conga Line for her.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Sometimes with Captain Britain, such as when she's with Excalibur and Exiles. In their civilian life, they are also very close.
  • Bulletproof Vest: One of the few non-invulnerable heroes to have the good sense to procure adequate body armor. Until she became a stripperific ninja, of course.
  • Butterfly of Transformation: Psylocke's telepathy is symbolized by butterflies, and her character has undergone tremendous change, having switched bodies, become Captain Britain (twice), gained new Psychic Powers (twice), and joined the X-Men. Her successor Kwannon inherited the butterfly motif via a Retcon; she views her changes post-revival as a metaphorical rebirth, fitting the sub-trope of Butterfly of Death and Rebirth.
  • Cain and Abel: Psylocke and Captain Britain are twin superheroes, and their older brother Jamie Braddock is an insane Reality Warper who flip-flops between loving sibling and insane supervillain. Eventually, Psylocke mind-controls Captain Britain into killing Jamie, in order to prevent his future self from destroying the multiverse. This rather sours their family relationship.
  • Captain Geographic: When she briefly becomes Captain Britain and Lady Briton.
  • Captain Superhero: As Captain Britain.
  • Character Development: Originally, she was the farthest thing from an Action Hero one could get, preferring to use Jedi Mind Tricks and sneaky telepathic tactics as opposed to outright conflict. After the Freaky Friday that gave her martial arts skills, she went from Squishy Wizard to Bare-Fisted Monk, putting herself In Harm's Way more often than not, and sometimes (Depending on the Writer) suffering humiliating defeats as a result of it.
  • The Chick: In Uncanny X-Force Vol. 1, of Lady of War variety.
  • Cleavage Window: Her Captain Britain/Lady Briton costume.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: She keeps the costume that belonged to Kaptain Briton to briefly becomes Captain Britain. Later in Uncanny X-Force, she also briefly wears the costume again and assumed the alias Lady Briton. The costume increases her physical attributes to superhuman level, as well as grants the ability to fly and to create a personal force field.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Betsy Braddock gets quite a lot of powers after she becomes the next Captain Britain. The original is her twin brother Brian, who unlike her, isn't a mutant, and thus had no innate superpowers before being empowered by the Amulet of Right to become a Superman-esque Flying Brick. Betsy on the other hand, does, and she retains them fully. Add the magical Amulet on top of that, and you've essentially got someone who has two distinct power sources at once with her innate mutant abilities and her magical empowerment. For the former, she's the third most powerful telepath in the world, can create powerful forcefields, psionic weapons, read minds, control minds, and use a variety of special TK-based abilities. For the latter, she can fly at vastly superhuman speeds, benchpress over 500 tons, is practically Nigh Invulnerable to most forms of normal damage, and can manipulate a nigh-indestructible forcefield for both offense and defense.
  • Cool Big Sis: She often acts as a mature, level-headed figure to the younger X-Men.
  • Cool Sword: Her psi-knife later morphed into a telekinetic katana, and now takes the form of a telekinetic longsword/bastard sword.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: On the receiving end of this when Slaymaster injured her eyes and later when Vargas once killed her.
  • Cursed With Awesome: In Uncanny X-Force Vol. 1, she "sacrificed" her ability to feel sorrow to save Fantomex. She even points out she never would've had what it takes to save the multiverse without making the deal.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Her eyes are occasionally drawn as purple to match with her hair.
  • Death Is Cheap:
  • Destructive Romance: Her romance with Fantomex was very unhealthy for both of them and the two ended it on very bad terms.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: She had a tendency to take out enemies well above her weight class left and right in the Exiles book.
  • Dirty Business: Often serves as one of the X-Men's most prominent anti-heroes, second only to Wolverine in terms of heroic pragmatism. This does not always win her friends, and in fact estranged her from her brother, but she can still manage to be genial enough to get along with her more pure-hearted teammates, particularly because she rarely does any killing in front of them.
  • Discard and Draw: Betsy went from telepathic to telekinetic and then to shadow powers. Her powers seem to be altered fairly frequently, never having the full range of Psychic Powers but instead being really good at whichever psychic ability she enjoys at the moment. Recently, she acquired the Amulet of Right the artifact that powers her twin brother Brian to become Captain Britain. This has granted her flight at incredible speeds, super strength that allows her to bench press over 500 tons, invulnerability to most forms of damage and a near-indestructible force field.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the Uncanny X-Force time travel arc. The discovery that in the future she is a totalitarian dictator leads her to attempt seppuku; luckily, she survives.
