Sunday, August 11, 2013

Psylocke Psaturday Psunday #18: Here is something you can't understand / How I could just kill a man

Psreviously on Psylocke Psaturday, I told you about the pstartling pstory that finally had Betsy Braddock joining the X-Men. She wasn't the only one during this period to buckle an X-belt onto her uniform. Longshot had joined in Uncanny X-Men Annual #10, and Dazzler in UXM #215. The next to join would be Cyclops's brother Havok, aka "The Only Summers Brother Who Never Flipped Out and Killed Somebody."

from the X-Men entry in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #15 (March 1987), pencils by Alan Davis

Why all this new blood into the Uncanniest, a team which, give or take a Shadowcat and Rogue and a six-pack of Magnetos, had remained pretty constant for the past seven years? Well, this was one of the more trying, dangerous, and deadly days for the X-Men, for whom a pretty good day is only being tried to be killed once in 24 hours by those they are sworn to protect. This is immediately post-Mutant Massacre (putting Shadowcat, Nightcrawler, and Colossus on the injured list and eventually sending the first two plus Phoenix II over to Britain and Excalibur), so the team was depleted on heavy firepower. The continuing threat of the Marauders, plus the threats of Malice (possessing first Dazzler and then Polaris), the government-sponsored evil mutants Freedom Force, and the looming shadow of the Adversary would push the X-Men into a corner, from which they would emerge dramatically changed and based in a new, Down Under HQ. Yep, we're leading up to the Australian Years! Music, please, maestro!

But first, the last member of the All-New, Mostly-Different X-Men is about to come aboard. And hey, it looks like a lot of fun for him, doesn't it?:

Cover of Uncanny X-Men #219 (July 1987), pencils and inks by Bret Blevins, letters by Rick Parker

Say, why is Wolverine trying to attack while hugging Rogue? The world shall never know.

The story behind this startling "you gotta read it!" cover: in the face of suspicious recent events and the rising threat of the bounty-hunter mutant group X-Factor (secretly led by Havok's brother Cyclops, the schlemiel), Havok travels to Salem Center to check in on the X-Men. But he does not get the prodigal son welcome he'd expected:

Panels from Uncanny X-Men #219 (July 1987), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Bret Blevins, inks by Dan Green, colors by Glynis Oliver and Petra Scotese, letters by Tom Orzechowski

The truth behind the Halloween-style greeting: a psychic illusion and mind-wipe to Havok by Psylocke that didn't fully take (Havok experienced nightmares about it later and returned). The ruse was an attempt to scare away and protect Havok from the dangers of all the extremely deadly threats they were facing. Um, you know, guys, you could have just invited him in for a cup of tea and then sent him home.

WHOA! "Kill him?" Psylocke got hardcore. To be fair, we've seen this more ruthless side of her personality previously, especially following her blinding by Slaymaster and brainwashing at the hand and hand and hand and hand of Spiral:

Panels from Uncanny X-Men Annual #10 (January 1987), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Art Adams, inks by Terry Austin, colors by Petra Scotese, letters by Tom Orzechowski

From this threat that is probably just a black-humored joke (maybe!) to the death-dealing Psylocke we now see in Uncanny X-Force is several years leap, but the seed of her enslavement by the Mandarin and eventual dangerous assassin-to-be nature is already planted. And you thought Claremont never followed up a subplot!

For better or for wore, Storm's the peacekeeper, explaining the situation...

And Havok agrees to join the X-Men on the run. Conveniently forgetting for the moment that he's got a girlfriend and lifemate back home. Like brother, like brother...think about it, won't you?

Hey, kids, what time is it? It's clobberin' Psylocke Psurveillance Psummary time!
  • Hair: 1980s-style puffier, but still purple.
  • Poor color choice of a uniform for roaming around the New York sewers in: Pink.
  • Follow-through on death-threats: Zero for three (Slaymaster, Spiral, Havok). Geez, Psylocke, get with the program and kill somebody already.

Next time: At last, the Psylocke personification of Rule of the Internet #11b (for every character that exists, there is also a robot version of this character*):

Panel from Uncanny X-Men Annual #11 (1987), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Alan Davis, inks by Paul Neary, colors by Glynis Oliver, letters by Tom Orzechowski

*See also: Albert, Superman Robots, the Fembots, Data, Joanna Eberhart, the Ilia Probe, Jocasta, Maria, Mechani-Kong, Mechagodzilla, and Mecha-Streisand.


Tazirai said...

Love seeing your Psylocke Saturdays.
This is the Psylocke I grew up on, had a crush on, and love to death. Great job showcasing her amazing, and non confusing bits of history. Well except the chronological order of UXM annual 10. I always place it before She officially joins, like two or three days before.

Bully said...

Thanks Tazirai!

Yes, I'm not at all certain of the chronology at this point, so I think you may be right!

Blam said...

No no no, Havok. It's "I think of Lorna. The rest is easy."

// from the X-Men entry in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #15 (March 1987), pencils by Paul Smith //

That's gotta be Alan Davis, o hoofed pal.

Bully said...

You are correct, sir!

Unknown said...

Anyone else reeeeeeally miss Bret Blevins? I was shocked to see him come back for 1 Harley Quinn book this year.