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Monday, August 27, 2018 

Psylocke returns to a caucasian body, and Kwannon to an Asian body

Of recent, Marvel took steps via writer Jim Zub to reverse what had been a status quo for Besty Braddock, Captain Britain's twin sister, for at least 3 decades, during the return of Wolverine in the Mystery in Madripoor book:
However, there’s another subplot taking place while the X-Men fight the Femme Fatales. One of Viper’s henchwomen, Sapphire Styx, hungers for human souls and has made Psylocke her latest prey. Betsy seemingly died, but her telepathic powers were revealed to still be at play, even apparently manifesting a psychic version of Wolverine as his Patch persona from his adventures in Madripoor to fight alongside the X-Men. [...]

So it looks like after 30 years in the body of an Asian ninja, Betsy Braddock will be returning to her original caucasian body. How this transpires is anyone’s guess at this point. During the events of Mystery in Madripoor, Sapphire Styx took Psylocke down while she was in the midst of focusing the “totality of her psychic power” into her psychic knife. Perhaps that’s the trigger for the body swap?

If you haven’t been reading X-Men comics for decades, then this may be a bit confusing and you may understandably assume that Psylocke has always been Asian. She hasn't. Betsy Braddock is a white British woman. In fact, she’s Captain Britain’s sister, but after stepping through the Siege Perilous - a kind cosmic get out of jail free card in the form of a mystic gateway that we really don’t have the time to try to explain here - Betsy washed up on the shores of The Hand’s island base in the South China Sea.

The Hand’s leader at the time had just lost his best assassin and lover, a woman named Kwannon. With the help of the sorcerer Spiral and some Hand magic, the amnesiac Psylocke was brainwashed and given Kwannon’s body while Kwannon was given Betsy’s original body. That’s how they've remained ever since.

The last time Kwannon was seen, she had been resurrected again in Psylocke’s body by the Sisterhood of Mutants but died once again. Kwannon hasn’t been seen in Mystery in Madripoor at all, so if she is somehow involved in this twist, then that too will be a surprise.
I think CBR's just confirmed that Kwannon does have a role of some sort, and is resurrected back in her own body too. Though how all this transpires sounds pretty ridiculous:
If you’re wondering how the explosion of Sapphire Styx’s body could leave Psylocke with a new body, there’s an explanation for that. Psylocke explained she used Sapphire Styx’s soul power to create herself a new body. It is interesting that when Betsy instinctively started the process of piecing a body together, she chose to go back to the body she hasn’t inhabited in over 20 years. Of course, time moves much slower in comics than in the real world, so for Betsy it hasn’t been two decades since she merged with Kwannon. [...]

So Mystery in Madripoor concludes with Psylocke back in a British body, but what does that mean for the Japanese body left behind in the Femme Fatales’ hideout? It seems once Betsy’s soul found a new body to occupy, it possibly freed Kwannon’s soul to reclaim her body as well. The final page shows three men inside Viper’s penthouse discussing the rocket launch. While two of them are distracted, the third is surprised from behind by a revived Kwannon looking for answers. Where her story goes from here remains to be seen.
Betsy created herself a new flesh-and-blood body by tapping into the villainess's power?!? Wow, what contrived situations will they think of next, all in order to get from point A to point B?

But was this done for artistic purposes sans politics? Look what that shoddy social justice site called The Mary Sue had to say, suggesting it might not be:
It is, of course, a touch of poetry that this is happening under the helm of Marvel Editor in Chief C.B. Cebulski, who was a white man who pretended to be a Japanese comic book author, Akira Yoshida, in the early 2000s. Cebulski, under this identity, wrote issues of Elektra: The Hand, Wolverine: Soultaker, Thor: Son of Asgard, X-Men: Age of Apocalypse, and more. So maybe he felt that Psylocke’s situation hit a little too close to home?

What remains of the Kwannon body? Well, it seems that the psychic rebuilding worked for Kwannon’s original body as well, and we see her summoning the psychic knife, saying she has some questions.