  • Dye Hard: An In-Universe example, her purple hair is so iconic, few people even know she's actually a natural blonde, just like her brother. After the "Freaky Friday" Flip it seems to be her natural color. Some adaptations even have it as natural purple.
  • Electronic Eyes: After she was blinded by Slaymaster, Spiral replaced her eyes with electronic ones that instantly adjusted to light and broadcast her adventures back to Mojoworld. Later, when Kwannon, in Psylocke's original body, was dying of the Legacy Virus, she sent the electronic eyes to Psylocke.
  • Exposed to the Elements: In a '90s issue, the team goes to Siberia. Psylocke, whose costume exposes most of her arms and legs, adapts by... putting on a short jacket, which she doesn't even bother to close.
  • Eye Scream: Early in Psylocke's superhero career, she filled in for her brother as Captain Britain. The tenure didn't go too well and during a fight with her brother's arch-enemy Slaymaster, he stabbed out both her eyes and then proceeded to beat her nearly to death. Mojo later gave her cybernetic eyes, which transmitted what she saw back to him, letting him turn the X-Men's adventures into TV shows, giving him godlike status in his home realm. She kept these eyes for the remainder of her time in her original body, keeping their function a secret.
  • Fantastic Light Source: Her telekinetic blade actually glows, so she's used it as a light source on occasion.
  • Fashion Model: She used to be a supermodel before becoming a superheroine. She even posed nude (albeit tastefully, with Toplessness from the Back and a Modesty Bedsheet) for Colossus so he could draw her portrait.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Often, most commonly regarding the boots and ribbons (even in the movie). Standouts include her as a Horseman of Apocalypse and ''X-Men: The End''.
  • Flexibility Equals Sex Ability: Increased flexibility was one of the biggest boons Betsy got after the "Freaky Friday" Flip, which was used as much for acrobatic combat maneuvers as it was for Fanservice, with her doing her often several bending poses or doing stretches.
  • Flying Brick: Granted by Captain Britain/Lady Briton costume.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Psylocke and Kwannon, in what used to be one of the few permanent examples. It wasn't a clean switch, however. Psylocke received Kwannon's martial arts training while Kwannon's inferior telepathy got a power upgrade. Both ladies retained their original abilities, and Psylocke's face was still recognizable (even though she was later confirmed to now be in Kwannon's body). Essentially each of them still had a little bit of their old bodies in their new ones, and both could use Kwannon's signature "psychic knife". Kwannon eventually joined the X-Men herself as Revanche and remained on the team until her death from the Legacy Virus.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: In Uncanny X-Men #467, the Shi'ar Death Commandos launch a surprise attack at the Grey's house, and Nightcrawler teleports to Betsy's room to teleport her to the fight just as she's stepped out of the shower and is only wearing a bathrobe. Betsy jumps into the fight without a second thought, even after her robe comes undone (Some convenient Scenery Censor and Hand-or-Object Underwear preserves her modesty).
  • The Gentleman or the Scoundrel: In Uncanny X-Force, Betsy was in this type of Love Triangle, having to choose between the gentleman Archangel (an honorable, decent, superhero and Honest Corporate Executive) and the scoundrel Fantomex (a roguish, mysterious, master thief and mercenary). She started the series having reignited her long-term relationship with Archangel, but was aware that his Superpowered Evil Side might become a problem; eventually it took over and she was forced to kill him. She then dated Fantomex for a while, but eventually realized that he was manipulating her, and dumped him. After which he, too, turned evil until she gave him a psychic lobotomy.
  • Giant Poofy Sleeves: Her very first superhero costume, as the second Captain Britain, had these. That motif carried over into her first X-Men costume before she dropped it in favor of a suit of body armor.
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple: A former supermodel with butterfly motifs, and is often depicted as an elegant Lady of War in a purple leotard. Even before that, she favoured a mix of purple and pink. Even her powers even manifest as purple.
  • Gratuitous Ninja: Psylocke is practically the Anthropomorphic Personification of this trope. As the equally British sister of Captain Britain, she was moderately attractive and loved by fans... but when she was put into a female ninja's body, her attractiveness and popularity went through the roof, as she became the team's Ms. Fanservice and resident McNinja.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Betsy is a human-Otherworlder hybrid since her father is from that dimension while her mother is a normal human.
  • In Harm's Way: Kwannon's telepathy was much weaker than Psylocke's, so she developed the psychic knife was a way of focusing her power in combat. Betsy herself never had need of such a thing before the body switch, as she was perfectly capable of frying people's brains from a distance. But after the switch, the knife was one of the skills she inherited from Kwannon and she grew to like it. It's later established as a more focused form of her powers, allowing them to carry more impact/damage more resilient opponents, capable of breaking X-Man's control over Archangel. Considering that X-Man is more or less indisputably the most powerful pure psychic in the X-Men's corner of the Marvel Universe (and arguably the strongest outright that isn't a Cosmic Entity or Franklin Richards on a good day), and he was at the very peak of his power, this takes some doing.
  • In-Series Nickname: Psylocke's real name is Elizabeth, but she's much more commonly referred to as Betsy.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: For a long time, she manifested a telekinetic katana blade composed of raw psi-energy at will, which at its lowest intensity, functions to disrupt neural pathways and at its highest level, her katanas can slice an armored opponent and cut through the armor, but leave the attacker physically unharmed. In a straighter play of the trope, her telekinetic katana came to replace her telepathic knife (although forcefully, as she had lost her telepathy by that time). These days, it's now a telekinetic longsword.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Killing her brother Brian's evil twin probably doesn't count — by the time she finished him off, she knew it wasn't him. Killing her other brother Jamie (in order to stop his future self from becoming a multiverse-conquering demon) definitely counts, though, as does performing a complete mindwipe (and therefore effective execution) on Archangel. She also killed Matsu'o Tsurayaba, who she didn't love but her body's previous owner probably did.
  • Knightly Sword and Shield: When Betsy adopts her new identity as Captain Britain, she begins producing her psychic blade a sword more similar to a European knight's sword in its fashion, often paired with a psychic shield.
  • Lady of War: She's stoic and ruthless, and her mastery in martial arts gives her movements a sense of smooth, graceful lethality. Her Psychic Powers tend to manifest as butterfly motifs, and allow her to form an elegant telekinetic katana/longsword as her weapon.
  • Laser Blade: Her psychic blade is a weapon made out of pure mental energy that she can manifest in her hand at will. It's not actually capable of physically cutting material, it instead used to attack the mind of her targets directly, exciting the pain receptors of her targets, while not actually physically damaging them.
  • Legacy Character: As of Dawn of X, Betsy is no longer Psylocke, instead becoming Captain Britain again. Instead, her former body Kwannon will be taking on the identity (and the ninja bathing suit), thus making her Psylocke II.
  • Leotard of Power: The ninja outfit.
  • The Lost Lenore: Almost completely forgotten since she moved to the X-Men, but Psylocke spent some time traumatized by the death of her fiance Tom Lennox.
  • Luckily, My Powers Will Protect Me: Betsy would often refer to her psychic blade as "the focused totality of my psionic powers".
  • McNinja: She is a British ninja.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: She once remarked to Havok that she made every effort not to read others' minds... the problem was shutting out the psychic background noise.
  • Made of Iron: Psylocke has bounced back from getting clawed by both Wolverine and Sabretooth, smacked around by Rogue and Juggernaut, blasted by Magneto, had her liver and kidneys ruptured, fell off a building with only Wolverine and his Unbreakable Bones to "cushion" her fall and even survived her own attempt at Seppuku.
  • Male Gaze: She gets this a LOT, probably one of the major characters in the Marvel universe. It is a rare issue that she does not show her butt to the reader.
  • Mercy Killing: She gave this to Matsu'o Tsurayaba, the person who body switched her, at his request. For context: See, he also made the mistake of poisoning the woman Wolverine loved. So every year, on the anniversary of her death, Wolverine returned and cut off part of his body. At the end, he looked like this.
  • Mind over Matter: She can focus her full power into a blade that can cut through anything, and she can choose to fry the brain of a living victim without cutting them physically (even when her telepathy is explicitly down).
  • Mind Rape: This is how she killed the evil Kaptain Briton. Later, she also inflicted this on Brian in Uncanny X-Force to kill their older brother, Jamie, because Brian hesitated to do it. At the time, Jamie was manipulated by Horoam'ce, the devil goat who wanted to get into the Starlight Citadel and seize the Multiverse.
  • Most Common Superpower: Subverted; she's not the best endowed of the X-girls. Probably the most revealing, though, due to her "ninja" outfit.
  • Ms. Exposition: Betsy is infamous for over-describing her powers, usually using a variant of "the focused totality of my telepathic powers".