Now, this origin for Psylocke has always been problematic. Visually there is some representation, but because of Betsy’s brain there is no cultural identity with Psylocke and it does, technically, erase an Asian woman and just turns her into a pin-up character. Especially when you compare the costumes Psylocke has before and after her transformation. There are some who have never seen Psylocke as true Asian representation because of that.

This new change gives a chance for Kwannon to be a character in her own right, but we can only hope that the writers see that opportunity and aren’t just getting rid of everything good along with the problematic elements.
So they're insinuating Cebulski did this to apologize for "cultural appropriation"? Hmm, what is the likelihood of that? Either way, the Mary Sue's got some nerve implying the idea - originally illustrated by artists like Jim Lee, who's Asian-American and clearly never had a problem to begin with - was ever meant as a socio-political statement. And to top it all off, they even have the gall to whittle it all down to just a matter of costumes, and little else. So Betsy's outfits matter, not the persona Claremont/Lee gave her. Who said she had to serve as true Asian representation? And how come Sunfire/Shiro Yoshida doesn't count? And on top of that, why does only the Marvel machine matter, and not independent-owned comics like Executive Assistant Iris, whose leading lady is Asian? If they haven't stressed why we should look to non-superhero comics as a source of inspiration for tales starring POC, that compounds their cheap hypocrisy.

On the other hand, CBR thinks it wasn't the right move to switch the two ladies back to their original forms, though they do push propaganda implying sexualization is inherently wrong:
Betsy Braddock might be one of the most fetishized super heroines in Marvel Comics, which is saying a lot considering the human form (both male and female) is almost exclusively presented in nigh-unachievable aesthetics in comics. And while a lot of hyper-sexualization has been curbed in comics as of late, superheroes are still drawn to represent peak human physicality. In short, impossibly voluptuous woman and men with abdominal muscles we never knew existed aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

A character like Psylocke, who has been the X-Men’s leading “sexy ninja lady” for nearly 30 years, has been drawn in more than one uniquely explicit action pose to show off her “assets.” Strangely enough, however, the sexual fascination with Ms. Braddock’s form is not the most problematic facet of her character (although there is an argument to make that it is). But her aesthetic appeal is certainly part of why she grew to become one of readers’ favorite X-Men. Regardless of your thoughts on the character, she has always been a badass.
Except when the writers assigned forget to provide her with a workable personality. Try as they might, they can't fool anybody that - in this newly PC era - they don't consider sexuality an inherent offense. If it is, we'd have to lay the blame at the feet of a pretentious writer like Scott Lobdell, whose writing in the 90s was full of pretensions, and too little meaty scripting (I'm not forgetting the utterly time-wasting Age of Apocalypse, which even saw the X-books put on hiatus while a whole bunch of "miniseries" took their place). Wonder Woman's been no stranger to the same, and it's clear William Marston and H.G. Peter had no issue with this either, so they'd do well to just let that issue go.
In fact, Psylocke’s appearance would remain adhered to her newly-found ethnicity (with the exception of a few divergences) for the decades to come. Some critics and fans have seen this development as a case of cultural appropriation and have even go so far as to say it’s the literal embodiment of the idea of “yellowface.” And, honestly, those claims are tough to argue against. Despite this switch occurring during a rather large surge in Japanese-influence sci-fi work (William Gibson made a career out of incorporating Eastern aesthetics into sci-fi during the late ’80s and early ’90s), retrospective looks at Psylocke would not be terribly fond of how the character’s story progressed.
Oh really, are they? The only problem is how everything is made a big deal these days, and nobody on the left can look past anything for entertainment value. Besides, Asian or caucasian body, that alone won't guarantee meaty writing for Betsy Braddock any more than it will for her brother Brian, aka Capt. Britain.
A recently released promotional image for the hotly anticipated relaunch of Uncanny X-Men has revealed Psylocke is supposedly getting her old body back, which might be another divot in the already bumpy road for the character. Betsy regaining her old body asks some pretty tough questions, none of which have clear answers in regards to what is the right call in handling this precarious situation.