  • Ms. Fanservice: Betsy has been this both before and after her "Freaky Friday" Flip, having always been a Head-Turning Beauty who was a former supermodel. Not so much with the Most Common Superpower, but the costume she was stuck in for twenty years was pretty Stripperiffic, giving her what might possibly be the worst wedgie in the entire Marvel Universe. Not forget that she is the poster trope of the Boobs-and-Butt Pose.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Betsy has an athletic, but slim physique, yet once carried a 90-pound flail with one hand and a baby in the other. She also once kicked Sabretooth in the gut so hard his feet left the ground.
  • Multicolored Hair: When she was Captain Britain. Just look. Averted as Lady Briton, she keeps her purple hair.
  • Naked on Revival:
    • When Madelyne Pryor revives Kwannon's original corpse as Revanche, she comes back without any clothes on.
    • Played With when Betsy and Kwannon are separated, Betsy is having an Out-of-Clothes Experience inside her head, but when she recreates her body, it's fully clothed.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: In Uncanny X-Force Vol. 1, she sacrificed her ability to feel sorrow in order to save Fantomex.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Psylocke is a multi-millionaire heiress but risks her life to fight criminals and supervillains all the same.
  • One Head Taller: Despite being a Statuesque Stunner at 5'11, she still finds herself one head shorter in a relationship with Age of Apocalypse Sabretooth (6'6). Of course, given it's Creed, you're considered lucky when you reach as high as his collarbone.
  • Parental Abandonment: Both of her parents are dead.
  • Precocious Crush: Cypher of New Mutants nursed an unrequited crush on Betsy.
  • Pretty Butterflies: Betsy's telepathic powers are often represented as butterfly motifs, and she's a Lady of War who fights with graceful movements. She was also delicate prior to switching bodies with Kwannon.
  • Powers as Programs: The X-Men's most egregious example. From her inception, no one seems able to decide what powers she should have.
    • She started off with telepathy and precognition, and over time focused on the first until the latter was reduced to a sporadic gift. This was her specialty and only power in her Captain Britain days, to the point of Crippling Overspecialization.
    • After her "Freaky Friday" Flip, Betsy lost half of her telepathy to Kwannon, but in turn learned to focus her remnant half into a "psychic knife", and a near-death experience with the Crimson Dawn left her with the ability to teleport through shadows in addition to that. Kwannon's death gave her back the lost half of telepathic power.
    • Then she lost all her powers during a fight with the Shadow King. However, after Jean Grey contacted her mind to try to help her against him, Betsy gained a new psychic power from Jean, albeit one she had never had, telekinesis. She now manifested a full "psychic katana" made of physical energy instead of her telepathic knife.
    • Then Betsy died and came back, which gave her psychic immunity aside from telekinesis. This stuck for a time, but...
    • ...then, after destroying her zombified original body, her telepathy was somehow fully restored, making her a telepath/telekinetic on the vein of Jean herself (although she lost the mentioned immunity). With the increase of her power, she now can create a variety of weapons out of psionic energy, like morning stars, swords, knives and bows.
  • Psychic Powers: The type and level vary wildly over the years, as explained above. Sometimes telepathic, sometimes telekinetic, seldom but sometimes both at once; sometimes just enough give a little edge to a mostly Badass Normal ninja, sometimes Phoenix-grade.
  • Purple Is Powerful: She dyed her hair purple and most of her costumes are purple-colored. Her psychic powers also are manifested as purple.
  • Race Lift:
    • Justified due to her "Freaky Friday" Flip with Kwannon. She turns from British Caucasian girl to Asian. Inverted with Hunt for Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor where Betsy rebuilds her original body from the remains of the psychic vampire Sapphire Styx.
    • In X-Men: Apocalypse, Betsy is depicted as an Asian-American (Olivia Munn) woman and her being a white woman who swapped bodies with a Japanese woman is Adapted Out.
  • Reimagining the Artifact: Psylocke had one of the messiest backstories in comic books, having had a "Freaky Friday" Flip with Asian assassin Kwannon that turned Betsy from a Caucasian Brit to a very sexualized Asian ninja, while also significantly changing her power set. This made her so popular that the change stuck, with Marvel even forbidding the writers from undoing it, with various Retcons over the years pilling more and more into her backstory, making it even more confusing. It wasn't until 2018 that Marvel decided to undo the change, with Betsy and Kwannon finally becoming separated, with the English Betsy adopting the identity of Captain Britain while Kwannon become Psylocke II with the same iconic look and outfit.
  • Retcon: Originally Betsy's transformation was explained away as Spiral and Mojo altering her with a Magic Plastic Surgery, hence why Wolverine could still recognize her face. It was also implied that her camera eyes were still intact. Fabian Nicieza, however, hadn't known of the explanation and introduced Kwannon, stating that Betsy's body had been swapped with hers. He would then later retcon that explanation, to state that while their bodies were basically swapped, the results were incomplete and both wound up with a bit of each others' powers and features. Also, Kwannon ended up with the camera eyes, and blinded herself by removing them shortly before dying of the Legacy Virus.
  • Retired Badass: Used to be an agent of S.T.R.I.K.E., S.H.I.E.L.D.'s British equivalent.
  • Sex for Solace: After the death of her brother James, she pays a visit to Fantomex in just a robe with this trope in her mind. When he attempts to talk to her, she mutely drops the robe and pulls him for a kiss as the scene ends in a Sexy Discretion Shot. The morning after, she's dispassionately sneaking away while Fantomex vainly attempts to convince her to stay, but she dismisses the previous night as just a fling.
  • Sex Goddess: Both Age of Apocalypse Sabretooth and Fantomex have positively commented on Betsy's sexual prowess after sleeping with her. When Mystique pulled a Bed Trick on Fantomex while taking Betsy's form, he managed to guess it wasn't the real Betsy because she wasn't anywhere near as good.
  • Set Swords to "Stun": Psylocke generates a glowing arm-blade with her Psychic Powers. As such, it can slice through anything but against living opponents, it causes temporary incapacitation. However, it can kill if she puts enough power into it and plunges it directly into your head.
  • Shaping Your Attacks: She can focus her Psychic Powers to create a literal psychic blade, which is described as "The focused totality of her telepathic might".
  • She-Fu: Post "Freaky Friday" Flip, she uses several acrobatic moves while fighting.
  • She's Got Legs: A lot of art of hers likes to focus on her legs, given Iconic Outfit usually leaves them exposes and she's often prone to kicking.
  • Show Some Leg: In Uncanny X-Men #466, to help Rachel sneak out the mansion, Psylocke performs her daily exercises in plain sight of the Sentinels to distract their human pilots.
  • Smug Super: Tends to be extremely condescending.
  • Spider-Sense: She has a precognitive ability that lets her sense when someone close to her is in mortal danger.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: Post "Freaky Friday" Flip, she's able to create a psychic blade by intensely channeling her psionic powers on her hands. The psychic knife manifests as a Blade Below the Shoulder, while the psychic katana manifests as actual holding weapons. After returning to her original body, she produces even more psychic constructs such as a crossbow, a spiked flail or a Knightly Sword and Shield.
  • Spy Catsuit: Some of her costumes had this look, such as the the one she wore during Uncanny X-Force Vol. 2.
  • Statuesque Stunner: She's one of the taller Marvel female characters at 5'11" (she's actually the exact height and weight as Kwannon, the ninja body of Psylocke) and she was a former Fashion Model.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Just like her brother and fellow British superheroine Spitfire.
  • Stripperiffic: The ninja bathing suit. 'Nuff said.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Her ninja self's competence was always heavily Depending on the Writer. Ninjas do evade a lot of attacks, unlike her previous, armor-clad self, plus her psychic blade in combination with her superior telepathy proved often to be a Game-Breaker. However, her newfound martial arts skills meant she now fought in the front line, where she was much more prone to be kicked around (The Worf Effect mentioned below).
  • Stuffed in the Fridge: Initially averted — when her brother's evil dimensional counterpart tried to rape her, she responded by killing him, messily. Then a few issues later, she had her eyes poked out by Slaymaster; much later, she's killed once by Vargas. She got better, thankfully.
  • Soul-Cutting Blade: Her psychic blade is able to attack the very mind of her opponents, causing all sorts of nasty effects, such as disrupting their neurons, inciting their pain receptors, stunning them, or even allowing her to read their minds. At maximum intensity, she can use them to kill but it's seldom used this way.
  • Superpower Lottery: In Excalibur (2019), Betsy gains the power the Amulet of Right that made her brother a Superman-esque Flying Brick, while also retaining her mutant powers. Let it sink in: She's the third most powerful telepath in the world, can create powerful forcefields, psionic weapons, read minds, control minds, and use a variety of special TK-based abilities on top of being able to fly at vastly superhuman speeds, benchpress around 500 tons, is practically Nigh-Invulnerable to most forms of normal damage, and can manipulate a nigh-indestructible forcefield for both offense and defense. She's even more overpowered than her brother!