While Psylocke getting her old body back might counter the cultural appropriation aspect of things for some, it does open up a new wound with regards to representation in comics. Yes, we understand the concept of representation is a touchy subject for some readers who don’t necessarily like to share their toys (as if they were ever theirs to begin with), but it’s something this character addresses in a wholly unique manner. Physically, Psylocke is a Japanese woman. The mind that inhabits her body, however, is not. This cultural dissonance is not easily ignored, nor should it be.
Well in that case, why not see to it Kwannon's brought into the fold as an ongoing/recurring cast member, for as long as Marvel and X-Men are still around anyway, and put some focus on building up the Asian lady who originally inhabited the kunoichi body? Who knows, they might even end up with their own competition for Executive Assistant Iris.
It would be simple to see the character’s return to her old body as repentance for past sins, but if this transgression is struck from the record, it’s only replaced by another. The lack of diversity in comics has been a hot-button topic for several years now, and it’s driven a divide among comics fans, which, honestly, seems a bit silly in the grand scheme of things. Diversity and representation matter quite a bit in fiction. Being able to associate with a character because of their cultural or ethnic background is a valuable commodity to fans. Now to be fair, the manner in which said diversity is gained can be poorly-executed or simply misguided. But with Psylocke, a reversal could prove to be just as haphazard.
The only silly thing is that this is even an issue with anybody who disliked the direction taken 3 decades ago. Science fiction is comprised of many bizarre ideas, including body and mind switcheroos, which are not limited to race or even sex simply because some leftists suddenly decided so. And why does association matter far more than the ability to be entertained or even informed? Switch Braddock back to her caucasian form if you must, but don't do it out of political correctness when the people involved in the late 80s like Lee clearly had no issues to begin with. Yet it's easy to wonder if that's just why Betsy's return to her original form (and Kwannon to hers) is being done now, and not because they wanted to see if they could build her up with effective characterization again as she originally began in the Bronze Age, and in stories primarily written for the UK.

At least they admit it could prove faulty to go back to that original form now - certainly if political correctness drove the decision, and led to such a hastily thought up idea as forming a new flesh body out of "soul power", when I don't think hers is comprised of magic, which might've made more sense. All that aside, if they're going as they are with Psylocke now, they might as well rebuild Kwannon into a character not just her own, but in her own original body as well, and make her a cast member of X-Men too. That, IMO, would be fair.

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This tells you just how stupid Mary Sue is, or at least how ignorant of Betsy Braddock they are. First, as you point out, Sunfire is forgotten, as is Mariko, Wolverine's love interest, Tiger Tiger in Madripoor, etc. Second, they show absolute ignorance of Betsy's past before she body switched with Kwannon. Do they know she was raped, for instance?

I agree Psylocke was sexualized. But she wasn't the most sexualized. I think Emma holds that distinction, since she prances around in lingerie and Electra, consistently wore less cloth. Mind you, Psylocke's chest reached Power Girl proportions under an Asian artist (Jim Lee).

I can already tell Kwannon is going to end up on the team, which is fine with me. She'll remain the sexy ninja psychic assassin while Betsy returns to butterfly psychic.

This entire tirade reeks of SJW and Political Correctness.
However not from the SJW's YOU claim are ruining the books, but from you and readers like you.
Political Correctness means keepin things status quo.
Basically to not think of other people outside of white males or horny males.
Because redefining a HYPER Sexualized, into a somewhat sexualized character, but putting pants on her is somehow not sexy?
So Bend to YOUR will, and everything else is SJW?

I have a feeling you ANTI-SJW SJW's just want nothing to change, even when you say "If they change it for the right reasons." Then it's okay. Nothing will make you happy unless they just had kept Psylocke half naked and doing nothing but posing for the fap crowd.

So don't be PC, unless they are being PC for your side? Got it!

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