  • Tamer and Chaster: After the Betsy and Kwannon "Freaky Friday" Flip was undone after many years just before this title, Betsy was heavily desexualized as Captain Britain, since the armor she wears covers a lot of skin. Subverted with Kwannon who inherited the Psylocke name and the infamous Stripperiffic leotard.
  • Thrill Seeker: Has occasionally displayed some action junkie tendencies.
  • Thong of Shielding: Sometimes her costume covers her behind completely and just shows off her thighs. Other times, it could generously be called a g-string. It doesn't help that almost every panel she's in has her striking a pose like something out of a Hip-Hop video.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Possibly an inadvertent subversion — while on paper going from supporting psychic to badass ninja sounds like an upgrade, she actually proved far less effective in ninja mode, losing a large chunk of her super powers, frequently filling in as the Worf of the team, and getting rather brutally eviscerated by Sabretooth, an enemy she had previously been able to defeat by psychic powers alone.
    • Of course, that writer from shortly before her death to many years after her resurrection is the Action Heroine-loving-to-Author Appeal-levels Chris Claremont for quite some time. Since her last resurrection, Psylocke has grown quite a bit in power, so much so that she was described as coming into the Omega Class mutant bracket, namely, the most powerful type of mutant around, the ones whose powers have nigh-infinite potential. Her powers (which now are both telepathic and telekinetic) are now in a league with the likes of Phoenix or Cable, and she's been using them to kick ass, take names, and make a lot of bad guys feel the wrath of her psychic blade. Against opponents who should rightfully be well out of her Super Weight class, she will, as per one of Claremont's favorite Author Catchphrases of late, "find a way to win." Today she is definitely more badass than where she started, even if it wasn't a consistent, steady climb.
    • Excalibur (2019) gives her the biggest upgrade yet: she now wields the Amulet of Right, giving her the powers of Captain Britain, while also retaining all of her mutant abilities, and thus making her an extremely powerful Flying Brick with very potent psionic powers.
  • Touch Telepathy: Stabbing someone's head with her psychic blade allows her to read their minds and in some cases become connected to them.
  • Twin Desynch: In the original Captain Britain series, Betsy and Brian were Half-Identical Twins with matching blonde hair, until Betsy dyed her hair purple and stuck with it. Then she joined the X-Men as Psylocke and came to be better known through her association with them than with Captain Britain, and that was before she became stuck with an Asian body for 30 years real-time. Nowadays, she has her original European appearance back, but her hair is still purple and she has long since surpassed her brother in popularity, to the point that he's now more known through his association with her and X-Men spin-off teams than as a standalone superhero.
  • Twin Telepathy: She and Brian share special bond through her telepathy.
  • Undressing the Unconscious: During one of the New Exiles stories, she ended up getting knocked down and kidnapped by the Bloodforce, who took her to Alexandria. When Betsy next wakes up, she finds that someone took her clothes and dressed her up in a Bedlah Babe outfit. She is not pleased by it.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Psylocke once was fatally stabbed by the man known as Vargas while protecting Rogue and Beast, who were badly beaten by the villain. One year after her death, Betsy awoke where she had died, unaware of how she had survived, and was soon reunited with the X-Men. Much later revealed that the one responsible was her elder brother Jamie Braddock who has Reality Warper powers.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: In Adjectiveless X-Men, she had a lot of sexual tension with Cyclops during a Love Triangle subplot involving them and Jean. He once even walked in on her fresh out of the shower dressed only a skimpy Modesty Towel. The subplot was dropped before anything came out of it.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: After she becomes telekinetic, she can level mountains but literally lacks the finesse to pick up a dime.
  • Waif-Fu: She often shows feats of strength that are very impressive to her lean build.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: As Captain Britain and Lady Briton.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • As mentioned above, after her Race Lift she spent some time the punching bag for every villain on the block (culminating in being killed off for the sole purpose of showing how dangerous Vargas was). Fortunately, when she returned to the spotlight in the 2010s it was in full badass mode.
    • Justified against Sabretooth. Wolverine had previously "popped a claw" into 'tooth's head, and as he told her after she smacked him with a psychic knife, he had somehow become immune to the technique.
    "Since the runt popped his claw on me — the glow don't work no more."
  • Working Out Their Emotions: She tends to work out or train to clear her head, and has on at least two occasions managed to kick apart a punching bag while talking to Magneto.

    Kwannon 

Kwannon / Revanche / Psylocke II

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/6912804_revanche_kwannon_earth_616_from_uncanny_x_men_vol_5_17_0011.jpg
As Revanche
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/7264114_ahr0cdovl3d3dy5uzxdzyxjhbweuy29tl2ltywdlcy9plzawmc8ynzcvmty4l29yawdpbmfsl0hlbgxpb25zxzffzv9ezw9kyxrqb19qci5qcgc.jpg
As Psylocke

Notable Aliases: Butterfly, Nothing (English translation of codename), Mercy (English translation of codename), Revenge (English translation of codename)

Nationality: Japanese, Krakoan

Species: Human Mutant

First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #256 (December, 1989) note ; X-Men Vol 2 #21 (June, 1993) note ; Fallen Angels Vol 2 #1 (January, 2020) note 

Kwannon was the Goddess of Mercy. In Japan, you can find a statue of her holding a child. Mercy is my name. But it is not my way.

Kwannon is a former assassin from Japan, raised by the Hand. She worked for the crime lord Nyoirin.

For most of her history, her body was well-known, but she was not. Revanche is the body that Betsy Braddock was transplanted into, and thus making her one of Marvel's most iconic femme fatales for a long time. Revanche, in the body of Betsy Braddock, was eventually killed at her request by her lover Matsu'o, as she did not want to die of the Legacy Virus. This ensured that Betsy would remain in her body for many years. Kwannon got better, and eventually came back, and she and Betsy finally reverted bodies at long last during Hunt for Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor.

Kwannon would see an increase in prominence as a Legacy Character to Betsy as Psylocke, first using the name Revanche when Betsy was missing and worked as an uneasy ally of the X-Men and then later taking up the Psylocke identity once Betsy took up the mantle of Captain Britain. She formed a new team, who took it upon themselves to do whatever it takes to protect the world, for both mutants and humans.

After making a deal with Mister Sinister to augment her powers in order to defeat the threat known as Apoth, Kwannon became indebted to him... especially once he salvaged the DNA of her deceased daughter, whom the Hand had taken away from her. On his orders, and the request of the Quiet Council of Krakoa, Kwannon became the handler for and field leader of Sinister's new strikeforce, the Hellions, a group of dangerous anti-social mutants whose innate capacity for harm has made them ill-fit to live peaceful lives on the mutant nation.


  • Achilles' Heel: As good of an assassin as she is, she's still got some, ah, identity issues. Mystique is able to beat her in a sword fight by shapeshifting into Psylocke-as-Betsy, causing her to have a mild Freak Out and drop her guard long enough for Raven to stab her.
  • Affirmative Action Legacy: The first Psylocke was white (British), while this Psylocke is Asian. She's an odd duck as characters of this type go, the reason being that the sexy ninja body that made Psylocke so popular was actually hers to begin with. The codename had always been Betsy's, though.
  • Action Girl: Originally a Dark Action Girl, but has become one of these since her defection from the Hand.
  • Animal Motifs: Like the original Psylocke, she's associated with butterflies, as in a flashback sequence her mentor advises her to "trust anger as a butterfly trusts its wings".
  • Anti-Hero: A deadly assassin, but not outright evil.
  • Anti-Hero Substitute: The original Psylocke slowly crept this way as the years went on, but this Psylocke is and was from the very start a deadly ninja assassin. And now that she's taken over for Betsy full time, she's become this.
  • Ascended Extra: Kwannon has historically been a very minor character — her total appearances (discounting her body being used by Betsy but not Kwannon herself appearing) amounted to less than 25 issues since 1989. This changed in 2019, where Kwannon becomes Psylocke II and is the main character of Fallen Angels to fill the void left by Betsy returning to her old body and becoming Captain Britain.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: How does she manages to get Wild Child to behave? By beating the crap out of him. Now he follows her like a loyal dog.
  • Birds of a Feather:
    • She and Magneto hit it off right away, as people who are both defined by the tragedies of their youth and driven by their anger.
    • She very quickly develops a strong connection to John Greycrow when on the Hellions, as they both understand living with inner demons.
  • Came Back Wrong: During the 2000's she briefly returned as part of the Red Queen's Sisterhood of Mutants, being portrayed in purely a villainous role as she sought to reclaim her stolen body by force. She failed.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: She's described by Mr. Sinister as "leaping towards pain".
  • Deal with the Devil: In Fallen Angels she comes to Mr. Sinister seeking help in dealing with the villain of the day.
  • Death Glare: Understandably shoots Betsy one during the first issue of the 2019 Excalibur series.
  • Death Is Cheap: It took a long time, but eventually Kwannon got her turn in the mutant resurrection revolving door.
  • Defector from Decadence: She got her start as a member of the cadre of ninja assassins called the Hand but has long since lost her ties to that group.
  • Dirty Business: Is what she focuses on in the Fallen Angels title, alongside Teen Cable and X-23 — they're soldiers in peace time and take it upon themselves to do the dirty work so others won't have to.
  • Dying to Be Replaced: Played straight originally, as she was killed off so Psylocke could keep her sexy ninja body without any muss or fuss. Averted with her promotion to Psylocke II though, as Betsy has been allowed to keep her alive, albeit as the new Captain Britain.
  • Fights Like a Normal: Though she has telepathic powers, Kwannon is not as skilled with them as Betsy and prefers to fight with her martial arts skills primarily. While she can form weapons like Betsy, her actual telepathy use is limited and she's explicitly said to be not as powerful in their use as Betsy was as Psylocke. She doesn’t seem to have an issue using them outside of combat like any other psychic, however.
  • Flat Character: Since she was originally only there to be the basis for Betsy's Japanese body swap, for the longest time we knew very little about her aside from her being a Hand assassin and having a lover.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: She switched to Betsy's body while Betsy switched to hers, and then she died. She got better, eventually.
  • Glass Cannon: If she has the element of surprise on her side she's capable of killing a weakened Magneto clone, but she has no defensive powers and is as vulnerable physically as any ordinary human.
  • Good Is Not Nice: When she came back as an ally of the X-Men, she introduced herself by beheading Joseph. She's also one of the few mutants on Krakoa to care about what happens to humans... and helps the world by murdering basically every enemy she meets.
  • The Handler: Essentially her role with the new Hellions assembled by Mr. Sinister, since she's the only one who's not The Mentally Ill.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: She's been on the Hand, the X-Men, the Sisterhood of Mutants, the Fallen Angels and the Hellions.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Does this to Magneto's clone Joseph, ruthlessly beheading him after he was dazed from a pummeling at the hands of The Juggernaut.
  • Legacy Character: After having her body be the basis of Psylocke for many years, then Revanche herself serving as the Suspiciously Similar Substitute in Uncanny X-Men (2018), Dawn of X has Kwannon become the new Psylocke outright.
  • Long-Lost Relative: In Fallen Angels, it's revealed that she got pregnant when she was a trainee and the resulting daughter was taken by the Hand.
  • Living Weapon: Her own mentor tells her that violence is all she will ever be. It's safe to say she qualifies.
  • Meaningful Name: Her first codename of Revanche. While it sounds simply like a derivative of the ever-boring revenge motivation, it's actually a political term for a policy designed to recover lost territory or status. While somewhat arcane, this is an appropriate appellation for a woman who seeks to reclaim her stolen body.
  • Mercy Kill: After contracting the Legacy virus in the 90's, she sought out her old lover Matsu'o and requested he give her this as his atonement for his transgressions against both her and Psylocke. Though grief-stricken, Matsu'o gave Kwannon the mercy she sought, and her and Psylocke put aside their enmity to bury her together.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Definitely. She was the body of Psylocke, the poster girl for Boobs-and-Butt Pose, and when she returned, she was given a modified version of the bathing suit to make up for Betsy going Tamer and Chaster. Then, in Fallen Angels, she becomes Psylocke and wears a completely faithful recreation of the ninja bathing suit while doing the Boobs-and-Butt Pose. Emma Frost describes her as "Miss Braddock's sexy side".
  • Only One Name: Kwannon is the only name we know, as her surname is never revealed. From her backstory, it can be inferred that she doesn't have one.note 
  • Psychic Link: Post-resurrection, she and Betsy share one. One can always find where the other’s mind is and they can also utilise each other’s psychic weapons.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Fallen Angels reveals that she murdered her mentor, presumably for the abuse that comes along with being trained to be a living weapon.
  • She's Got Legs: Puck says that her legs are taller than he is. When the Excalibur women go through Betsy’s wardrobe, they lament that none of them can pull off the outfits, because Betsy’s clothes were bought when she was in Kwannon’s body, and nobody is as leggy as her.
  • Shoot the Dog: She murders a resurrected Joseph out of the belief that he is a weapon that humans will use to erase mutants from the world if not stopped. While tragic to fans who remember Joseph prior to his Face–Heel Turn, since the events of Magneto: Not a Hero, it is hard to argue with her.
  • Statuesque Stunner: She's 5'11"/180cm. It especially stands out as she's Japanese, who on average are around 7 to 10 inches shorter.
  • The Stoic: Kwannon is very professional most of the time, completing her work with efficiency. She very rarely goes off-script or lets things get personal, and is a much more stoic than Betsy was on her worst days... except when things involve Betsy. Then she makes no secret about how personal she can be.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Kwannon fills the role Betsy used to fill as a sexy femme fatale ninja (complete with a modified version of the bathing suit), both as Revanche (after her return) and Psylocke. It goes even further, where Kwannon outright becomes the new Psylocke in 2019.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Inverted, with Betsy no longer a part of her, Kwannon tells Mr. Sinister that her psionic powers have gone down and asked if he could give her a top-up.
  • Tyke Bomb: She was raised from birth to be an assassin for the Hand.


Alternative Title(s): Psylocke, Marvel Comics Kwannon, Marvel Comics Betsy Braddock

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report